- My talented blogger friend, Heather from Sprinkle Bakes, is only weeks away (May 1st) from her new book release: SprinkleBakes: Dessert Recipes to Inspire Your Inner Artist, but it is now available for pre-order. This book will be something special, I can guarantee it. Congratulations, Heather!
- I'm working my through Ree's new cookbook, The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier, recipe by recipe, and I can honestly say that because of her and her books, my friends and family are starting to think I can actually cook.
So, here's the recipe for this choco choco cake, and what I've done is listed the ingredients as found in the original recipe, and then added the weight measurements and my own method and notes. It may or may not be the messiest cake I've ever made, as far as the prep goes. I've no idea how or why, but my kitchen was invaded with chocolate and dishes, but it was worth it. As it always is.
Choco Choco Birthday Cake
Yield 10 to 12 servings
Active Time: 1 hour Total Time: 3 1/2 hours
For the cake:
- 5 ounces (145 grams) good-quality dark or extra dark chocolate (semisweet or bittersweet), chopped (I used Callebaut Dark Callets)
- 2 1/4 sticks (9 ounces/260 grams) unsalted butter, softened
- 2 3/4 cups (11 ounces/315 grams) cake flour (not self-rising), sifted *see notes
- 1/4 cup (24 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process, such as Ghirardelli Chocolate Baking Cocoa)
- 2 teaspoons (12 grams) baking soda
- 1 teaspoon (5 grams) baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon (4 grams) salt
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature 30 minutes
- 1 cup (7 ounces/200 grams) granulated sugar
- 1 cup (7.5 ounces/220 grams) packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons (7.5 mL) pure vanilla extract (I use Nielsen-Massey Vanilla)
- 2 cups (475 mL) sour cream
- 1 cup (7 ounces/200 grams) granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons (47 grams) all-purpose flour
- 6 tablespoons (36 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural, not Dutch-process, such as such as Ghirardelli Chocolate Baking Cocoa) *see notes
- 1 1/2 cups (360 mL) whole milk
- 4 ounces (115 grams) good-quality dark or extra dark (semisweet or bittersweet) chocolate, finely chopped (I used Callebaut Dark Callets)
- 1 tablespoon (15 mL) pure vanilla extract (I used Nielsen-Massey Vanilla)
- 6 sticks (1.5 pound/680 grams/3 cups) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1. Preheat oven to 350°F and put oven rack in the middle. Grease two 8-inch round cake pans, dust with flour or cocoa powder, tap out excess and set aside.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter until smooth. You can do this in the microwave in 20 second intervals, or in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering (not boiling) water (be sure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl). Let cool.
3. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
4. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla on medium speed (I use #4 on KitchenAid) until light and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.
5. At low speed (I use #2 on my KitchenAid), mix in melted chocolate until incorporated, followed by dry ingredients in 3 batches alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with dry ingredients and mixing until each addition is just incorporated. *Don't over-mix.
6. Spread batter evenly in pans (you can weigh batter in pans for perfectly even layers) using a small offset spatula. Rap pans several times on counter to eliminate any air bubble and bake on center rack until a toothpick comes clean and remove cakes from oven, about 35-40 minutes. *Be sure to not open oven before 2o minutes (with these cakes, ideally 30 minutes) to check cakes and take care to not over-bake.
7. Let cakes cool in pans on wire racks for about 10 minutes, and then carefully loosen them from the edges of the cake pans with your small palette knife and gently invert cakes onto racks to cool completely (about an hour).
1. Whisk together sugar, flour, cocoa powder and a pinch of salt in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, then add milk and cook, whisking constantly, until mixture boils and is smooth and thick (5-8 minutes).
2. Remove saucepan from heat and whisk in chocolate and vanilla, until smooth. Transfer mixture to a heatproof bowl to cool to room temperature, covering surface with parchment paper to prevent a skin from forming.
3. In electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter until creamy, about 5 minutes, then gradually add cooled chocolate mixture, beating until frosting is fluffy and spreadable.
Assembly of the Double Chocolate Birthday Cake:
1. Cut each cake with one horizontal cut using a long serrated knife (I use the Mac Bread Knife for all my cake layering and trimming).
2. Put 1 layer on a cake stand or large plate (cut side up) and spread top with 1 1/4 cups frosting using an offset spatula (such as this Offset Spatula)
3. Repeat with 2 more layers, then add remaining layer (cut side down) and spread top and side of cake with remaining frosting. If frosting is too soft, put it in the refrigerator for a few moments, remove and carry on.
4. You can always decorate the top and side with your favourite sprinkles as well! My favourites for this style of cake include Rainbow Crunchy, Rainbow Bit Chips, Bright Skies and Flight of the Unicorn!
- This cake is dense in nature, but moist and very chocolaty.
- If you don't have unsweetened natural cocoa, and only Dutch process (cocoa that's been treated with an alkalizing agent to neutralize the natural acidity of cocoa powder), you can make an adjustment and use it, but don't straight out substitute it. You can add 1/8 teaspoon of cream of tartar, or 1/8 teaspoon lemon juice or vinegar, for every 3 tablespoons (18 grams) of Dutch process in the recipe to balance it out (thank Joy of Baking for that tip!).
- I made the cake 2 days ahead and wrapped the uncut layers tightly in plastic wrap and kept on the counter (room temp).
- I made the frosting right before needing it, but the recipe notes that frosting can be made 2 days ahead and chilled, covered--bring to room temperature (about 1 hour) and beat until fluffy before using.
- I frosted the cake and covered and chilled it (because of the sour cream and soft nature of the frosting) overnight, and it was still moist.
- I found the small alphabet candles at a local bakery, but I can't seem to find the same ones online for you to source (for those of you who may want to know). I'll keep checking, because they're so cute and fun.