Monday, March 16, 2009

Chocolate Cake+Pudding+Strawberries= Anniversary Cake!

I made this cake for our anniversary last week. Our grooms cake was chocolate cake layered with chocolate buttercream and sliced strawberries, then topped with dark and white chocolate squares. It was gorgeous and the best cake I've ever had. So I made this cake because it reminded me of that cake, though it was round and not square, and was layered with pudding rather than buttercream. They tasted nothing alike, besides the fact that they were both chocolate.....Nope, not even the chocolate tasted the same.

For the first time in a long time, I wish I had a "disaster section" on this blog like Jenn of No Lemon Juice does. Really, this cake was good albeit a bit messy, but I had many disasters along the way, and I'm not quite sure why. Rather than keep writing about it, I'll just post the stunning photos of this cake and borrow Jenn's format at the bottom of this post. Thanks Jenn!

Chocolate Blackout Cake with Strawberries from Sunday Nite Dinner

Pudding Ingredients

  • 3 cups milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 4 tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 8 ounces semi sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons butter, at room temperature

Combine 2 cups milk with 4 tablespoons sugar in a small saucepan and bring to just under a boil.

In a mixing bowl, combine remaining sugar with salt, cocoa, and cornstarch. Whisk in remaining 1 cup unheated milk. Gradually whisk cocoa mixture into hot milk. Heat, over medium heat, stirring, until mixture thickens and starts to bubble.

Whisk together eggs and egg yolks in a small bowl. Temper the eggs by adding a few tablespoons of the heated milk. Add the tempered eggs to the saucepan and stir for 30 seconds. Remove from the heat and whisk in chopped chocolate and butter. The pudding should be relatively thick and will firm up when cooled. Cool, cover with plastic wrap and reserve in refrigerator.

Makes 4 cups

Cake Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup brewed coffee, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 dozen chocolate wafer cookies (for garnish)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter 2 (8-inch) cake pans and line with parchment. Butter the parchment and flour pans, shaking out the excess.

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and set aside.

In a mixer with a paddle attachment, beat eggs and sugar until thick and lemon-colored. Beat in vegetable oil. Alternately add dry ingredients with buttermilk, scraping the bowl once or twice. Add the coffee and vanilla to form a thin batter. Divide between prepared cake pans.

Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cake comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Cool in pan for 15 minutes. Invert onto cooling racks, peel off paper and cool completely.

When cool, split each cake in half with a serrated slicing knife. Spread bottom layer with 1/4 of the reserved chocolate pudding. Repeat with remaining layers, ending with pudding on top.

In a food processor, pulse the cookies into crumbs. Sprinkle on top of the cake.

Serves 16- A little goes a long way!

What I changed: My buttermilk was way passed it's prime so I subbed it with whole milk and a tablespoon of lemon juice (Jenn, do you like the irony?) and let it sit for 5 minutes. I've done this before and it's worked fine. I baked the cakes in 9-inch pans instead of 8-inch and baked them for 37 minutes. Also I didn't use 3 dozen crushed cookies for the topping. I only crushed 2 dozen cookies and used one dozen. Honestly I don't know how more than that would even fit on the cake. Oh, I also added sliced strawberries between the layers.

What I'd change next time: I don't think I'll make this cake again. I loved the idea, and I would make a layered chocolate cake with homemade chocolate pudding again. Just not this recipe.

Disasters: Where do I start? One of the cake layers broke slightly when I was transferring it from the cooling rack back to the cake stand. Not a biggy, I pieced it back together. Once the cakes cooled completely, I cut them in half and made 4 layers. The centers were gummy. They were cooked through but almost fudge like. Once I layered all the cake and pudding the bottom layer (the broken layer) was oozing out the bottom. I tried pressing it back in and I refrigerated it but it still oozed.

Despite tempering the eggs with several tablespoons of the chocolate mixture, it still curdled and I had to strain the pudding mixture through a sieve. No one likes cooked egg bits in their pudding. Yuck!

Overall Impressions: Eh. The cake was good, just not the texture I was looking for. In the original pictures the cake looked fluffy. Mine didn't. I don't know what I did wrong. I don't think the milk/lemon juice made a difference. And I didn't forget the leaveners (and they weren't expired- I checked.) The pudding was "eh" too. I think this would be better with a different chocolate cake recipe and a boxed pudding. Is that sad? I thought the addition of the strawberries was really good. It cut through the rich chocolate pudding taste. It was really pretty and impressive and quite HEAVY. These people loved it!


Maria ( Idekroken ) said...

mmmmm :)

Donna-FFW said...

Monica- Love the idea of the disaster form.. Genius. The cake still loked pretty. Hope your anniversary was fun!

Anonymous said...

At least you used actual lemon juice and not lemon extract like I did. :) It looks fantastic. I never thought about putting chocolate pudding in a cake. I just may have to try that.

vanillasugarblog said...

happy anniversary! well, I think the cake looks fabulous, far from a diaster.

Lissaloo said...

wow that looks good :) I want some :)

Ingrid_3Bs said...

Please don't take this the wrong way but I'm so glad to hear that things don't go well for you once in a while...seems like I'm always battling my way through some fiasco or another. :-)

Sorry your cake didn't leave up to its photos! Your photos look good and makes us non-chocolate lovers question ourselves.

tamilyn said...

I'm sorry it didn't turn out as expected, but I hope the anniversary did!

Shari said...

It sure looks pretty!

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