Chocolate Birthday Cake

by Laura on January 3, 2016

in Cakes & Cupcakes, Desserts, Recipes

Chocolate Cake

This chocolate cake is from Fran Bigelow’s Pure Chocolate cookbook, and is her son Dylan’s favorite cake. The creme fraiche hits just the right note to offset the extravagant richness. For a smaller cake, you can make one 9-inch layer and half the filling.

  • 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chipped
  • 3/4 pound ( 3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 8 large eggs, room temperature, separated
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1 cup cake flour, sifted then measured
  • 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate (preferably 66% cacao), finely chopped
  • 24 ounces creme fraiche or sour cream

Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Lightly butter two 9-inch round cake pans (preferably flared), and line the bottoms with parchment paper circles.

In a double boiler melt the semisweet chocolate over low heat. Remove the top of the boiler when the chocolate is nearly melted and continue stirring until completely smooth. Add the softened butter in 3 parts, stirring until no visible traces of butter remain. If the butter begins to melt and separate, stop and allow the chocolate more time to cool. The finished mixture should be glossy and smooth. Set aside to cool until the mixture is the consistency of softened butter. Briefly return to the double boiler if it begins to thicken too much.

In a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg yolks with half the sugar at medium-high speed, increasing to high speed until light and tripled in volume, 5 to 6 minutes.

Using a rubber spatula, fold the melted chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. The mixture should be smooth and glossy.

Meanwhile sift the flour again and set aside.

Clean the whisk, and in a clean bowl whip the egg whites on medium-high, increasing the speed to allow them to become quite frothy. Slowly add the remaining sugar and continue whipping until the peaks are stiff, but not dry. The mixture should look glossy with a creamy consistency.

While the egg whites are finishing, fold the sifted flour into the chocolate mixture.

Lighten the chocolate mixture by quickly folding in a third of the whites, then gently fold in the remaining whites in 2 parts, trying not to over mix and lose the volume. Evenly spread the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the tops appear lighter in color and a tester inserted in the center comes our with moist crumbs. Allow the cake layer to cool in the pan at room temperature for approximately 10 minutes.

Turn the layers out of their pans (leaving the parchment attached) onto cardboard cake circles or tart bottoms and chill completely. The cooled layers can be wrapped in plastic and frozen for up to a week prior to assembly.

To make filling/icing

In a double boiler melt the chocolate over low heat. Cool to lukewarm.

Put the creme fraiche in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. On medium-high speed whip the cream just to lighten, about 20 seconds. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the melted chocolate, scraping the bowl often, until the mixture is creamy and glossy.

To finish the cake

Using a serrated knife, split the chilled layers horizontally. Place the bottom layer on the serving plate; remove the top cut layer and set aside. Spread approximately 1/2 cup of the creme fraiche icing on the first layer, about 1/4 inch thick. Place the reserved layer on top, removing the parchment circle. Coat the layer with another 1/2 cup of icing. Repeat until all 4 layers are assembled with a cake layer on top. Use the remaining icing to frost the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate until set. Can be stored in the refrigerator for up to three days. Remove half an hour before serving.

Source: Fran Bigelow’s Pure Chocolate


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