Friday, April 8, 2011
Chocolate Cake with Creamy Caramel Ganache
I did however sneak in a few shots of the cake. If you have been following along here for a while you will remember that I am Birthday Cake challenged. This year for the first time I actually managed to pull off a really good cake on David's Birthday. I asked if this made up for the other three years of flops and the reply was, "Only if you make three more of these before my next Birthday". Sounds like I have a busy year ahead of me!
Chocolate Cake with Creamy Caramel Ganache
adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
3/4 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups hot water, I used tap water
2/3 cup sour cream
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup vegetable shortening
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Creamy Caramel Ganache Frosting
1 pound dark chocolate (60 to 70% cacao), chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter, soft but cool, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment paper, and butter the parchment. Dust with flour.
In a medium bowl, combine the cocoa powder, hot water, and sour cream and set aside.
Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together into a medium bowl and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and shortening on medium speed until ribbonlike, about 5 minutes. Add the sugars and beat until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla and beat until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and mix again for 30 seconds.
Add the flour mixture, alternating with the cocoa mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture.
Divide the batter among the prepared pans and smooth the tops. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes. Invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the pans, and let cool completely. Remove the parchment.
Put the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and set aside.
In a small saucepan, bring the cream to a simmer over very low heat. Meanwhile, keeping a close eye on the cream so it doesn’t burn, in a medium saucepan combine 1/4 cup water, the sugar, and corn syrup, stirring them together carefully so you don’t splash the sides of the pan. Cook over high heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 350 degrees F., 6 to 8 minutes. (I actually only bring mine to 325 as it continues to get hotter even after I remove it from the stove)
Carefully, add the cream to the caramel and stir to combine. The mixture will bubble up and steam, be careful not to burn yourself. Stir slowly for 2 minutes, then pour the caramel over the chocolate. Let the caramel and chocolate sit for 1 minute, then, starting in the center of the bowl, and working your way out to the edges, slowly stir the chocolate and caramel mixture in a circle until the chocolate is completely melted. Let the sit for five minutes, then transfer it to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.
Mix on low speed until the bowl feels cool to the touch. Increase the speed to medium-high and gradually add the butter, beating until thoroughly incorporated. Scrape down the bowl and beat on high speed until the mixture is fluffy.
Place one cake layer on a serving platter. Spread the ganache frosting over the top, then top with the second cake layer. Spread with caramel frosting. Then top with the third layer. Crumb coat the cake and put the cake in the refrigerator for 15 minutes to firm up the frosting. Frost the sides and top with the remaining frosting.
This cake will keep beautifully, covered at a cool room temperature for up to 3 days. If your room is not cool, place the cake in a cake saver and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and let it sit at room temperature for at least 2 hours before serving.