High Country Baking: Double Chocolate Cake
June 12, 2013
"Now, THIS is a chocolate cake worthy of a Father's Day celebration," proclaimed one satisfied tester as he cleaned his plate and licked his fingers. His reaction is warranted, it's a stand-out dessert … rich, moist and deeply flavored. The complexity and welcome bitterness provided by the combination of semisweet and unsweetened chocolate, the dense, fudgy texture and the velvety filling make it memorable.
While this one is unadorned, I've decorated the cake's frosted top with a variety of things. A rim of chopped roasted nuts, chocolate curls or chopped English toffee is a nice touch.
The cake is so lush that frosting the sides is unnecessary, maybe even over-kill. But if you want to do so, just increase the frosting/filling recipe by half.
Vera Dawson, a chef instructor with CMC's Culinary Institute, lives in Summit County, where she bakes almost every day. Her recipes have been tested in her home kitchen and, whenever necessary, altered until they work at our altitude. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Living in the Colorado high country is pure joy. Baking in it isn't. High altitude makes cookies spread in the pan, cakes fall, and few baked goods turn out as they do at sea level. This twice-monthly column presents recipes and tips to make baking in the mountains successful.
Double Chocolate Cake
Adjusted for altitudes between 8,000 and 10,000 feet
Make in an 8 ½ inch springform pan
Or 8X2 inch cake pan
3 ounces of high-quality semisweet chocolate
1 ½ ounces of unsweetened chocolate
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter
½ cup plus 2 (two) tablespoons of flour (spoon and level)
½ teaspoon of salt
¼ teaspoon of baking powder
2 tablespoons of sour cream
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1/3 cup plus ¼ (one fourth) cup of superfine granulated sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
12 ounces of semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 tablespoons of light corn syrup
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
Step One: Generously grease and flour the pan (I use a flour-vegetable oil spray). If using a cake pan, line it with a circle of parchment paper and grease/flour the paper. Preheat the oven to 325 with a rack in the center position.
Step Two: Chop the two chocolates, cut the butter into pieces and combine them in a microwave-safe bowl. Using a low setting (I use #4 out of 10), for bursts of a minute or two, melt them until a few lumps are still visible. Remove from the heat and stir until completely smooth and shiny. (This can also be done in a double boiler). Set the mixture aside. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt and baking powder and whisk vigorously to blend well. Set aside. Place the sour cream in a small bowl, stir until very smooth, and set aside.
Step Three: Using an electric mixer, combine the eggs, egg yolk, sugar and vanilla and beat until doubled in volume, pale in color and thickened to the texture of cream that is very softy whipped. Add the melted chocolate and mix until well blended (check the bottom of the bowl). Using a rubber or silicone spatula, fold in the flour mixture, half at a time, and, finally, fold in the sour cream. Try not to deflate the eggs. The batter should be thoroughly combined. Scrape it into the prepared pan until it is two-thirds full, and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Start checking at about 35 minutes; it may take up to 45 minutes, depending on your pan. Don't overbake. Remove to a cooling rack, cool for 30 minutes, turn out of the pan, inverted, onto a cake circle, remove the parchment circle if you used one, and cool until slightly warm. Refrigerate uncovered until cool to the touch. At this point, you can wrap airtight and refrigerate overnight or freeze for up to a month. The cake cuts into layers more easily when slightly chilled, so I always refrigerate it for at least a couple hours before filling.
Step Four: Make the filling/frosting: Combine the finely chopped chocolate and corn syrup in a large bowl. Warm the cream until it just starts to boil, remove it from the heat and pour it over the chocolate and corn syrup. Let the mixture sit until about half of the chocolate is melted. Gently stir until the frosting/filling is completely smooth and shiny. Cool until it thickens and can hold a soft peak. You can place it in the refrigerator to speed up the cooling process; check and stir it every 10 minutes or so and remove it before it reaches the desired spreading consistency — it will thicken further once it's out of the 'frig. While it cools, cut the cake into three layers.
Step Five: Place one layer, cut side up, on a serving platter or cake circle, spread it evenly with one-third of the frosting/filling, taking it all the way to the edge of cake. Continue with the next two cake layers. Serve or store, covered, in the refrigerator. The cake cuts most easily when cool. To do so, use a sharp, thin-bladed knife (I use a slicer), cleaning it between slices. Cut slim pieces — the cake is rich. Serve at room temperature.
The cake is a variation of one in Desaulnier's Death by Chocolate.
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