Every year for my husband’s birthday, he requests a chocolate cake. This chocolate cake has a long history, long before we met. He grew up in a household where his mother was not a baker. All the sweet packaged foods that I longed for during my childhood – he had in his kitchen. I’m pretty sure his mother would have purchased just about anything he expressed interest in eating. He was definitely one of those very skinny kids growing up that couldn’t gain weight even if he tried. To a certain extent…he is still like that. So, back to the cake – his Aunt actually was the baker of the family – she made wonderful banana cake (not bread, cake – a dense and delicious cake that begs for chocolate ganache on top) and my husband’s favorite – the chocolate cake with pudding in the middle.
The first year we were together, I tried to recreate this cake - so I bought a package of chocolate Jello pudding, and instead of frosting between the two layers of cake, I spread on the pudding. It was very thick, and the cake was very tall – but delicious. Over the years, I have branched out and tried lots of different cakes – and this year was no different. The original recipe from Bon Appetit was for a Praline Chocolate Cake – but I decided to bag the praline, and make it into a double layer cake, instead of just one. The cake was so moist with a nice chocolate flavor – and not too rich, just the perfect consistency. The ganache on top – oh my goodness – what a combination with the cake. The frosting was not too thick, but there was just enough to give you a good tasting with every bite. I also liked the size that this cake ended up making – because it ended up being a 4.5″ x9″ cake, I was able to slice it easily into either really thick or really thin pieces. I highly recommend this for anyone asking for a chocolate birthday cake – you cannot go wrong.
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes, room temperature
- 1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup boiling water
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon coarse kosher salt
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
- 2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 9-inch cake pan with nonstick spray. Line with parchment. Spray parchment. Dust with flour, tapping out any excess.
Place butter and cocoa powder in medium bowl. Pour 1/2 cup boiling water over; stir. Let stand 2 minutes; whisk until blended. Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and coarse salt in another medium bowl. Whisk buttermilk, egg, and vanilla in large bowl. Gradually whisk cocoa mixture into buttermilk mixture; whisk until smooth. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, whisking to blend between additions (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pan.
Bake cake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Cool in pan 10 minutes. Run knife around pan edges to release cake. Invert onto rack; remove pan and parchment. Cool completely.
Place chocolate and cream in microwave-safe bowl. Heat in microwave in 15-second intervals, stirring occasionally, until melted and smooth. Stir in butter. Let stand until spreadable, about 30 minutes.
Cut the cake in half. Spread some frosting on the top of one half – then place the other cake half on top of the frosted piece. Spread over top and sides of cake. Transfer cake to plate. Chill 2 hours and up to 1 day.
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