Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Chocolate Cake and Crazy Cooking Challenge

I LOVE chocolate cake, who am I kidding, I love all cake, but especially chocolate.  This month's Crazy Cooking Challenge is right up my alley and I knew immediately what cake I was going to make.

The Galley Gourmet http://www.thegalleygourmet.net/ posted this cake in January and I needed an excuse to make it.  Really, a whole chocolate cake when there are only two of us home?  And it is January so I promised to cook more healthfully, for a while.  Well now I need to make this cake, you can't let the Crazy Cooking Challenge down!
I love the recipes on this blog.  I cruise through Tastespotting almost every day and I found myself going to this blog time after time.  I finally just subscribed to to and put a link on my blog so I could find it easier.  This cake was beautiful, and I needed to eat it, up to the little homemade marshmallows on top.  So Thank You Crazy Cooking Challenge for giving me the excuse very important reason to make this cake.

Hot Chocolate Layer Cake with Homemade Marshmallows
serves 16

For the Cake
6 ounces (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
13 1/2 ounces (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup canola oil
4 1/2 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup water
1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder
3 cups granulated sugar
2 1/4 ounces (3/4 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
3 extra large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

For the Frosting
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
3 ounces (6 Tablespoons) unsalted butter
1 vanilla bean; split lengthwise and seeds scraped out
6 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 cups granulated sugar
6 ounces (2 cups) unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
1/2 cup Lyle's Golden Syrup
1/2 teaspoon espresso powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1 small jar marshmallow cream

Vanilla Marshmallows (Recipe Follows)
(You will only need half a batch of marshmallows for the top of the cake.  You can make half the batch in an 8x8-inch pan or make the whole batch and store the leftovers for another use.  For the cake garnish, cut the marshmallows into different sizes from 1/4 to 3/4 inch square.)
Cocoa Powder for dusting

For the Cake
Preheat the oven to 350º F.  Line three 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper and lightly spray with non-stick baking spray. In a 3-quart saucepan, combine the butter, oil, chopped chocolate, and water over medium heat until melted.  Whisk in the espresso powder.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, and cocoa powder.  Pour the hot chocolate mixture into the sugar mixture and whisk until combined.  Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, then whisk in the buttermilk, vanilla, baking soda, and salt.  Evenly divide the batter between the prepared pans.  Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes.  Cool on the rack for 10 minutes, then invert onto the racks, remove parchment and cool completely.  (Cakes can be made one day ahead wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature, or freeze for up to one month).

For the Frosting
In a 4-quart saucepan over low heat, combine the cream, butter, vanilla bean, and seeds.  Stir until the butter is melted.  Remove the vanilla bean and whisk in the chopped chocolate.  Whisk in the sugar, cocoa powder, syrup, espresso powder, and salt; making sure the cocoa powder is dissolved.  Strain the frosting through a fine-mesh sieve set over a 9x13-inch pan.  Freeze until firm, about 2 hours, or refrigerate overnight. (Frosting can be refrigerated for up to three days)

Assemble the Cake
Remove the frosting from the refrigerator or freezer and transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes to soften.  Increase the speed to medium-high and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  

On a flat serving platter or cake stand (edges lined with strips of waxed or parchment paper to keep it clean while icing), place one cake layer.  Using an off-set spatula, spread 1 1/2 cups of frosting evenly to the edges.Add one very thin layer of marshmallow cream.  Repeat with another cake layer and another 1 1/2 cups frosting and a thin layer of marshmallow cream.  Top with the last cake layer. Spread a thin layer (or crumb coat) of frosting over the top and sides of the cake; refrigerate until the frosting is firm enough to seal in the crumbs, about 30 minutes.  Spread the remaining frosting in a smooth layer over the entire cake.  Carefully remove the paper strips to make a clean bottom edge.
Mound the marshmallow on top of the cake and dust the top of the marshmallow with cocoa powder. Enjoy! 

Don't skip the step of pouring the frosting through the fine mesh sieve.  Someone (I won't mention names, Dave) broke mine just a few days ago and I haven't had the chance to replace it.  The frosting wasn't as smooth as I would like it.

Next time I will not add the marshmallow cream.  It was my brilliant idea to add this, and the marshmallow cream is a little thick and makes the layers slide around a bit.

February 7, 2012    Daylight 7 hours, 35 minutes, 22 seconds     Current Temp. -6 º F

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  1. Your cake looks wonderful! LOVE IT!!!

  2. Yum! That looks too too good :)

  3. Mm, can I just spread this all over myself instead?! Lin xx

  4. Holy moly, this looks wonderful! I did a hot-chocolate cake as well, but I was lazy and used bagged marshmallows. I have no doubt your cake was absolutely amazing!

  5. I love the way this does look like a big mug of hot chocolate and I'm impressed that after so much work making the cake you actually made your own marshmallows too rather than taking the easy route of using shop-bought ones.

  6. Oh my gracious! This is the best challenge ever! Your cake is amazing - cannot wait to make this!

  7. You even made the marshmallows! I've been wanting to make them, but they seem intimidating to me. Great cake!!!

  8. Btw, I was born and raised in Fairbanks, as was my mother and grandmother, all three of us graduates of UAF :) Small world! I'm in WA now.

  9. Hello Hearty Appletite, I am also a UAF graduate! I'm sure you miss the 50 below we have been having. Marshmallows are really easy. Once you try you will wonder why you waited so long!

  10. That is a fun fun cake! I love it!!!

    Please stop by #62 :)

  11. THIS LOOKS AWESOME!! Yumm I will try this out for sure. Check out my cake #56 on the linky party have a great day :)

  12. Never heard of Lyle's syrup? I used to live in Alaska, lived in Anchorage for 3 yrs. Good time, did a lot the x is still living outside of fairbanks. Maybe someday would like to come back and visit during the summer. Beautiful cake I always look for recipes with buttermilk. andi

    1. Hello Andi
      I have a friend who travels to London and brought me back two tins of it when my boys were so excited about Harry Potter and wanted treacle pudding. I can find another brand of golden syrup now in my grocery's imported food section. If you can't find it, you can use corn syrup or honey.

  13. This is gorgeous and so very tasty looking! What a great recipe!

  14. WOW!!! I am soooo impressed that you made the marshmallows to go on top of the cake too. Great job!! :)

  15. Yum, looks decadent!
    I know firsthand how brutal January and February are in Fairbanks -- stay warm!

  16. What a terrific blog! Thanks so much for coming by and seeing my chocolate cake. I just made marshmallows last night and now they'll need a home on some cake.

    Would love if you shared at my "Beat the Winter Blues" party on Saturday.

  17. This looks fantastic! I love the homemade marshmallows on top :)

  18. Your cake is gorgeous and I love the homemade marshmallows.

    If you haven't already, I'd love for you to check out my Crazy Cooking Challenge entry: Double Chocolate Meyer Lemon Mousse Cake

    Cook Lisa Cook

  19. Must give this frosting recipe a try.... looks fabulous! How are you able to reply to messages? I haven't been able to figure that out on my blog yet.

    1. Hey Vivian, under your comment, once it is posted there is a reply button on my page. I figure it must be a part of blog spot's configuration. I've also seen where you have to hover over a comment for the reply button to show up.

  20. This cake looks so good, I love the marshmallows on top. Stopping by from CCC#45.

  21. This is wicked coo. I bet the taste is incredible.

  22. I think there's a special dispensation for chocolate cake because they've found that dark chocolate is good for you! (Right? Does this work for you? Just trying to help, here.) I love this month's Challenge, too! Come visit when you can; I'm entry #29 Pear and Chocolate Upside Down Cake

  23. What a great cake for a cold winters day, it looks delicious! Thanks for sharing and hope you have a wonderful week!
    Miz Helen

  24. I saw that cake on pinterest. It is a beauty and you did a fabulous job making your own. It looks delicious!!

  25. My daughter would LOVE this cake. She’s addicted to marshmallows I think. # 79

  26. The homemade marshmallows on top just made the cake perfect! Good choice.

  27. Love the idea of this cake! Genius. Oh yum, and homemade marshmallows to top it. Love!


  28. Sounds perfect! You even made your own marshmallows! How cool is that!!

    Come see mine at http://www.willcookforsmiles.com/2012/02/flourless-pecan-chocolate-cake-moms.html

  29. Oh I love your cake and the homemade marshmallows are just superb.

  30. Hi! I shared your recipe on my Must Try Tuesday blog post today.


    Goodness this cake looks so yummy...I can't wait to try this recipe.

    Thanks for sharing!

    The Rickett Chronicles

  31. I have a chocolate cake to make for tomorrow and I need a recipe without cocoa powder. I would like to use chocolate chips. we really want chocolate cake but we cant go to the store.. is there a good chocolate cake recipe that can be made with household items that one would normally have? Please help!

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