Sunday, May 10, 2009

Baby's First Layer Cake

In honor of my sweet friend Annmarie's birthday tomorrow, I offered to make her a special treat. When she told me that her favorite flavors are chocolate and raspberry (mine too!), I knew I had to make this Double Chocolate Layer Cake from Gourmet magazine with this raspberry filling. This is quite the famous cake recipe, and one of the reasons I chose it was because the feedback (both on Epicurious and Smitten Kitchen) was overwhelmingly adoring, bordering on cake worship.

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I'm an old pro at boxed cake mixes, but this was my very first layer cake from scratch. I had the best time making it, and I definitely learned a lot in the process, like what ganache is... though healthy Amy wishes I didn't know that!

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I modified the recipe a bit to fit my 9" round cake pans (the original recipe calls for 10"). I had enough batter for 2 cake layers and 12 cupcakes, which I injected with the filling before frosting them with the ganache (thanks Mom for teaching me how to do that!). I baked the layers for 45 minutes and the cupcakes for 20.

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I'm planning on starting a tradition of baking for my friends on their birthdays. Why didn't I think of this sooner?

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Happy birthday, Annmarie!

Double Chocolate Layer Cake
Adapted from Gourmet Magazine
Printable Recipe

For cake layers
Non-stick baking spray
3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

For ganache frosting
(Amy's note: I halved this and still had some left over. If you're making all the layers, make all the frosting)

1 pound fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

Special equipment:
2 10" round cake pans

Make cake layers:
Preheat oven to 300°F. and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.

Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well. Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

Make frosting:
Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.

Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency).

After assembling cake with raspberry filling (below), spread frosting over top and sides. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.

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Raspberry Filling
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen (Amy's note: I also halved this and had plenty left over to pipe into the cupcakes.)
Printable Recipe

2 10-ounce bags frozen raspberries, thawed
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Take raspberries out to thaw while you prepare the ganache. Once thawed, puree raspberries in a food processor, blender or immersion blender. Press the puree through a fine-mesh strainer with the back of a spoon or rubber spatula, removing the seeds. Heat the puree in a small pot with the sugar and cornstarch until mixture boils, stirring constantly. As it boils, it should quickly thicken.

Let it cool complete before spreading it thinly over cake layers or piping into cupcakes.

7 comments:

Maria said...

Fabulous job! I want chocolate now:)

The Bon said...

Looks delicious! My birthday is early next month. ;)

Tara said...

Yum! They look soooo good!

Steph said...

That's probably the most intense chocolate cake.. maybe too chocolatey, if such a thing exists! Great job on your first cake. I can't wait to see your future cakes! I remember when I first started and learned that frosting was butter and sugar... I mean, what else could it be, but still, that was a shocker..haha

Mindy said...

How funny...I just made my first cake from scratch last week too as a birthday cake for my daughter! :-) Yours looks so yummy...

Amy I. said...

Thanks y'all! Hopefully this is the first of many all-day baking projects :)

Annmarie said...

This was SUCH a wonderful birthday present - you are the best! Thanks for making my day even more special :) xoxo

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