For Valentine's Day, I wanted to make something divinely chocolate. Chocolate may be the food of the gods but I was looking for something that would make me feel a bit on the wicked side! Also, I wanted something homemade because I'd been to a few too many events recently that sported corn syrup and stabilizer filled desserts. So, I pulled out a recipe I'd used from Epicurious.com years ago and had only made once because of the time and ingredients involved. The cake was so memorable family members will sometimes say, "Remember when you baked that chocolate cake?" Then, their eyes get misty and they start drooling as they drift away with the memory.
Well, maybe that's a little dramatic. But, my family does remember the cake and they speak of it fondly. It's a recipe that takes time - melting chocolate over a double boiler and doing everything from scratch. Although my mom was not above using boxed cakes, she taught us to bake from scratch when we were young. I've found it doesn't really take that much more time (usually) and it definitely tastes better.
The only time this didn't turn out to be true was when, as a pre-teen, I increased the baking soda in a Texas Sheet Cake from 1 t. to 1 T. You can imagine what a dreadful disaster this turned out to be - especially when I didn't discover it till the party and couldn't convince the guests to stop eating it. They all gulped it down with pained expressions while assuring me it was delicious (as though I couldn't taste it). AAHH!! The mortification!
This cake does take a bit more time than other homemade cakes - maybe because it uses melted chocolate, cocoa nib powder, yogurt & milk & orange zest (you get the picture), but the combination of the ingredients creates a moist, decadent, incredible cake worthy of being called the Devil's Food. I didn't use the lavender because it just didn't sing to me at the time and I didn't miss it.
So, the Saturday before Valentine's Day, I left my girls with Rob and borrowed my mother-in-law's kitchen. My oven has been running hot.
First, I melted the chocolate...
|The recipe requires semi-sweet chocolate (I used Valrhona at least 70%+) melted over a double boiler. Mmmm....|
|Next, I creamed brown sugar with butter, eggs and vanilla - this is my favorite part!|
|In goes the cooled, melted chocolate. I think I would rather eat the batter than the cake. Well, maybe. Or, both...|
|The first set of cake pans - I doubled the recipe for a really tall cake.|
|The frosting begins with orange zest. Yes, I used organic - no pesticide cake for us!|
|And, of course, more melted chocolate and a tad bit of Grand Marnier. I could eat it with a spoon!! (wait, I DID eat it with a spoon!)|
|And, here you can see my GIANT beautiful cake - and my big mistake! I didn't sift the powdered sugar and it was a little lumpy. No amount of mixing fixed it. But the lumps dissolved and no one complained.|
Also - for those of you who know me and my aversion to eating too much sugar or giving it to my girls... We don't eat stuff like this often, but when we do, I don't try to recreate the wheel. To me, a cake is supposed to be an occasional, luxurious treat. So, this is a REAL cake made with real sugar, butter, flour etc. I would rather my girls eat this over fake corn syrup filled, shortening covered cake any day. It was incredible - and we ended up giving a lot of it away. After all, what girl really needs a four layer chocolate cake on her counter all week? If I ate it all day for a week, I couldn't get rid of it!
The original Epicurious recipe is here - but I'll warn you. I doubled the cake recipe and there was still enough frosting for the whole thing. So, if you're planning to make just a single recipe, you will have leftover frosting. It's good on graham crackers - or on a spoon if you're desperate to make it go away!
Great, I may have to break my own rules and make it again. Anyone want to help eat it?