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Blackout Cake

Blackout Cake


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According to legend (a.k.a. the Internet), this decadent chocolate cake was first created by Ebinger’s bakery in Brooklyn, New York, and named after the blackout drills during World War II. To re-create it, we learned that patience is key: giving all the separate components time to chill yielded the best texture. Read more about the recipe here.

Ingredients

Cake

  • Unsalted butter, room temperature (for pans)
  • ¾ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, plus more for pans
  • 1½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • 1 large egg yolk, room temperature
  • 1½ cups (packed) dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Pudding and Assembly

  • ⅓ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 4 large egg yolks, beaten to blend
  • ⅔ cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 4 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Frosting

  • 3 tablespoons golden syrup (such as Lyle’s Golden Syrup)
  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • ¾ cup sour cream, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

Recipe Preparation

Cake

  • Arrange a rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°. Line two 8x2"-deep round cake pans with parchment paper. Grease with butter, then dust with cocoa powder, tapping out excess.

  • Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, and remaining ¾ cup cocoa powder into a medium bowl, then whisk to combine. Whisk egg, egg yolk, brown sugar, sour cream, oil, vanilla, salt, and ¾ cup hot water in a large bowl until smooth. Whisk in dry ingredients until just combined.

  • Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake cake until a tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 25–35 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack; let cake cool completely in pan. Invert onto a plate, then invert again.

  • Do Ahead: Cake can be baked 2 days ahead. Store tightly wrapped at room temperature.

Pudding and Assembly

  • Whisk cocoa powder and cornstarch in a large saucepan. Whisk in cream until smooth and no lumps remain. Add egg yolks, milk, brown sugar, and salt; whisk to combine. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, then reduce heat to low. Continue to cook, whisking, until thick and smooth, 1–2 minutes.

  • Remove from heat and add chocolate and vanilla, stirring until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Strain through a fine-mesh sieve into a medium bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing directly onto surface of hot pudding to prevent a skin from forming. Chill until cold, at least 2 hours.

  • Using a serrated knife and sawing in long, even strokes, carefully halve cakes lengthwise. Set aside the 3 prettiest layers for assembly. Crumble remaining layer with your fingers into fine crumbs (or push through a wire rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet). Place 1 layer, cut side up, on a platter or cake stand.

  • Remove plastic from chilled pudding and vigorously whisk until smooth. Using a rubber spatula, spread half of pudding over cake layer on stand, spreading to edges. Top with another cake layer, cut side down, and spread remaining pudding over cake. Top with third cake layer cut side down (leave top bare). Chill cake 1 hour and up to 8 to let pudding firm up.

  • Do Ahead: Pudding can be made 1 day ahead. Keep chilled.

Frosting

  • Bring cream, syrup, and salt to a boil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate, sour cream, and butter. Let sit, stirring occasionally, until chocolate and butter are melted and mixture is smooth and no streaks of white remain. Transfer to a medium bowl. Let frosting sit at room temperature, stirring every 30 minutes or so, until thickened and spreadable (it will look like a broken chocolate sauce at first, but magically, about 1½ hours later, it will start to thicken). Stir until smooth. (If your kitchen is warmer than 72°, chill frosting 5 minutes. Stir to combine cooler outer edges with warmer center, then chill another 5 minutes. It should be the consistency of sour cream; if not, chill another 5 minutes and stir.)

  • Spread frosting all over top and sides of chilled cake. The frosting on top should be as smooth and level as possible, but it’s okay if the sides look messy; the crumbs will hide any mistakes you make.

  • Place cake stand on a sheet tray. Take a handful of cake crumbs and press into sides of cake. Repeat, turning cake as you go, to completely cover sides in crumbs. Sprinkle crumbs on outside edges of top layer.

  • Do Ahead: Cake can be assembled 1 day ahead. Chill uncovered.

Related Video

Rick Makes Chocolate Blackout Cake

Reviews SectionThis was seriously the best chocolate cake EVER. The recipe is a little complicated, but watching the video while making it was VERY helpful! I couldn't find golden syrup so I used honey instead and then had to add extra powder sugar to thicken it up enough to frost the cake.. BUT it turned out so moist and delicious I couldn't stop eating it. I topped it with some fresh berries and mint to offset the chocolate, the pudding is a WONDERFUL additive instead of frosting layers! Would 100% make again.therremanPortland, OR06/30/20Ok I made this cake and every thing turned out great, super moist cake wonderfully smooth pudding and the taste is awesome for both. NOW the frosting, I followed the directions and ingredients to the letter and my frosting looked so good and smooth and fluffy and all the above BUT the bittersweet chocolate flavor was just way to bitter! I like bittersweet on certain things I make but the bitter in this is just to hard to handle. I think next time it will be 8 oz semi-sweet and 4 bittersweet. Anyone else think this is just way to bitter?GinaMarie65Richlands Virginia06/29/20This cake is excellent and well worth making, however the instructions for making the pudding have errors and should be corrected. It starts with the step to put the cocoa powder and cornstarch in the pot first, which means you will likely have these dry ingredients packed in the corners of the pot unless your whisk has a pointed tip, like Ricks. Many whisks aren't shaped this way and you need to use another utensil such as a rubber spatula to scrape away these ingredients so they don't remain in the corners. Putting the cream and milk in first followed by the rest of the ingredients solves this problem. But aside from this minor point, the real problem with the pudding are in the 2 sentences, "Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally, then reduce heat to low. Continue to cook, whisking, until thick and smooth, 1–2 minutes." If you try to boil the mix, then cook it even longer, it becomes far too thick and the fat in the cream will separate from the rest of the ingredients, creating a very heavy texture from what may be curdling of the cream with a very dark to black color remaining, just like the individual from Houston commented. There is also no chance that you can strain this mix. My first batch started to go in this direction so I set it aside and made a 2nd batch after going through the comments further.The person from Long Island who described using 35% cream and heated everything to 180 F said it correctly. If you're using whole milk and heavy whipping cream (which is 35% cream), the mix just begins to thicken at 170 F and is done at 180 F, or at most 185 F. Trying to follow the written isntructions to heat it an additional 30+ degrees to boiling is where the problems happen. The video of Rick making the pudding shows that he never actually brings the pudding to a boil because it thickens well before this point, and the 1-2 min. he describes of additional heating is while it's going through the last 10-20 degrees of temperature rise to reach 180 F. The timing of these final steps will vary depending on the level of heat you're using. To end up with the desired result, the heat should be turned off at 180 F while you continue to whisk so it stays smooth and than add the chocolate and vanilla. Also, if you whisk continuously while it's heating up to 180 F, the pudding will be nice and smooth with no clumps and there's no need to strain it.Due to the pudding instruction problems, I give it 3 stars. Corrected, it's easily worth 5 stars and is probably the best chocolate cake I've ever had.I hope this helps others. I will certainly be making this cake again and will also try altering the order of steps to speed the process, similar to how the person from Long Island described. And while my first batch of pudding wasn't used for the cake, it didn't separate too badly and even though it was very thick, with a bit of whisking after it sat in the fridge, it tasted good!AnonymousPittsburgh, PA05/22/20Good cake and fun project; got compliments for its decadence, particularly the frosting.As far as changes: replaced hot water with hot coffee, and didn't have milk chocolate so threw in a handful of semi-sweet chocolate chips in the pudding. Like another reviewer below, the pudding was weird for me. I was stirring the entire time but still got very thick and unable to strain. Texture was still mostly fine but went ahead for an overnight chill, where it solidified with a layer of milkfat. Warmed it up to be spreadable and no one noticed in the cake. Was worried the ganache was too oily/fatty while cooling but it set up fine.Overall, I think this is a fun cake in the project realm, and definitely manageable if you split it up. However, for making a chocolate cake for the sake of it, I would not pick this one. I prefer Tasty's ultimate chocolate cake for a deep, dark chocolate taste and Sally's Baking Addiction for a lighter, milk chocolate taste. However, might save the cake and frosting recipes from this one to experiment with other combinations.Solid cake: moist and chocolatey. Baked this at high altitude (6000 ft) with no changes except adding a tsp. of espresso powder for flavor. The crumb wasn't as tender as I would've preferred, but it is sturdy. I'll be keeping the magic frosting recipe-- good chocolate flavor with a tang! But the pudding recipe went haywire on me... not sure what happened. I used semisweet chocolate and my pudding got very clumpy...almost like I had thrown in a pack of gelatin in there. It became the texture of mashed silken tofu and a layer of oil separated out from the pudding (gross). I could not strain it either; regardless it has a delicious brownie batter taste and despite the weird texture issues, no one noticed when eating the cake.AnonymousHouston, TX04/27/20my pudding turned out so much darker than the recipe. i did use light brown sugar instead, but that was the only change. i tried adding extra milk but it didn't really work. does anyone have any thoughts?This was a fun baking project and the resulting cake is really wonderful. Give yourself a good 4 hours from start to finish when planning to make this cake, or consider making the 3 components on different days (I did it all in one afternoon). The frosting is DELICIOUS. The cake is moist and tasty. The pudding is good, but as a personal preference, I'll probably change it next time I bake this cake. Also, this cake freezes and defrosts really well (if you have the willpower to freeze individual slices and not just eat it all within a couple of days, hehe). Great cake!heather eatsMontreal04/15/20This cake recipe is amazing! I am a beginner/intermediate baker and this took me a full day to make when I count in all the waiting time. It was so worth the wait though because this is a truly delicious cake. It came out super moist, the pudding was to die for, the frosting was tangy which balanced out all the chocolate. Even though I had to make a few changes due to lack of ingredients this still came out great. I only had cake flour so I used that instead of AP, I used 1 tablespoon of maple syrup for the frosting since I didn't have golden syrup (I'm not sure if this actually did anything). I was also slightly short on heavy cream and only used 10oz of dark chocolate. The one thing that didn't really go to plan was the frosting, it didn't magically turn into frosting like the recipe said. I did put it in the fridge for a bit and it was starting to thicken up but I got impatient and decided to whip the frosting for a couple minutes and it worked. Despite all of this, the cake was phenomenal and I would absolutely make this again.AnonymousMountain View, CA04/13/20my first layer cake and absolutely amazing!!! the only issue was that social distancing meant that I ate SO much of it! amazing recipe, best chocolate cake my family and I have every tasted :)fifirodzOrlando, FL04/09/20This cake was amazing! I didn't have dutch processed cocoa so I did regular cocoa powder and added and EXTRA 1.5 teaspoons of baking soda to offset the acidic properties of the regular cocoa powder. I also didn't have any golden syrup so I made my own; a little time consuming but not difficult at all. This cake was a journey but it was SO WORTH IT.AnonymousWashington, DC 04/08/20This was the first layer cake I ever made and I have to say I am very proud of myself. Definitely was a process making all the different components but it made for a great baking project which I absolutely dove right into! The cake was beyond decadent- the rich chocolate pudding in the center was so creamy and delicious. Just the chocolate cake itself was delightful! Looks impressive and definitely got lots of compliments- will for sure be making this again!sarahahdutNew York04/01/20Takes some time but it’s worth it. It tastes ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!! Good work Rick <3Definitely one of the best recipes I've made. Takes some time to make all of the constituent parts, but comes together easily. I made two batches of the cake recipe and had a 3-layer tall cake (did not divide the cakes in half) which used up all of the frosting and pudding with a nice ratio. If you make the normal single batch, I imagine you'll have lots of leftovers (not a bad thing?) One note: the cakes baked very quickly for me (less than 15 minutes) so watch them carefully if your oven tends to run hotter.I made this cake for New Year’s Eve and it was amazingly delicious. It took roughly four hours from start to finish to make but the recipe is easy to follow and straight forward. My cakes were ready in 22 minutes and I used my cake rack to shred the cake for the sides. Yummy and very impressive.Island FoodieBainbridge Island, Washington 01/01/20This took me less than three hours to put together and it was spectacular. Started by making the frosting so it could set up while I made the cakes and pudding. Then baked the cakes, which only took 25 minutes. Then the pudding using 35% cream and cooking everything to 180 over medium heat while stirring constantly. Poured out onto a sheet pan and the pudding was set in about half hour. Very thick and stable. I did have about one cup of frosting leftover even after generously frosting the cake.AnonymousLong Island NY12/31/19So this cake took me 3 days to make but it was SO worth it. I absolutely love chocolate & everyone who tried it at the Thanksgiving table loved it. I don't bake often but the BA recipes are so easy to follow that the cake came out perfectly.AnonymousSouth Carolina12/09/19This is the ultimate chocolate lover's cake! Deep, rich chocolate flavor. The pudding filling and the frosting are really special and delicious.AnonymousCalifornia12/08/19We made this cake for fun one day and it was delicious. I've gotten really into cooking recently and this was a good way to wrap up a day of cooking. It certainly does take a long time with the icing, almost 2 hours, but it sure enough solidified and tasted great.AnonymousOntario, Canada11/27/19I made the chocolate cake portion of this and used store bought Hershey's buttercream icing. It came together beautifully. I was afraid to eat such perfection. Then I had a slice, the most intense chocolate flavor I've ever tasted. Definitely going to make the whole cake when I have more time. I used my rack as a box grater and it made such a beautiful topping.AnonymousBrooklyn10/05/19Tried this recipe yesterday and it turn out to be the most delicious chocolate cake i ever tasted. even though my ganache turnout to be darker and thinner (im living in hot climate country) than in the video, after chilling it overnight, it looks ok. cake was cracked at the middle i think from the mixing of hot water at later part (hot water not included in the recipe, i nearly miss it).cheechak87Malaysia09/02/19Made this for Father's Day, my Dad is a fan of devil's food cake and a WWII history buff, and it was a serious hit! Little time consuming, but straightforward recipe that is absolutely decadent. For anyone that lives at high altitude, cakes turned out just fine and I'm 2200 ft (645m) above sea level, so no need to adjust the cooking temp or time at all. I will say that I made the individual components the day before and for some reason the frosting just would not soften up the next day. I had to add almost 1/4 cup of cream and a LOT of elbow grease to get it spreadable again. Maybe my fridge was too cold?AnonymousEdmonton, Canada06/17/19This was EXCELLENT!Both with the pudding and the frosting, it really does feel like they aren't going to work, but they WILL. Each component tastes excellent, and even though it's relatively time consuming, overall, it is easy.Absolutely delicious, intense, chocolatey. Would make it again. This will be my go-to chocolate cake recipe.Made this cake for brunch tomorrow (it’s always for a brunch!) and may have taken a preview bite of leftover pudding, frosting, and crumbs. Yowza! It is everything I want in a classic of bygone years. To make the steps easier, I pre-measured all the ingredients into container “groups” based on timing of the recipe so everything was ready to dump when needed.Converted perfectly to gluten-free and dairy-free with: (Cake) Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose GF Flour, Tofutti Sour Cream, coconut oil spray, (Pudding) Taste of Thai full fat coconut milk (heavy cream), unsweet/plain soymilk (whole milk), Guittard extra dark chocolate baking chips+3 tbsp sweetened condensed soymilk (milk chocolate), (Frosting) 1/2 c sweetened condensed soymilk+1/2 c plain/unsweet soymilk (I didn’t want too much coconut flavor), Tofutti sour cream, Miyoko butter.I also followed Claire’s advice and piped frosting around the edge of each cake layer (Sorry, Rick! Had to play it safe.) using the cooling rack as a grater was genius!TL;DR - Cake good. Pre-measuring is key.digimikeyHouston, TX05/25/19would changing out the 3/4 cup of hot water for 3/4 cup of hot coffee (fresh brewed) when mixing the cakes have a positive effect on the taste of the cake or a negative effect? Thinking about trying it but haven't made the recipe yet and don't wanna screwup my first time.Has anyone baked this at high altitude? Wondering if I will need to make any adjustments? Thanks!AnonymousColorado04/08/19

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Chocolate Blackout Cake

Preheat the oven to 375°. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and coat lightly with flour. Line the bottoms with parchment paper. In a standing electric mixer fitted with the whisk, beat the 1 stick of butter with the shortening until creamy. Add the sugar and beat at medium speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between additions. Add the vanilla. At very low speed, beat in the cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the 2 1/4 cups of cake flour and the milk in 3 separate alternating batches, scraping down the side and bottom of the bowl occasionally.

Divide the cake batter between the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake in the center of the oven for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the centers comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let the cakes cool for 15 minutes, then invert them onto a rack and let cool completely.

In a large saucepan, combine 2 1/2 cups of the water with the sugar, corn syrup and cocoa powder and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. In a bowl, whisk the cornstarch with the remaining 1/2 cup of water until smooth whisk into the cocoa mixture. Cook over moderately high heat, whisking constantly, until very thick, 3 minutes. Off the heat, whisk in the butter, vanilla and salt. Scrape the filling into a bowl and press a sheet of plastic wrap directly onto the surface of the filling (you should have about 5 cups). Let cool, then refrigerate until firm, 45 minutes.

Using a serrated knife, halve each cake layer horizontally. Break up the less attractive top cake layer and transfer to a food processor pulse into crumbs. Reserve the two cake bottoms and one smoother top.

Set one of the cake bottoms on a cake plate and spread with 1 1/2 cups of the filling. Top with the second bottom layer and another 1 1/2 cups of filling. Cover with the cake top and spread the remaining filling all over the top and side. Pat the crumbs all over the cake. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving.


How to make chocolate frosting

Don’t be scared of homemade frosting! To make a truly epic chocolate cream cheese frosting, you need to make sure all the ingredients are at room temperature. Set everything out on the counter while your cake is in the oven, and by the time you’re ready to make the frosting the butter and cream cheese should be the perfect temperature! Also make sure your coffee is room temp, as it’d otherwise make an absolute mess of your chocolate frosting.

You’ll know the cream cheese frosting is ready when it starts to fluff up in the mixing bowl. And, you know, when you taste it and think it’s amazing…


INSTRUCTIONS

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FlavorFool's Notes

Ingredients

Pudding
- 2 tsp of vanilla extract [2 tsp seemed too much so I only used about 1.75 tsp of vanilla]
- 1 cup of whole milk
- 1/4 cup of cornstarch
- 1 1/4 cups of granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 6 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, chopped [I recommend Ghirdelli unsweetened chocolate]
- 2 cups of half-and-half

Cake
- 1/2 tsp of baking soda
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 8 tbsp (1 stick) of unsalted butter plus another 2 tbsp to grease both pans
- 2 tsp of baking powder
- 1 cup of buttermilk, room temperature
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- 1 cup of strong brewed coffee, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 3/4 cup of Dutch-processed cocoa powder [don't go cheap, make sure to get Dutch-processed and not Natural cocoa powder. I recommend E. Guittard Dutch-processed cocoa powder]
- 1 cup of packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting)

Instructions

2. Over medium heat stir in the chocolate and cook, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, 2 to 3 minutes [took me about 5-7 mins] .

3. Off the heat, stir in the vanilla. Transfer the pudding to a large bowl and press wax or parchment paper directly on the surface. Refrigerate the pudding until cold, about 4 hours.

FOR THE CAKE:
4. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 8-inch [I used 9-inch pans because that's what I had] cake pans with the 2 tbsp of butter, then dust with flour and line the bottoms with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.

5. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in 3/4 cup of the cocoa and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.

6. Off the heat, whisk in the coffee, buttermilk and sugars until dissolved. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla, then slowly whisk in the flour mixture until no streaks remain.

7. Give the batter a final stir with a rubber spatula to make sure it is thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and gently tap the pans on the counter to settle the batter. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes [30-31 mins was perfect for me] , rotating the pans halfway through baking.

8. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Run a small knife around the edge of the cakes, then flip them out onto a wire rack. Peel off the parchment paper, flip the cakes right side up, and let cool completely before filling and frosting, about 2 hours.

9. Line the edges of a cake platter with strips of parchment paper to keep the platter clean while you assemble the cake. Slice each cake into two even layers using a long serrated knife. Crumble one of the cake layers into medium-sized crumbs [as noted above in the notes section, I excluded the crumble topping and kept it as a 4th layer inside the frosting] .

10. Place one of the cake layers on the platter. Spread 1 cup of the pudding over the cake right to the edges. Top with a second cake layer and spread with another 1 cup of pudding. Place the remaining cake layer on top and press lightly to adhere. Frost the cake with the remaining pudding. Sprinkle the cake crumbs evenly over the top and press them onto the sides of the cake. Remove the parchment strips from the platter before serving.


3. Prepare the Dark Chocolate Pudding Buttercream

Ingredients

16 tablespoons (1 cup, 8 ounces) cold unsalted butter

7 cups confectioners’ sugar + more for thickening

½ cup dark Dutch-process cocoa powder

¾ cup salted dark chocolate pudding (from step 2)

Cut the cold butter into ½ inch pieces. Let it come to room temperature.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, dark chocolate pudding (¾ cup), and ¼ tsp salt. Next beat on medium-high until the mixture is creamy and ingredients are incorporated, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.

Add more sugar, 1 cup at a time, and mix on low until the frosting is thick but spreadable. Beat for 1 minute after each addition. (You may not need to add all the remaining sugar.) Once you have your desired consistency, scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Raise the speed to medium-high and beat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until very light and fluffy. If the buttercream appears too thick, add a little more cream. If it appears too thin, add a little more confectioners’ sugar.


Related Video

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Brooklyn Blackout Chocolate Cupcakes

Week 3 of CHOCOLATE MONTH! And today we’re making chocolate cupcakes! But not just any chocolate cupcakes… BROOKLYN BLACKOUT CUPCAKES!

I’ve been dying to create a Brooklyn blackout cake recipe for years now! Have you ever had it? Heard of it?!

It’s essentially a rich chocolate layer cake cake that’s stuffed with a generous amount of bittersweet chocolate pudding between each layer and covered in fudgy chocolate frosting and chocolate cake crumbs! Intense stuff, right?!

So intense that it gave me an idea… why not take this behemoth of a cake and downsize it into perfectly portioned cupcakes?! Cupcakes are so much easier to serve to a crowd, and a great option when serving something intensely decadent! Plus, no plates and forks, required!

So I got to work and I have to tell you, these are some of the best chocolate cupcakes I’ve ever had in my LIFE. And that’s saying a lot considering I have over 20 chocolate cupcake recipes on this website alone!


Blackout Cake

Gather Journal Blackout Cake

First created and popularized by Brooklyn’s legendary Ebinger’s Bakery (open from 1898-1972) the Blackout Cake got its moniker from the era in which it was born: It was named for the civilian blackout drills of World War II. In modern-day Brooklyn, the Blackout tradition is being carried on at Ovenly, whose mind-numbingly delicious version—it’s all about the frosting, a decadent mash-up of pudding and buttercream—has an army of acolytes. The recipe may not be a cakewalk, but the pay-off is very sweet.

makes one, two-layer 9-inch cake

SALTED DARK CHOCOLATE PUDDING
  • 2 cups whole milk, divided
  • 2 ½ Tbsp cornstarch
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (preferably 60-70%)
  • 3 Tbsp black cocoa powder or dark Dutch-process cocoa powder (Gather uses King Arthur’s black cocoa)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ tsp sea salt
Black Chocolate Stout Cake
  • softened unsalted butter and all-purpose flour, for preparing the baking pan
  • 1 ½ cups Brooklyn Brewery Black Chocolate Stout (or other chocolate stout)
  • 3 sticks (12 oz) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
  • 1 ½ cups black cocoa powder or dark Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 ¾ cups sugar
  • 2 ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
DARK CHOCOLATE PUDDING BUTTERCREAM
  • 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces, at room temperature
  • 7 cups (almost 2 lb) confectioners’ sugar, plus more for thickening
  • ½ cup black cocoa powder or dark Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup salted dark chocolate pudding (from recipe above)
  • a few Tbsp heavy cream as needed

Make the pudding: In a small bowl, whisk together ¼ cup milk and cornstarch until smooth. Set aside. In a medium saucepan, combine the remaining 1¾ cups milk, sugar, chocolate, cocoa powder, vanilla, and salt. Heat over medium-low heat, whisking, until chocolate is melted. Whisk in the cornstarch mixture until fully incorporated. Reduce the heat to low, and continue to stir briskly with a wooden spoon or a heatproof spatula. The mixture will come to a simmer and slowly begin to thicken. Continue to cook 1 to 2 minutes, or until the pudding coats the back of the spoon and slowly drips off. Remove from heat and transfer to a bowl. Cover with waxed paper directly on the surface. Chill well. You’ll have extra and that’s fine keep it in your snack arsenal to dip into when no one else is around.

While pudding chills, make cake layers: Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch cake pans with butter and dust with flour. Line pans with parchment rounds and then grease the rounds.

In a large heavy saucepan over medium heat, bring the stout and butter to a simmer. Remove from heat and whisk in the cocoa powder until smooth. Let cool 5 minutes.

Whisk together the flour, sugar, baking soda and 1½ tsp salt in a large bowl. In a separate large bowl, whisk together the sour cream and eggs. Whisk the stout mixture into the egg mixture, and then, using a rubber spatula, stir in the flour mixture, until incorporated and the batter is smooth, scraping the bottom of the bowl to incorporate any dry bits. Divide the batter equally between pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer to a rack to cool completely.

Make the frosting and assemble the cake: Once you have cooled pudding, begin the frosting base. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the butter, 3 cups confectioners’ sugar, cocoa powder, pudding (¾ cup), and ¼ tsp salt. Mix on low until just incorporated. Next beat on medium-high until the mixture is creamy and ingredients are incorporated, about 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Add more sugar, 1 cup at a time, and mix on low until the frosting is thick but spreadable. Beat for 1 minute after each addition. (You may not need to add all the remaining sugar.) Raise the speed to medium-high and beat for 3 to 4 minutes, or until very light and fluffy. If the buttercream appears too thick, add some cream, 1 Tbsp at a time. If it appears too thin, add more confectioners’ sugar, 1 heaping Tbsp at a time.

Once the cake layers have cooled, frost the cake with the dark chocolate pudding buttercream.

Adapted from Ovenly by Agatha Kulaga & Erin Patinkin (Harlequin Nonfiction). Copyright © 2014.


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