Perfect Chocolate Cake
For birthday celebrations my mother made her chocolate cake with rich fudge frosting and a chocolate filling. I believe she found this recipe in McCalls Cooking School publications, a series of cooking magazines with detailed instructions. When I married she shared with me her prize recipe and I’ve made this moist flavorful cake for birthday’s ever since.
1 cup unsifted unsweetened cocoa
2 cups boiling water
2 3⁄4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1⁄2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter, softened
2 1⁄2 cups sugar
1 1⁄2 teaspoons vanilla
6 ounces semisweet chocolate pieces
1⁄2 cup half and half
3/4 cup butter
2 1⁄2 cups unsifted confectioners’ sugar
1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1⁄4 cup unsifted confectioners’ sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup heavy cream
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 teaspoon almond extract
Preheat oven to 350°F.
In a medium bowl, combine cocoa with boiling water, mixing with wire whisk until smooth. Cool completely. Sift flour with soda, salt, and baking powder. Grease well and lightly flour three 8 by 1 1/2 inch layer-cake pans. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, at high speed, beat butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla, scraping bowl occasionally until light-about 5 minutes.
At low speed, beat in flour mixture (in fourths), alternately with the cocoa mixture (in thirds), beginning and ending with flour mixture. Do not over-beat.
Divide evenly into pans; smooth top. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, or until surface springs back when gently pressed with fingertip.
Cool in pans 10 minutes.
Carefully loosen sides with a spatula; Remove from pans; cool on racks.
Frosting: In a medium saucepan, combine chocolate pieces, cream, butter; stir over medium heat until smooth.
Remove from heat. With a whisk, blend in 2 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar.
In a bowl set over ice(I use ice cubes) beat until it holds shape.
Heat the cream in a saucepan or in the microwave, until the mixture begins to steam.
Pour over the chopped chocolate in a bowl. Let sit for 5 minutes. Stir — at first slowly, then more vigorously — until the chocolate is completely melted. If necessary, reheat very briefly to soften any remaining hard bits of chocolate. Add almond extract. Refrigerate ganache until thick.
To assemble the cake:
On plate place a layer, top side down; spread with half of the ganache. Place the second layer, top side down; spread with rest of ganache.
Place the third layer, top side up.
To frost: With a spatula, frost sides first, covering ganache; use rest of frosting on top, swirling decoratively.