chocolate cake

chocolate tuxedo cake with strawberry mascarpone icing

Like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives.

chocolate tuxedo cake with strawberry mascarpone icing | Brooklyn Homemaker

Forgive me.

My mother watched a lot of soaps when I was growing up.

chocolate tuxedo cake with strawberry mascarpone icing | Brooklyn Homemaker

What I’m trying to say is, time is marching on and I’m officially older now than I was when I wrote my last post.

About two weeks ago I celebrated my birthday.

chocolate tuxedo cake with strawberry mascarpone icing | Brooklyn Homemaker

Those of you who’ve been reading along with me for a bit probably know that I look at my birthday as an excuse to make a big ass fancy layer cake.
I’ve heard it all before about how I’m not “supposed to” bake my own birthday cake, but the fact of the matter is that I enjoy baking a good cake almost as much as I enjoy eating one. A grocery store birthday cake pales in comparison to what I can bake myself, and I’d rather bake my own cake than shell out good money for something I’m not going to love.

I bake so many bundt cakes around here that I also relish the opportunity to go all out with sky high layers of cake stacked up with fillings and icings and glazes and decorations and candles, so that kind of seals the deal for me. I bake my own birthday cake, and I like it. So there.

chocolate tuxedo cake with strawberry mascarpone icing | Brooklyn Homemaker

You’ll also know, if you’ve been reading along with me for a while, that I have a tendency to get inside my own head and overthink things. Like seriously overthink things.

To that end, I’ll be the first to confess that I’ve been planning this cake for at least 6 months. Initially I was thinking about posting this cake, or at least a version of it, around Christmas. When that didn’t work out I thought I’d make it for Russell’s birthday in January. That didn’t end up happening either, so I’ve been sitting on the idea ever since.

chocolate tuxedo cake with strawberry mascarpone icing | Brooklyn Homemaker

My initial thought was a high contrast black and white cake with layers of deep dark chocolate cake, bright white icing, and glossy dark chocolate ganache. In some circles on the internet this contrasting black on white on black cake is called a “Tuxedo Cake”. Considering my name is Tux, I was all over that business.

Thing is, something magical happened along the way that made me rethink the white in my “tuxedo”.

chocolate tuxedo cake with strawberry mascarpone icing | Brooklyn Homemaker

A few months ago some friends came to visit us, one of whom happens to be from England and also happened to be celebrating a birthday while he was here. Before his wife finished the sentence, “Tomorrow’s his birth…”, I was in the kitchen preheating the oven.

They were out of the house a lot while they were here, off doing the tourist circuit, and since I didn’t know exactly when they’d be around I opted for cupcakes rather than a big formal layer cake. Since I was baking cupcakes, and since our friend is British, I wanted to go for a kind of American kid’s birthday party theme.
I decided to reimagine my funfetti cake recipe as cupcakes, but wanted to skip the American buttercream frosting and go for something a bit more subtle and a bit less sugary. I thought I’d adapt the mascarpone icing from the gingersnap icebox cake I made last December, but add some strawberries to it to make it fit better with the funfetti cake.
(Have I mentioned that I have a tendency to overthink things sometimes?)

To concentrate the flavor of the strawberries and make them less watery I decided to cook them down a bit with some sugar before mixing them into the icing.
At first I worried that I’d cooked the strawberries too long and was disappointed that they ended up tasting kind of jammy rather than super fresh like I’d hoped, but I forged ahead anyway and once I’d mixed them into the mascarpone and whipped cream…
HOLY SHIT.

chocolate tuxedo cake with strawberry mascarpone icing | Brooklyn Homemaker

Where do I begin?

This icing basically tastes like the freshest, creamiest strawberry ice cream you’ve ever had, but with the texture of fluffy whipped cream. It’s stable enough to be used as a cake icing as well, and just sweet enough to bring out the sweetness of the strawberries without being overly sugary or cloying.

After one bite, all of my big birthday cake plans changed.

My black and white tuxedo cake would be getting a chichi pink makeover.

chocolate tuxedo cake with strawberry mascarpone icing | Brooklyn Homemaker

As much as I’d like to, you can’t have an entire birthday party and serve nothing but cake, so with the cake as the pièce de résistance we decided to have a barbecue. An amazing sustainably sourced organic butcher recently opened near us, so we got a bunch of homemade bratwurst for the grill and called the whole shindig a “sausage party”.

Still on our German kick after our recent trip to Berlin, we went all out with German potato salad, and gurkensalit (cucumber salad), sauerkraut, and whole grain german mustard. I even drank beer for the night! (I usually stick to wine or whiskey).

The food was a huge hit, and while the bratwurst put up a good fight trying to be the star of the (sausage) party, my foppish pink tuxedo cake definitely stole the show!

chocolate tuxedo cake with strawberry mascarpone icing | Brooklyn Homemaker

The tender layers of devil’s food cake are nothing less than super rich and incredibly moist slices of dark chocolate heaven. The strawberry mascarpone icing is ethereally fluffy and impossibly creamy, and even though the strawberries are cooked down, the icing tastes bright and fresh and summery. The dark chocolate ganache is velvety and perfectly rich and bittersweet, with a lovely glossy finish thanks to a touch of honey.

To top it all off and make it feel even fancier and ever-so-slightly gaudy, I added some white candy beads in varying sizes to the top of the shiny dark ganache. You don’t have to if you don’t want to, but why on earth wouldn’t you want to?

chocolate tuxedo cake with strawberry mascarpone icing | Brooklyn Homemaker

Chocolate Tuxedo Cake with Strawberry Mascarpone Icing and Glossy Ganache

  • Servings: 16 to 24-ish
  • Print
Devil’s Food Cake
adapted from Brooklyn Homemaker
makes three 8-inch layers

butter and flour for pans
1 1/2 cups unsweetened natural cocoa powder (I used Double Dutch Process)
1 1/2 cups hot water (or hot brewed coffee for a richer flavor)
3 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and slightly cooled
1 cups peanut oil or vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter three 8 inch round cake pans, line bottoms with parchment paper, butter paper, and dust pans with flour.
Whisk together cocoa powder and hot water (or coffee) until smooth and set aside.
Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside.
Beat melted butter, oil, and sugars together on medium-low speed until combined.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition.
Beat in vanilla and cocoa mixture. Reduce speed to low.
Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with buttermilk and beginning and ending with flour. Beat until just combined.
Divide batter between pans, and bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes.

Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool for 30 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack, peel off parchment, and let cool completely.
To achieve a perfectly flat, professional looking cake, you’ll want to slice the very tops of the cakes off to make each layer completely flat and level. You can do this using a very sharp bread knife, or a cake leveler.

If you’re not assembling cakes right away, individually wrap each layer tightly in plastic wrap to prevent drying. Layers can be stored in the refrigerator for a day or two, or frozen (wrapped in plastic wrap first, then aluminum foil) for up to two weeks.

Simple Syrup: (optional)
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup sugar

Combine both ingredients in a small saucepan and heat over high heat, stirring until sugar dissolves completely. Remove from heat and cool completely.

Strawberry Mascarpone Icing:
1 lb ripe strawberries
3/4 cup sugar
3 cups cold heavy cream
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 oz mascarpone cheese
pinch of salt

Hull and finely chop strawberries and place in a medium saucepan with sugar. Stir to combine and once the strawberries begin to give off liquid, transfer pan to the stovetop over medium high heat. Bring to a rolling boil and reduce to a low boil. Cook for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until thick and syrupy and reduced by about half.
Transfer to a heatproof bowl, cover and refrigerate until completely cool. You can place it in the freezer if you’re in a hurry, but stir often and don’t let it actually freeze.
If preferred, you can substitute 1 1/2 cups good quality store bought strawberry jam to save yourself some time.

Whip cream with a mixer on high just until stiff peaks form. Add vanilla, salt, mascarpone, and strawberry mixture and beat until well combined and mixture stiffens back up. This should only take about 30 to 60 seconds. Don’t over mix or the mascarpone can become grainy. If you’re not using your icing right away you can store it in the refrigerator, but you may want to whip it for another 30 seconds just before icing the cake.

Glossy Ganache Drizzle:
4 oz good quality dark chocolate (60% works well)
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon honey
pinch salt

Chop chocolate into small, easily melted pieces and place in a heat proof bowl.
Heat heavy cream, honey, & salt in a small saucepan just until it comes to a light boil, and immediately pour directly over chocolate. Wait 2 to 3 minutes before stirring until completely smooth and melted and free of lumps. If the mixture seems very hot still it may melt the icing as you pour it so wait a few minutes for it to cool slightly. Do not let it get too cool or it will not drizzle nicely and may look messy.

*Do not make the ganache until the cake is completely iced and ready to decorate.

Decorations: (optional)
Various sizes of white candy beads, including:
white sixlets
white candy pearls (sometimes called dragees)
white nonpareils

Assemble cake: 
Place the first cake layer on an 8″ cardboard cake round, serving plate, or cake stand. Using a cake round will make it easier to ice and decorate, especially if you have a revolving turntable for decorating (I use a lazy suzan, but you can also just spin your plate or cake stand while you work).

Using a squeeze bottle or pastry brush, evenly distribute 2 or 3 tablespoons of simple syrup over the top of the cake layer. This step isn’t completely necessary but helps ensure the cake stays incredibly moist. It’s especially helpful if you’re using cake you stored in the fridge or freezer for a few days, or if you plan to wait a day or two before serving the cake.

Once the syrup has absorbed into the cake, place about 2 cups or so of icing on the first layer and spread it smooth and even using an icing spatula. It’s okay if it spreads out past the edge of the cake layer a bit. Add the next layer of cake, looking from directly over the top and from eye level at the cake to make sure each layer is directly one above the other, rotating the cake to be certain. Repeat with the simple syrup and icing again, then add the third and final layer and repeat again. Using the same amount of icing as before, start with the top of the cake but spread the icing thinner and work some of it down the sides of the cake to completely cover the whole cake in a thin, smooth, even coat of icing. This first layer of icing is called the crumb coat, and it seals the cake and keeps crumbs from being visible in the outer layer of icing.

Place the cake in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to help set the icing and firm up the cake.
After 30 minutes top the cake with about 3 to 4 cups more icing and spread it over the whole cake the same way you did the crumb coat. Start by smoothing the top and slowly work the icing down the sides to cover the cake completely. Try to get the icing as completely smooth as possible with straight sides and a flat, level top. You may have some icing left over, and I couldn’t blame you if you ate some of it with a spoon. Refrigerate the cake again for another 30 minutes (or up to a day).

Make your ganache just before you’re ready to remove the cake from the fridge.

I find it easier to get an even, professional looking drizzle by slowly pouring the ganache just around the outer edge of the top of the cake, while slowing rotating the cake. Once you’re happy with the amount of drizzle coming down the sides, use the remaining ganache to fill in the center of the top of the cake, smoothing it flat with a clean icing spatula before the ganache sets.

If you’d like to add decorations to the top of the cake, be sure to add them before the ganache sets. I used a mix a mix of multiple sizes of white candy beads, about 2 to 3 tablespoons of each, starting with the largest size and finishing with the smallest.

This cake will keep well in a cake saver at room temperature for a day or two if the weather is not too hot or humid. Otherwise, cover tightly and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

If refrigerating, bring cake to room temperature at least an hour before serving.

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rocky road bundt cake #bundtbakers

Guess what time it is…
It’s bundt time y’all. That’s right.

rocky road bundt cake with marshmallow glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

This is actually my #bundtbakers anniversary. My bundtiversary? No, I won’t do that to you.

Anyway, this time exactly one year ago I had just joined the #bundtbakers and published my very first post as part of the group. The theme that month was “breakfast” and I whipped up a crazy amazing maple bacon bundt cake with an even crazier amazinger bacon pecan streusel swirl.

Finding the bundt bakers was the beginning of something truly magical, and I like to think I’ve come up with some really special, really creative bundt cakes along the way. I’ve also watched the group grow and change over the months and I couldn’t be happier to have found such a special bunch of bundt lovers.

rocky road bundt cake with marshmallow glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

This month our host, Laura of Baking in Pyjamas, chose Rocky Road as our theme. Can it get any better than that? I mean, chocolate, nuts, marshmallows… What more could you want?

rocky road bundt cake with marshmallow glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

But then I noticed something in the theme’s description that seemed, to me at least, to be out of place. The list of ingredients for traditional Rocky Road contained, “marshmallows, chocolate, biscuits (cookies in US English), & dried fruits.”

Wait.
What?
I’ve never had anything called Rocky Road that contained either cookies or dried fruit. And what happened to the nuts?

As it turns out, Rocky Road means different things in different countries. In Laura’s home country of England, Rocky Road traditionally includes the ingredients listed above.

rocky road bundt cake with marshmallow glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

As you may or may not already know, American Rocky Road is usually an ice cream flavor containing chocolate, marshmallows, & nuts. In England, it’s a dessert usually eaten in small individual cupcake or brownie sized portions. After a little research I found out that Australia also has their own version that also contains coconut, glacé cherries, and turkish delight.

Who knew?
(certainly not me.)

rocky road bundt cake with marshmallow glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

After learning about all the different variations on Rocky Road, I asked Laura if it’d be okay if we expanded the theme to also include the American and Australian versions.

rocky road bundt cake with marshmallow glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

After some significant consideration and much hemming and hawing over which variation to go with, I decided that the American version was the most familiar and sounded the most appealing to me. I came really close to trying to marry the English and American versions by adding cookies but skipping the dried fruit, but then I couldn’t decide what kind of cookie to use so I just scrapped the idea and decided to keep it simple and traditional.

I find the creativity of the group and the wide range of flavors and variations on this theme incredibly inspiring, not to mention mouth watering. You really need to scroll down past the recipe and see what everyone came up with this month. Before you do though, you’ll probably want to grab a towel to wipe up all the drool.

rocky road bundt cake with marshmallow glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

My original idea for this cake was to add miniature marshmallows to the batter and bake them right into the cake, but they didn’t cooperate. The marshmallows floated to the top of the batter and melted into a sticky mess when baked so I had to rework my recipe. I decided to put the marshmallows on top of the cake in the form of a glaze instead.

In the end, this cake was a real winner. I brought it in to work and my coworkers haven’t stopped talking about it yet.

As if the super moist, super flavorful chocolate cake base for this bundt weren’t perfect enough, it gets a melty chocolate boost in the form of mini chocolate chips mixed into the batter. Thinly sliced toasted almonds and a touch of almond extract go in too, and take things to an even more amazing level of deliciousness. Just when you though it couldn’t get any better, a sweet gooey marshmallow glaze gets poured over the top and even more chocolate chips and almonds get sprinkled over that.

Insanity.

rocky road bundt cake with marshmallow glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

Rocky Road Bundt Cake with Marshmallow Glaze

adapted from Joy the Baker

For the Cake:
1 1/4 cups water
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder (plus more for pan)
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup peanut oil or any neutral vegetable oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup sliced almonds
1 cup mini chocolate chips

For the Marshmallow Glaze:
1 1⁄2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1⁄4 tsp. kosher salt
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 cups mini marshmallows

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Liberally butter a 10 to 12 cup Bundt pan and dust with a few tablespoons of cocoa powder to evenly coat the inside. Tap out excess cocoa and refrigerate pan until ready to use.

Whisk water and cocoa powder in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, whisking frequently. Remove from heat and let come to room temperature.

Spread sliced almonds in an even layer on a small cookie sheet and toast at 350 for about 8 minutes or until they smell like nutty heaven on earth. Be careful that they don’t burn or they’ll become bitter.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, mix together sugar, salt, baking soda, eggs and egg yolk on low for just one minute. Add the buttermilk, oil, vanilla extract, and almond extract and mix on low again for another minute.
Add the flour and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes more.  Add the cooled cocoa mixture and mix on medium speed for 3 minutes. The batter will seem quite loose and liquid. Reserve 2 tablespoons each of the sliced almonds and mini chocolate chips and set aside for the topping. Stir the rest into the cake batter until well distributed. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake for 55-65, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool completely in the pan and then invert onto a cooling rack.

To make the marshmallow glaze, mix sugar, vanilla, and salt in a bowl. Melt the butter along with 2 tablespoons of water in a nonstick sauce pan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat and immediately add in marshmallows and stir until completely melted, about 1–2 minutes. Whisk into sugar mixture until free of lumps.
Pour glaze evenly over the top of the cooled bundt and sprinkle with your reserved toasted sliced almonds and mini chocolate chips.

Cake should keep, well wrapped in an air tight container, for about 3 days. If refrigerating, let come to room temperature before serving.

rocky road bundt cake with marshmallow glaze | Brooklyn Homemaker

The bundt bakers really knocked it out of the park this month. Get ready to drool and check out all of these amazing bundts!

BundtBakers
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#BundtBakers is a group of Bundt loving bakers who get together once a month to bake Bundts with a common ingredient or theme. We take turns hosting each month and choosing the theme/ingredient. You can see all our of lovely Bundts by following our Pinterest board right here. Links are also updated after each event on the BundtBaker home page here.

brooklyn blackout cake

I recently went upstate to help my mom out with her new house, and while I was home I took a break to go visit my grandparents.

the rich, dark history of brooklyn blackout cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

My grandfather is a man of few words, and usually contributes little more to dinner table chats than some talk about his vegetable garden. One topic that always gets him talking a blue streak though, is World War II. I don’t know about you, but I think war-time stories are actually pretty fascinating, so when the conversation turned to what life was like for he and his family back then, I was thrilled.

My grandfather was born in Germany in a farming community where he and his family worked building homes and barns for the neighboring farmers. During the war when food was rationed, items like sugar, chocolate, & coffee became rare luxuries that were extremely hard to come by for civilians. Fortunately, my grandfather had family living in the US who would send care packages with items they could trade with their neighbors to help them get by. When my grandfather was fourteen years old his father refused to join the nazi party and was sent away to work in a ball bearing factory in Schweinfurt. This left my grandfather, the oldest child in a large family, in charge. He told me that real coffee was so hard to come by, and in such high demand, that their local butcher once traded them 150 lbs of beef for just one pound of coffee! They grew a lot of their own vegetables, but didn’t usually get to eat much meat, so those coffee care packages meant more to their family than most of us can even understand. After the war my grandfather and many of his siblings moved to the US and settled in upstate New York, where I grew up.

When I heard Grandpa’s story, it reminded me of another story from World War II that I recently read about, the story of the Brooklyn Blackout Cake. I’ve actually been thinking about making this cake and sharing the story with you for a while now, but until my visit home I hadn’t had the inspiration I needed to take on this iconic cake.

the rich, dark history of brooklyn blackout cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

A mix of dutch-process and ultra-dutch black cocoa

In the U.S., just as in Germany, food was being rationed during the war and items like sugar, coffee, & chocolate were hard to come by. Chocolate was especially in short supply because much of what was produced at that time was reserved for the war effort and sent to the front. In Brooklyn, the Rockwood chocolate factory was so busy making chocolate for the war that they became the second-largest chocolate maker in the country, second only to Hershey’s. Rockwood’s government contracts made up so much of their business in fact, that about a decade or so after the war ended and the contracts expired, the company went out of business.

the rich, dark history of brooklyn blackout cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Workers in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, only a few blocks from the chocolate factory, were surrounded by the constant smell of chocolate drifting over from Rockwood, which was a huge tease since they had such limited access to chocolate bars. At the peak of the war, the Brooklyn Navy Yard was one of the most important naval warship building yards in the U.S., and employed over 70,000 people working in shifts 24 hours a day. The navy yard was so important to the war effort that enemy U-boats would sneak through the waters around New York hoping to sink some of the completed ships as they sailed out.

Battleships usually left the yard at night under the cover of darkness, but New York’s bright lights served as an accidental backdrop to the black silhouette of moving ships. After a few tankers were sunk in New York Harbor in January of 1942, the Civilian Defense Corps decided action needed to be taken to protect the ships. Temporary blackout drills were common in European cities to protect them from air raids, but in June 1942 much of New York, especially Brooklyn, went through a permanent ‘dim-out’ that lasted through to the end of the war. City lights were turned off, windows were covered with heavy material, and vehicles drove at night without headlights or street lamps, all to make sure no light could be seen from enemy U-boats. Even the lights of Time’s Square and the Coney Island amusement park went dark through the war. 

the rich, dark history of brooklyn blackout cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

During Brooklyn’s blackout era, there was another chocolate confection maker near the Navy Yard, and this one was open to the public. Ebinger’s Bakery opened their first store in 1898 and soon swelled to a baking institution with 54 locations throughout Brooklyn and Queens. They made all of their treats from scratch daily, and gave their shops an air of authenticity by hiring shop girls with German accents. Before the war they were selling a pudding-filled three-tiered dark chocolate cake, but when the Civilian Defense Corps instituted their lights out policy, Ebinger’s decided to name their cake the “Brooklyn Blackout Cake” to show their support for the city they called home. Whether it was the deep dark chocolate-on-chocolate flavor, or their close proximity to the Navy Yard where workers were constantly smelling chocolate they couldn’t have, the cake was a huge hit. The name stuck well after the war and the cake became an iconic confection, well-known all over the country even though the Ebinger’s chain never left New York. 

the rich, dark history of brooklyn blackout cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Unfortunately, a few decades later, Ebinger’s fell victim to a consumer obsession with diets and health, poor business management, and the country’s fascination with convenient supermarket shopping. The short shelf life and unhealthy ingredients in their home-baked treats couldn’t compete, and Ebinger’s went out of business on August 27, 1972. Their secret family recipes were never released, and though many have tried to replicate them, no one knows the exact details of those original recipes.

the rich, dark history of brooklyn blackout cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Since they went bust more than a decade before I was born, I’ve never actually tasted a genuine Ebinger’s Brooklyn Blackout Cake. If you’re looking for the real, true, authentic recipe, you’ve come to the wrong place. Many bakeries and blogs have tried their best to come up with a close approximation, but since I’ve never tasted the real thing, I decided I was within my rights to take some liberties.
According to food historian Molly O’Neill, a true Brooklyn Blackout Cake consists of “…three layers of devil’s food cake sandwiching a dark chocolate pudding with chocolate frosting and sprinkled with chocolate cake crumbs.” I followed her guideline, but went ahead and used my own recipes for the three components.

the rich, dark history of brooklyn blackout cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

I used my favorite recipe for Devil’s Food Cake but, in place of natural cocoa, I substituted a mix of dutch-process cocoa and ultra-dutched black cocoa to give the cake a deep dark “blackout” flavor. If you’re not familiar with black cocoa, it’s what’s used in Oreos to give them their iconic dark chocolate flavor. It can sometimes be a bit overpowering in a cake though, so I mixed it with dutch-process cocoa to mellow it out a bit. The end result is an impossibly chocolatey cake that is literally black in color. If you don’t have or can’t find black cocoa (available here), feel free to just use dutch-process cocoa. I’m positive you’ll have amazing results either way. 

the rich, dark history of brooklyn blackout cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

For the pudding filling, I decided to add some espresso powder to deepen the chocolate flavor, and to bring a bit of coffee into the cake that I was inspired to bake by my grandfather’s story. If you’re not a coffee fan you could leave it out, but together with the other components, you get just a subtle hint of coffee that backs up the dark chocolatiness of the rest of the cake. To top it all off, I iced the cake with a thick, rich dark chocolate ganache. Then I covered the sides of the cake with crumbs while leaving most of the top clean to show off a swirled design in the icing.

the rich, dark history of brooklyn blackout cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

When making a layer cake, especially one consisting of more than two layers, I think it’s really important to level each layer of cake before assembly. I think it makes for a much more professional looking, impressive, and beautiful cake. I also like that you get an opportunity to taste the cake before serving to be certain no mistakes were made. Luckily, in this recipe, the excess cake gets put to good use too.

the rich, dark history of brooklyn blackout cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

To be perfectly honest, this cake is a LOT of work. Ebinger’s was making this in commercial production bakeries with lots of help, but making this yourself is a bit of an undertaking. If you’re up for the challenge though, the end result is unbelievably delicious, incredibly moist, and outrageously chocolatey. If you are as big of a fan of chocolate as I am, you’ll go crazy for this cake.

the rich, dark history of brooklyn blackout cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Brooklyn Blackout Cake


Black Devil’s Food Cake
makes three 8-inch layers

butter and flour for pans
3/4 cups dutch process cocoa powder
3/4 cups ultra-dutched black cocoa powder *see note
1 1/2 cups hot water
3 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups peanut oil or vegetable oil
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
4 large eggs
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter three 8 inch round cake pans, line bottoms with parchment paper, butter paper, and dust pans with flour. Whisk together cocoa powders and hot water until smooth.

Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside. Beat oil and sugars together on medium-low speed until combined.
Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla and cocoa mixture. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with buttermilk and beginning and ending with flour. Beat until just combined.
Divide batter between pans, and bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, 40 to 45 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack, peel off parchment, and let cool completely.

*if you don’t have (or can’t find) black cocoa, you can just use all dutch-process instead (for a total of 1 1/2 cups cocoa)

Chocolate Pudding Filling

1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons espresso powder
1-1/2 cups whole milk
3 ounces good dark chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a small heavy saucepan, mix sugar, cornstarch, espresso powder and salt. Whisk in milk. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly. Reduce heat to low; cook and stir 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat and stir in chocolate until melted. Transfer to a bowl; stir in vanilla. Cool slightly, stirring occasionally. Press plastic wrap onto surface of pudding. Refrigerate, covered, at least 2 hours or until cold.

Chocolate Ganache Icing

1 1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
12 oz good dark chocolate, chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla

Heat cream, sugar, and salt over medium heat until just on the verge of boiling. Place chopped chocolate in a heat proof bowl and pour hot cream over it making sure all chocolate is submerged. Let sit for 2 or 3 minutes, and whisk until completely smooth and incorporated. Add vanilla and whisk well. Cover and cool until thick and spreadable. You can try to speed this up in the refrigerator, but check it frequently and be careful not to let it get too cold or it won’t be spreadable.

To assemble cake, make sure all layers, filling & icing are cool or cold. Remove the domed tops of the cake layers with a cake leveler or sharp bread knife. With clean hands, crumble up reserved cake domes into fine, relatively even crumbs, and reserve for decorating use. Place one layer on a cake plate, serving plate, or cake board. Evenly spread half of the pudding over the first layer. Top with another layer and remaining pudding. Top with third layer.

With an icing spatula, spread a thin layer of ganache over top and sides of cake, trying not to squish the pudding out from between the layers. This should take about 1/3 of your ganache. Be sure to fill in any gaps between layers and make the sides and top smooth and flat as possible. This thin layer of icing is referred to as the “crumb coat” and is meant to seal in any crumbs so they’re not seen in your final layer of icing. Refrigerate cake for 15 minutes. Spread most (or all) of remaining ganache evenly over top and sides of cake, trying to get as smooth a surface as possible. If desired, reserve some ganache for piped decoration, otherwise, slather it all on. Press the crumbs against sides of the cake until the sides are well covered. You can decorate the top with a swirl design using a small icing spatula, leave it flat and smooth, pipe a border or design, or cover the top with more crumbs.

This cake is at it’s best the day it’s baked, but can be covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. If refrigerated, it will need to come up to room temperature before serving.

Chocolate Orange Bundt Cake

I love a Bundt cake. I really do. Maybe it’s because they remind me of my childhood, or my grandmother, or maybe it’s because they have the ability to be elegant and un-fussy all at once. To me, baking a bundt is so much simpler than leveling, filling, crumb coating, refrigerating, icing, and decorating a layer cake, After baking a bundt you just let it cool, turn it out, and either pour on a glaze or dust with confectioner’s sugar. Despite their simplicity, they can still have the same impact when you want to wow your guests.

chocolate orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

When I was coming up with the idea for this cake I knew I wanted a rich chocolatey base flavor, but wanted to add a little something extra to take it to another level. At first I was thinking about cherries or fresh berries, but I started thinking about those Terry’s chocolate oranges that were popular about a decade ago and I knew what I had to do. I scoured the internet for recipes but the best I could come up with were marble cakes with swirls of chocolate and orange flavored yellow cake, and that was definitely not what I was looking for. I wanted this to be a CHOCOLATE cake with a capital C-H-O-C-O-L-A-T-E, and for it to be completely perfumed with that sweet bright orange flavor.

chocolate orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

I ended up deciding to take some liberties with a recipe for a super moist chocolate buttermilk cake. The original called for brewed coffee to enhance the chocolate flavor, but I decided to swap the coffee for fresh orange juice and zest, and add some more chocolate for good measure. I did keep the buttermilk though, which always gives anything that goes into the oven a beautiful flavor.

chocolate orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

My only complaint about buttermilk is that I can never find it in a pint carton. In my area it only comes in quarts, and no matter how much baking I do, I always have a ton left over. Even though it’s delicious in baking, on its own, not so much. The only person I’ve ever known who actually drank buttermilk was my great-grandmother Nana. Her real name was Opal but I only knew her as Nana. She was from Little Rock by way of England, and she loved a tall glass of buttermilk. I tried some with her once when I was a kid and decided there was something VERY wrong with Nana’s pallet.  It wasn’t until later in life that I realized it’s potential to completely transform baked goods.
I used to use what I needed and let the rest hang out in the fridge, hoping I’d need it again before it went bad, but nine times out of ten I’d end up admitting defeat and tossing it a week or two later. About a year or two ago I read somewhere that buttermilk freezes well, and my life was forever changed.  You must be patient though, maybe even try to think ahead, and let the buttermilk thaw on its own. Frozen buttermilk takes on a really funky texture when microwaved.

chocolate orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

I sometimes hear that people are afraid of bundt cakes, that they’re afraid they’ll fall apart or stick to the pan. My advice is to be very thorough and liberal when you butter and flour the pan, and to let the cake cool before you try to un-mold it. I use a paper towel when I’m buttering and go over the pan twice to make sure I haven’t missed any corners or detail. Don’t be afraid of using too much butter. Embrace the butter.

chocolate orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

For this cake I used the Nordic Ware Heritage bundt pan. You can find it here if you’re interested. As if a traditional bundt pan weren’t impressive enough, this pan adds a modern twist to the classic shape. The lines of this cake just make it impossibly stylish.

chocolate orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Just look at those ridges. Look at those clean lines. So fancy. It looks like a craggy mountain when sliced.

chocolate orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

I think the golden glaze with bright little specks of orange zest looks really beautiful against this almost black super-chocolatey cake. The recipe I adapted this cake from called for a thick bittersweet chocolate and sour cream glaze, but I thought a simple powdered sugar glaze would compliment and enhance the delicate citrus flavor of the cake instead of competing.

chocolate orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

In case I forgot to mention it, this cake is GOOOOOD. It really delivers in the chocolate department, the oil and buttermilk keep it unbelievably moist, and the orange juice and zest add a sunny sweetness that permeates the cake. The smell alone is enough to get you going when you cut into it. Going. Going.

chocolate orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Gone.

chocolate orange bundt cake | Brooklyn Homemaker

Chocolate Orange Bundt Cake

adapted from Joy the Baker

For the Cake:
1 1/4 cups orange juice
2 Tablespoons orange zest
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 whole eggs
1 egg yolk
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
1 cup plus 2 Tablespoon canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups, plus 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour, sifted
1 cup mini chocolate chips or finely chopped bittersweet chocolate

For the Glaze:
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/4 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons orange zest

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
Liberally butter and flour a 10 to 12 cup Bundt pan and set aside.

make the cake batter:
Whisk orange juice and cocoa powder in a small saucepan and bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Remove from heat, whisk in zest, and let come to room temperature.

In the bowl of a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, mix together sugar, salt, baking soda, eggs and egg yolk on low for about 1 minute. Add the buttermilk, oil and vanilla extract and mix on low again for another minute.

Add the flour and mix on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Add the cooled cocoa mixture and mix on medium speed for 3 minutes.  Mix in chocolate chips on low. The batter will be very loose.  Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake for 55-65, or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool completely in the pan and then invert onto a cooling rack.

make the orange glaze:
Add confectioner’s sugar and zest to orange juice and whisk until you can’t see any lumps. I like to do this in a glass measuring cup with a spout so you can pour the glaze easily.

Place a baking sheet under the cooling rack your cake is on. Pour the glaze over the Bundt cake, covering it completely. If you have leftover glaze, go back in for another coat.  Transfer to a cake plate or platter by gently sliding the cake off the rack, use a thin spatula to help lift it if necessary. Leave at room temperature until ready to serve. The glaze will harden and form a sort of candy shell and keep the cake inside crazy moist.