August 29, 2012

... Chocolate Paradise Cake

Yum, yum, yes please, yum.  Translated: Chocolate, chocolate, toffee, more chocolate.  

A special cake.  A special celebration.  Happy Birthday, Mom!

Chocolate Paradise Cake
serves 12

Devil's Food Cake
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for preparing pan
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for preparing pan
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sour cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly butter the bottoms and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans.  Line the bottom of the pans with parchment and then butter the parchment.  Dust the pans with flour, coating the bottoms and sides, and then tap out the excess.

In a large bowl, sift together the 2 1/4 cups flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  In another large bowl, using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the 3/4 cup butter until creamy.  Add the brown sugar and continue beating for 1 minute.  Add the vanilla and continue beating until incorporated.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  The butter mixture will look separated and grainy, which is not a problem.  Beat in the sour cream and then add the flour mixture in 3 batches.  The batter will be quite thick.  Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans, using a rubber spatula to spread the batter evenly.

Bake the cake layers until a toothpick inserted near the center of each cake comes out clean, about 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and let the cakes rest in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes.  Place a rack on top of 1 cake, invert the cake and rack, and then lift off the pan.  Peel off the parchment circle.  Repeat with the second cake.  Let cool completely.

Bittersweet Chocolate Frosting
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 3/4 cups heavy (whipping) cream
1/2 cup sour cream
pinch of kosher salt

2 cups coarsely crushed English toffee
2 to 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups homemade or store-bought caramel sauce, warmed

To make the Bittersweet Chocolate Frosting, bring 1 inch of water to a simmer in the bottom of a double boiler or saucepan.  Place the chocolate and cream in the top of a double boiler or in a heatproof bowl placed over the pan, and heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate melts and the chocolate and cream are mixed together and smooth.  Remove from the heat and stir in the sour cream and salt.  Set aside to cool.  When cool, using an electric mixer set on medium speed, beat the frosting until it is thick enough to spread and nearly double in volume.

To assemble and decorate the cake, using a pastry brush, brush off any loose crumbs from the sides and tops of the cake layers.  Using a serrated knife, trim the domed tops of the cake layers, making them level.  Place 1 layer on a cake plate, bottom-side up.  Cut strips of waxed paper and place under the edges of the cake to keep the cake plate clean while frosting the cake.  Spread the top of this layer with about one fourth of the frosting.  Top the frosting with 1/2 cup of the crushed toffee.  Place the second layer, bottom-side up, on top and gently press it into place.  Spread frosting all around the sides of the cake and then frost the top of the cake.  Using the remaining toffee, press it all around the sides of the cake.  Using a fine-mesh sieve, sift a healthy dusting of cocoa powder over the top of the cake.  Carefully remove the strips of waxed paper.

When ready to serve, slice the cake and serve each slice centered in a pool of warm caramel sauce.

Taylor's Notes:
This was a bit of a labor of love (would you expect any less from Nordstrom?).  My first double-layer cake and who knew how hard it would be to find English toffee not coated in chocolate?  Did you notice the chocolate shavings?  Yes, I'll admit it.  I shaved the chocolate from the Heath bars I bought so that the toffee would show up on the chocolate cake.  Labor.of.Love.  Totally worth it, though... Happy Birthday, Mom!


Someone decided she should taste the cake early and helped herself while no one was looking.  Luckily she didn't take down the whole thing before getting caught.

{clockwise from top left : evidence, culprit, jealous bystander, super cute kiddo}

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