Monday, January 26, 2009

Cake of Life/Cake of Death

Depending on Your Point of View
Triple-Layer Chocolate Cake with Banana Filling

My friend likes chocolate. I mean he really likes chocolate. He likes bananas too, and when his birthday came up I wanted to make something truly awesome. I don't know if I succeeded, but we're married now, so I guess it worked out.

Layers 1 and 3

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water
Layer 2 Ingredients:
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter , room temperature, plus extra for buttering pan
  • 10 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate , preferably French or Belgian, coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup light corn syrup
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
Filling Ingredients:
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 2 bananas, soft but not brown
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • confectioner's sugar to taste
Frosting Ingredients
  • 1 pound semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped (I like to use a really distinctive chocolate here, something with a lot of crazy flavors in it naturally - if you can get it, Scharffen Berger is a great option)
  • 3/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup confectioner's sugar
Layers 1 and 3:
Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
(This might sound remarkably like the recipe from the back of the Hershey's cocoa powder container - it's not)

Layer 2:
Keep oven at 350°. Lightly butter a 9-inch round springform pan with removable bottom. Line bottom with parchment paper; butter parchment.

In the top pan of a double boiler over simmering water, melt chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove pan from heat and whisk butter into chocolate until butter is melted and mixture is smooth. Set aside.

In a small, heavy pot over high heat, bring sugar and corn syrup to a boil, swirling pot occasionally to dissolve sugar. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.

In the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer with wire whisk attached, beat eggs and yolks at medium-high speed until thick and frothy, 5 to 6 minutes. Reduce speed to medium low and carefully pour hot sugar syrup into beaten eggs in a thin, steady stream, avoiding the beaters. Remove bowl; use a rubber spatula to fold chocolate mixture into egg mixture.

Pour chocolate mixture into prepared pan. Place pan on a cookie sheet. Bake until cake has risen and set, 45 to 50 minutes. Move pan to a cooling rack and let cool completely. Run a thin, sharp knife around cake to loosen; remove from pan.

Let cake stand until room temperature
(This might sound remarkably like Oprah's Flourless Chocolate cake - it's not)

DISCLAIMER: this part of the recipe might be bullshit... it's been about 7 mos since I made this cake and this and the frosting are the only parts of the recipe I actually made up... not gonna lie, I don't really remember if this is exactly what I did... I'll update this if I find that what I've written is an absolute failure

Cream the bananas in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer on high. Once the bananas are basically a smooth liquid add in the lemon juice and set aside. In another mixing bowl, combine the cream, vanilla, and sugar to taste. Whip that shit up to stiff peaks, but try to avoid making really sweet butter. Fold in the banana jizz until combined.

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler, stirring frequently until glossy and smooth. Add in the butter and vanilla, and stir until the butter is mixed in.

Transfer the melted chocolate mixture to a mixing bowl, and beat on high. While beating, sift in the confectioner's sugar and beat until the sugar is incorporated and the mixture is fluffy and awesome.

For this cake, you might find it appropriate to shave your top and bottom layers so that everything fits together nicely. Personally, if the cakes aren't too different from each other in terms of flatness, I like to leave them unshaven. I think the unevenness of the cake makes it feel more authentic. Plus, you get more cake that way. So to start, lay down one of your cooled Hershey's Chocolate cakes and spread the top with half of the banana goo. Next, add on the Oprah Flourless layer, more banana goo. Top it off with your final Hershey's layer, and frost. I would let the whole thing chill in the fridge for an hour or so before serving, but if you can't wait, whatever, you earned it.

Note: The banana filling tends to dry out if the cake is left in the fridge too long (i.e. a couple days). I don't think it goes bad or anything, it's just not quite as magical.

Word, so this cake obviously kicks ass, but it does take a long time and makes a pretty formidable mess. It's worth it, but proceed with caution. Don't start this one an hour before the party.

Addendum: the first time I made this cake, I did so without any electric mixing appliances. DON'T DO THAT. I had hand cramps for like a week afterwards


Michele said...

YES!!!! I was waiting for this recipe to go up! I'm so psyched to make it again!

You're the best.

Dan said...

You are

Let me know if you think the frosting recipe sounds right... I think that's what we did, but honestly, I kind of made it up. FoodNetwork came up short.