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Chocolate cake, chocolate filling, and a rich chocolate ganache, what more could you possibly want? This is adapted from a recipe I saw on a Food Network show, so I can't take all the credit. Before we begin, let's talk about chocolate for a minute. You are not allowed to make this cake if you use the crappy bakers chocolate commonly found in grocery stores. Seriously. Let's go over what good options there are.

  • Hershey's Baking Chocolate - this is the starting point. While not exceptional, it's not bad either. I've never found it in stores near me though.
  • Ghirardelli Baking Chocolate - now we're talking. This stuff is good chocolate, and not too horribly expensive (usually about $2 per 4 oz bar). It's also commonly found in most grocery stores, so this is what I usually use.
  • Godiva Chocolate - if you want to have fun, go for it. Kinda pricey, but you could just use it for the ganache which is where it will really count.
  • Valrhona Chocolate - want to go crazy? this stuff is an orgasm in your mouth.

In other words, do yourself a favor and get some decent chocolate. Also, you want bittersweet chocolate. This is generally 60-70% cocoa. Ok, onward and upward...

Chocolate Cake

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8" round cake pans with butter, and lightly dust with flour. Tap out excess. To make it easy on yourself, line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper (NOT WAX PAPER). You will probably be able to get the cake out without it, but it makes it a lot easier and usually the cake requires less reassembling... Add butter to a large mixer bowl and beat several minutes until light and fluffy. Add the white and brown sugar, and cream for several minutes until light in color and fluffy. Add eggs to the mixer one at a time, mixing each in well, and beat about 1 minute on high speed. Mix the cocoa powder and warm water in a separate bowl until smooth, and add to mixer. In one bowl, mix flour, soda, and salt and in another bowl, mix buttermilk, cool water, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and buttermilk mixture to the mixer, alternating between the two (about 1/3 at a time). When well mixed, remove bowl from mixer and fold in grated chocolate. Add to the cake pans, filling each about 3/4 full. There will probably be some left over batter.

Bake until a knife or toothpick inserted at an angle comes out clean. For me this ends up usually being about an hour. Keep an eye on it, you don't want to over bake it. Allow cakes to cool in the pan completely. Cut around the sides with a knife, then turn and tap on the bottom to remove the cakes.

Chocolate Filling

Add cream and butter to a saucepan on medium heat. Heat until butter is completely melted, do not allow to boil. Remove pan from heat and add in chocolate. Whisk several minutes until it all comes together with a consistent color and texture (this will happen suddenly, you'll know when you've got it). Place filling in refrigerator until completely cooled. With a hand mixer, beat at high speed until filling thickens to about the consistency of soft butter.

Chocolate Ganache

  • 2 C heavy whipping cream
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 18 oz bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

Add cream and butter to a saucepan over medium heat. Heat until butter is completely melted, and again, do not allow to boil. Remove from heat and add chocolate, whisking until it is smooth and consistent.

Putting it all together

If needed, slice off the rounded tops of both cakes. Place one cake on a wire rack with wax or other paper underneath , with the smooth side of the cake on the bottom. Add a generous amount of filling to the top of the cake and spread around. Add other cake, top down, on top of the first piece, pressing slightly. Use any excess filling to smooth around the edges of the cake, you want it to be as smooth as possible. Allow the ganache to cool for about 1/2 hour at room temperature. Pour over the top of the cake and try to pour down the sides of the cake. You can use a spatula to spoon it on the side, but you want it to be as smooth as possible.

Refrigerate cake until the first coat of glaze has set up. The consistency of the ganache for the second coat is very important, it should be slightly thicker than chocolate syrup. If it's too thick, heat it up a bit on the stove. You need it to pour easily but still be able to stick a bit, it takes a bit of experience... Pour on a second coat of ganache trying to keep it as smooth as possible.

All done, enjoy!

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