Monday, October 3, 2011

Chocolate Cake!!! And a giveaway!

Does chocolate cake (!!!) need any more embellishment than some strategically-placed exclamation marks? I think not. Well, there's frosting. But to be honest, I'm not a huge fan of most frostings. If you're the person eating the frosting and leaving the cake, then I'm the one nearby who is eating the cake and peeling off the frosting.

There are exceptions. Whipped cream frosting is ALWAYS acceptable. And I like cream cheese frosting.

Then there's ganache. As far as I'm concerned ganache is simply an excuse to eat candy with your cake. And I've got no problem with that. None at all.

For my birthday last month, I decided that I wanted to bake a chocolate cake, so I turned to one of my favorite baking-centric cookbooks, Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.

Cake recipes are difficult for me, since I live at high altitude. I always approach them with a little bit of skepticism. When they turn out - at all - I'm overjoyed.

This one was good, and it reaffirmed what I know about my baking skills - I'm really not great with frosting. But it didn't matter once I sliced the cake for serving. Even with my high altitude handicap, it was a good cake.

Mocha Brownie Cake

Cake:
3/4 cup all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 1/2 ounces sweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter
5 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sour cream

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees and spray a 9-inch round cake pan with baking spray.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Put a bowl over a pot of simmering water to create a double boiler. Put the semisweet and unsweetened chocolate and the butter in the bowl and heat, stirring as needed, until the chocolate and butter are melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the pan from the heat.

Put the eggs, sugar and vanilla in the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (or use a hand beater) and whip on high speed until the eggs are thickened and doubled in volume.

Add the melted chocolate to the egg mixture and mix for 15 seconds. It's fine if it's not fully incorporated - there's more mixing to come.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold the flour mixture in with a rubber spatula. Stir the sour cream to loosen it, then fold it into the batter as well.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Put the pan on a cooling rack and let it cool for 20 minutes. Turn it out onto a cake round or similar flat surface and refrigerate it uncovered for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the ganche.

Ganache:
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons sugar
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup hot strong brewed coffee

Heat the heavy cream. butter, and sugar in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring often, until the sugar is dissolved and the mixture comes to a boil.

Put the chocolate in a medium bowl and pour the cream and coffee over the top. Set aside for 5 minutes, then stir until smooth. Set the mixture aside to cool thoroughly. The mixture will thicken as it cools - you want to use it when it is still pourable, rather than spreadable.


To assemble the cake:
Remove the cake from the refrigerator and with a sharp knife, cut it onto 3 even layers.

Place the top layer of the cake, cut-side down in a 9-inch springform pan (with the sides closed.) Pour one cup of the ganache over the top, spreading it evenly to the edges. Refrigerate uncovered, until it is set - about 15 minutes.

Place the middle layer on top of the first, pressing down gently. Pour another cup of ganache over the top, spreading to the edges as with the first layer, and refrigerate until set.

Note: if the ganache thickens too much to pour at any point, heat it gently.

Place the last layer on top, cut-side down, and press down as before. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before applying the final icing.

Run a knife around the edges of the cake, then release the sides and remove the cake from the pan. Pour the remaining ganache over the top and use a long icing spatula to smooth the top and the sides. Allow the icing to set at room temperature or in the refrigerator before slicing the cake.

So you want to know what the giveaway is?

You'll never guess, right? How about some CHOCOLATE!?

Scharffen Berger has offered a nice giveaway for my readers. How's this:

Unsweetened Natural Cocoa Powder
Sweetened Natural Cocoa Powder
99% Unsweetened Chocolate Baking Bar
70% Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar
62% Semisweet Chocolate Baking Chunks

Scharffen Berger has this to say about themselves:

"Scharffen Berger Chocolate Maker is the first bean to bar artisan chocolate maker established in the United States within the past 50 years. With a full line of eating and home baking products,Scharffen Berger chocolate is made from the world’s best cacao beans that are perfectly fermented and roasted,elevating your classic recipes with new depths of flavor."

CONTEST IS NOW CLOSED. The winner is JULIEN.

In addition to offering this prize to my readers, Scharffen Berger also offered to send me some chocolate samples for my own use (yum). However, the cake was baked and the post was written and my photos were taken before I knew they were going sponsor the contest. Sweet deal, huh?

If you like contests and chocolate, check out this contest that Scharffen Berger is running.

76 comments:

Jersey Girl Cooks said...

I would be baking with the chocolate. Your cake looks delcious. Thanks for the chance!

icancookthat said...

Yum!! I love this giveaway! I'd use the chocolate to perfect my Dark Chocolate ROOT Cake into cupcake form: http://www.icancookthat.org/2011/06/dark-chocolate-root-cake.html

Drew said...

I think I'd make the cake you just described. I'm drooling already. Maybe I'd add some chiles to the ganache.

Margaret said...

Truffles, and chocolate cake. And maybe some chocolate cake. or maybe some chocolate cake. 8)

Linda N said...

You had me at chocolate... :)

Linda N said...

I would bake with the chocolate - probably some goodies for the holidays :)

Shannon said...

I would make my famous Christmas truffles-- or a chocolate cake that has been dwelling in my mind for weeks, begging to be made...

Julie said...

!!! Wow, what an awesome offer. Thanks for the opportunity. From that haul, I'd probably whip up: some sort of chicken in mole, super dense brownies, perhaps some truffles, and my "famous" chocolate chip cookies! And let's not overlook the obvious- I'd definitely eat some straight-up.

Anonymous said...

I would make some hot chocolate, your cake for the next book club and some candies for the holidays.

AubreyLaine said...

I would use the chocolate to make Christmas treats!
littlegray88 at yahoo dot com

Elisa said...

What a great offer! I have been making cookies for my co-workers the past couple weeks and I would use this chocolate to make another batch of whole wheat chocolate chip cookies and chocolate espresso cookies!

The Poet Herself said...

Brownies. I'd definitely use it for brownies. Esp since Scharffen Berger is so hard to get around here!

The Poet Herself said...

I tweeted about it:
http://twitter.com/PoetInThePantry/status/120962435279622144

Sara said...

Awesome giveaway, that chocolate looks awesome! I would use the chocolate to make s'mores brownies!

Diane M. said...

I looove chocolate and would make chocolate truffles!

mlplouff said...

Yum, that cakes looks good. I think I'd make that, but omit the coffee and add either raspberry or apricot. Hm, fruit and chocolate ...

Mynx said...

what would i use it for.. tis the season is comming up so some great truffles, possible fudge maybe chocolate challah, if im real ambitious maybe cocoa strawberry jam.

Holly said...

I would use the chocolate to make this cake or this Peanut Butter Chocolate cake http://annies-eats.net/2008/07/23/reese’s-cup-chocolate-peanut-butter-cake/ because nothing beats peanut butter and chocolate!!

Holly said...

I tweeted about it here:http://twitter.com/#!/htebelman/status/121011905111400448

Morsels of Life said...

i'd bake with the chocolate (the part I didn't eat anyway!)

Morsels of Life said...

tweeted! http://twitter.com/#!/MorselsofLife/status/121020782104166400

Katie said...

I'd be using these for some brownies and cookies. Quality ingredients like this make a HUGE difference in taste!

Meryl said...

I'd make a ton of dark chocolate cookies, brownies, and truffles!

Anonymous said...

I'd give it to my wife to make bittersweet chocolate ice cream and a devil's food cake with a dark chocolate ganache.
Louis S.

Melody said...

I want to make brownies. Still haven't found the perfect recipe.

melodyj(at)gmail(dot)com

mia xara said...

Even though I'm not a big chocolate fan, your cake looks delicious and moist,an excellent choice for a birthday occasion!!Happy belated Birthday,all the best!!!

Junk Loving Girl said...

Mmm I think I would use some of the chocolate to make ultra chocolatey brownies!

thepricklypinecone(at)gmail.com

Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray said...

Do you know that I have never had Scharffen Berger????? So I must win :) I'd make cake! Or just the frosting!

Rachel @ Not Rachael Ray said...

Tweeted!

Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen said...

I would make brownies, the best brownies with great chocolate!

Nelly Rodriguez said...

I'd use them to batch test 10 brownie recipes I have!

Nelly Rodriguez said...

I tweeted: http://twitter.com/#!/nella22/statuses/121221295986847744

Becca at ItsYummlicious said...

Oooo....I LOVE this giveaway! I'd use that delicious chocolate to make a batch of chocolate filled cream puffs!

Becca at ItsYummlicious said...

I Tweeted about the giveaway on 10/4/11 via @ItsYummilicious

eclairre said...

brownies!

SherriM said...

I'm looking to practice my fudge making skills to get ready for Christmas, so the Scharffen Berger would be used that that...and to make truffles!

looloolooweez said...

Have to confess -- that powders and the unsweet would be used for baking & possibly chicken mole, but I'd just be stuffing my face with the others.

Oh wow, I am just drooling over here. Can't even coherent. Want.

dena said...

I would make chocolate cake for my new son-in-law.

Debra said...

I would use this for my holiday baking!

Debra said...

I tweeted @Lealee33

Buccinator said...

I'd love to make my fiance's favorite cake with this chocolate! Here's a look at the cake. Topped with zombies, for his birthday, of course.

http://whatthebucc.com/?p=315

Brooke said...

Hmmm, what would I use it for... well, I just saw a recipe for a decadent looking chocolate cake! :) YUM! I would also love to make a Mini Chocolate Tarts that I just saw on another blog! I <3 chocolate! Thank you for making my day!

brookekittle@hotmail.com

Calli said...

I'd make chocolate flourless cake, mmmm

geminicalli at yahoo dot com

Markus Sandy said...

This would be perfect as a birthday cake for my wife. She loves chocolate and I love baking surprises for her! :)

emily | nomnivorous said...

does stuffing the chocolate in my face count as using it? oh...no?
ok, well, i'll make some chocolate chip cookies. so i can stuff THOSE, warm from the oven, in my face.

Paula @ Dishing the Divine said...

what the heck are all these people talking about? I'd eat the darn stuff plain. Forget cooking with it... I doubt it would *ever* get that far. :)

Paula @ Dishing the Divine said...

tweeted :) you can find me at @divinedishes

jeannette said...

Mm that cake looks great! I would definitely make brownies!!! They are the epitome of chocolate perfection!
Jpinnick86 at gmail dot com

Jen said...

I would make fudge and a few other things that sound interesting once I'm looking at the basket.

Yuri - Chef Pandita said...

I would try this cake... Looks delicious!

Yuri - Chef Pandita said...

I tweeted :)

Lexiquin said...

I think the first thing I would bake would be brownies; in fact, I think I'll use your recipe above--it sounds delicious! I love chocolate ganache, too (my mouth is watering already!)
Thanks for the giveaway.
aleq13@gmail.com

Lexiquin said...

Tweet! https://twitter.com/#!/lexiquin/status/122403216817274880

Sandra Maddox said...

I want to put some of the chocolate bits into my pumpkin bread! Thank you for the giveaway!
sandichildressatgmaildotcom

Julien said...

I'm thinking I'd start by making Coffee Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream and Peanut Butter Brownies with Chocolate Chunks.

Susan Audrey said...

I'd incorporate it somehow into my mother-in-law's classic chocolate pie, to spruce it up a bit for the holidays! And, I'd probably just eat some by itself. ;) Mmm.

Susan Audrey said...

And I tweeted here:
http://twitter.com/#!/susanaudrey/status/123108842807635968

onepercent99 said...

I'd have to make the ganache in your recipe.I bake a lot,but never used ganache before!!

Cheryl said...

I would use it in my Christmas rum balls and chocolate covered pretzels. I make up a huge platter at Christmas time for the guest to snack on. One thing I learned is to use quality products.

Cheryl said...

Tweet

http://twitter.com/#!/HeartnSoulmom/status/123175497818587136

susitravl said...

I would make brownies - I love brownies!
susitravl(at)gmail(dot)com

Erinsgobragh said...

That looks incredibly fudgy and dense YUM!

Courtney said...

I'd love to make some chocolate bark, cupcakes, and cookies! :)

Chris said...

There is a chocolate amaretto (Gluten Free) tart I have been wanting to try. And, I just ran out of SB cocoa powder. This would be perfect! :)

Courtney said...

I tweeted! :) http://twitter.com/#!/CourtneysSweets/status/123576735957655552

Laurie Jesch-Kulseth @ Relishing It said...

Wow! I would make many things -- but, a chocolate cake would definitely be in order!

Chocophilenyc said...

I would use it to make a rich chocolate pudding!

Nancy Frederick Sussan said...

I use Scharffen Berger chocolate all the time. What a difference in my brownies compared to that red box stuff. Hot chocolate with the sweetened cocoa--I think. Chocolate souffles. If I didn't eat it all first. Molten chocolate cakes, my fave choc dessert in the world. Oh you've made me so hungry. Please pick ME!

Laurie Jesch- Kulseth @ Relishing It said...

I tweeted about the contest :)

Megan said...

I would definately use the chocolate for my next chocolate confection. Tweeted u both.

Megan said...

I would definately use the chocolate for my next chocolate confection. Tweeted u both.

Jen said...

Cupcakes and ice cream!!!!

Dodi said...

I wanna try that Mocha Brownie cake!

Karriann Graf said...

I could sure use some of that great chocolate! I love dark chocolate; eat it almost everyday ;)

"Spice it Up"

Donna Currie said...

CONTEST IS CLOSED ... and the winner is Julien!

Thanks everyone for the comments and the love of good chocolate!

Coupon Codes said...

Man this make me Hungry i am craving for a chocolate cake now :(

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