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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

chocolate blackout cake.

If you're familiar with blackout cakes, I bet you would think that this blackout cake has something missing, which is the signature outer covering of chocolate cake crumbs. So just how my cake became "naked"? Well... because I did something stupid- miscalculating the amount of flour. Instead of 1 1/2 cups, I only used 1 cup. Without adequate structure, the cake couldn't rise as much and was very short. There was no way I could divide the squat cake into 4 layers so I sliced it into 3. That meant that I had no extra cake for the decoration.

That wasn't such a big deal. The larger problem with using lesser flour than specified meant that the cake baked up fudgy and underbaked, no matter how long I baked it for, like a brownie yet not quite. It looks as dense as a brownie but it's actually spongier and lighter. It also has a mushy texture which may or may not be a bad thing. Reminds me of this chocolate cake I made before. Together with the pudding though, this cake had a really monotonous texture. I was wishing for a layer of oreo cookie crust halfway through my slice of cake.

The pudding was nice though. I did cut down the sugar a bit and it was bittersweet and rich. I had a bit leftover so I kept it in a separate small bowl and once I dug into it I couldn't stop. Pudding is a little difficult to frost with because of its stodgy consistency but I feel that it is a great alternative to traditional butter-laden frostings. Pudding also does not have that grainy texture that is so hard to get rid of in frostings that contain icing sugar, which means most frostings. Having said that, there is a melt in your mouth texture that only butter-based frostings have. The only type of frosting I've come across so far that combines the best of both worlds is the boiled milk frosting. I love it.

Chocolate Blackout Cake
makes an 8 inch cake
adapted from America's Test Kitchen

For the pudding, I reduced the sugar to 1 cup and replaced the half-and-half with whole milk. It is still plenty rich.

For the chocolate pudding:
1 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 tsp salt
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup whole milk
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 tsp vanilla extract

For the cake:
1 stick butter
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup coffee
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the pudding: Whisk the sugar, cornstarch, salt, half-and-half and whole milk in a large saucepan. Set on medium heat. Add the chocolate and whisk constantly until it melts and mixture begins to bubble. Stir in the vanilla and transfer the pudding into a large bowl. Place plastic wrap on the surface of the pudding and refrigerate until cold. The pudding is best made the day before.

For the cake: Preheat oven to 325F. Prepare 2 8 inch cake pans.

Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.

Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the cocoa powder and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Off the heat, whisk in coffee, buttermilk and sugars until dissolved. Whisk in eggs and vanilla, then slowly whisk in the flour mixture.

Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake until toothpick in center comes out mostly clean, 30 to 45 minutes. Cool cake layers completely.

To assemble the cake: Slice each cake layer into half horizontally. Crush one layer into medium crumbs and set aside. Fill and frost the remaining three layers of cake. Press cake crumbs into the sides of the cake and on the top of the cake.


  1. Even with the mistake, this cake looks delicious and gorgeous! Yum! Stunning photography as well.

  2. Want want want want want want want.

  3. Would you recommend making the cake with your "mistake" of less flour? It looks delicious the way it is!

    1. I wouldn't because the mushy texture gets to me after a while. Plus, it results in a shorter cake. To recreate the dense texture, I suggest you could try using a chewy brownie recipe, not a fudgy one as that would be too rich and heavy:)

  4. Hi, what chocolate brand do you recommend? I've been using van houten's cocoa powder & isnt that chocolate-y...

    1. Hi! I use Hershey's and sometimes Valrhona :)

  5. Hi, love the recipe! Hoping you can help, we don't have half half in Australia, can this be substituted with cream? Many thanks, :)

    1. Hello! If you don't have half-and-half you can easily substitute with a mixture of cream and milk! You should find this guide useful: http://www.thekitchn.com/4-easy-ways-to-make-your-own-halfandhalf-substitute-tips-from-the-kitchn-216621

    2. Thanks so much!

    3. Thanks so much!

  6. Can you convert recipe into grams because i try on google but every where you different numbers. So please can you do for me Amanda.