Valentines Day Cake
Some things in life need no explanation of excuse. Why one might want to own their own home perhaps, love their family, cut their toenails or make an exceptionally large chocolate cake on Valentines day.
When I say make a ‘chocolate cake’ I do not mean a light, fluffy, crumbly weakling of a cake. I am talking about the mother of all cakes: a near solid brick of chocolate, a cake so thick so sinfully chocolaty that I actually broke off a knife* cutting into it on the second day. (If you think this cake can be eaten in one day you would be wrong). So without further adu let me present to you my cake:
adapted from epicurious.com
12 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
¼ teaspoon salt
6 large eggs, separated
12 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Preheat oven to
In a bain maire (in a bowl over simmering water) Stir chocolate and butter until melted and smooth. Cool until lukewarm, stirring often. Honestly, if you don’t wait until it is lukewarm you will have scrambled eggs, this you do not want. Trust me.
Beat egg yolks and 6 tablespoons sugar in large bowl until mixture is very thick and pale. Add lukewarm chocolate mixture into yolk mixture, then fold in vanilla extract.
Using clean dry beaters, beat egg whites in another large bowl until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining 6 tablespoons sugar, beating until medium-firm peaks form. Add the whites to the chocolate batter, slowly a little at a time. Using a spatula to stir is best, this will help you keep your mixing to a minimum. Pour batter into your nicely buttered pan.
Bake cake until top is puffed and cracked and tester inserted into center comes out with some moist crumbs attached, about 50 minutes. Cool cake in pan on rack (according to the directions on epicurious, they said my cake would fall which it did not I was almost upset about this, because I wanted it to be very thick and dense but it was anyway).
Gently press down crusty top to make evenly thick cake, I used a spatula to do this, but even when I pushed down it did not move a whole lot. I used a knife around the edge of my pan and flipped it out onto a rack to cool.
Once I felt fairly safe that my cake would hold together, I very very carefully cut off any strange bits and cut the cake in half. Then I sliced each cake through the center to create 4 separate layers.
For ganache filling and glaze
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
20 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), finely chopped.
While you cake bakes, make ganache: Bring cream to a simmer in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan and remove from heat. Whisk in chocolate until smooth. Transfer ganache to a bowl and chill, covered, stirring occasionally, until thickened but spreadable, about 4 hours. (If ganache becomes too thick, let stand at room temperature until slightly softened.)
My ganache was thick within the hour, but the cream I used was exceptionally thick, you may have to wait longer. I never put my ganche into the fridge either, but some may have to. Once my cake was room temperature, I iced the top of each layer and put them into the fridge. After about another hour I took out my layers, iced them again and built my cake, and put the whole stack back into the fridge. Once it was cool and my layers were solid I cut off any irregular bits with a sharp knife and applied a crumb coat to the outside of the cake (a thin layer of ganache). About an hour before I served the cake I took the whole thing out of the fridge and applied my final layer of ganache.
* the knife may have been a 2 dollar per silverware set purchase, with a plastic handle, and the metal broke away from the plastic.