Devil’s Food Chocolate Cake

INGREDIENTS:
makes two 8″ round layers or one 8 x 13″ rectangle

  • 1 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1/4 cup black cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup hot coffee or espresso
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/3 cups AP flour
  • 1 tspn baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 Tbspn butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tspn vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 165 degrees C. Grease and flour the cake pan(s), line the bottoms with parchment paper and flour again.
  2. Place the chopped dark chocolate and cocoa powders in a bowl. Pour the hot coffee over the chocolate and whisk to combine. Add milk and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  4. Cream the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly between each addition. Mix in the vanilla extract.
  5. Add the dry and wet ingredients to the butter mixture in three stages, alternating dry with wet ingredients. Combine thoroughly but do not overmix.
  6. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan(s) and bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out cleanly. Remove and let the cake cool on a wire rack.
  7. Serve with vanilla ice cream, and pour hot espresso over the ice cream and cake.
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Backyard Apple and Walnut Cake

INGREDIENTS:
makes one 9 x 3″ round cake

  • 975 g (~9 – 10) small apples
  • 2 1/2 cups (300 g) whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1 tspn salt
  • 1 tspn baking powder
  • 1/4 tspn ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup + 5 Tbspn (297 g) butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 90 g walnuts, coarsely chopped

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven to 180 degrees C. Grease and flour the insides and bottom of a 9 x 3-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom with a parchment paper round. Wrap the outside of the pan with bake even strips (see note).
  2. Using a mandolin, very thinly slice two of the apples. Arrange the slices on the parchment paper at the bottom of the cake pan, starting from the inside and working outwards.
  3. Finely grate the remainder of the apples, resulting in about 600 g of grated apple. Set aside.
  4. In a bowl, whisk to combine the whole wheat pastry flour, salt, baking powder, and ground cinnamon. Set aside.
  5. In a separate bowl, combine the butter and brown sugar. Beat on medium until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Add in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the grated apple until combined. Add the flour mixture in two parts, alternating with the buttermilk. Beat briefly until combined, but do not overmix. Fold in the chopped walnuts.
  6. Carefully pour the batter into the prepared cake pan. Use the back of a spatula to gently press the batter into the apple slices on the bottom and to smooth out the top. Tap the bottom of the pan gently on a counter to release any air bubbles.
  7. Bake the cake for about 1 hour and 5 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes. The cake is done when the top is golden brown and just beginning to pull away from the edges, and when a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out cleanly. Remove the cake from the oven and transfer to a wire rack. Let cool for 15 minutes, until the pan is cool enough to touch. Run a sharp, thin knife along the inside edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Invert the cake onto a plate, remove the pan and parchment round. Let cool completely.

Note regarding bake even strips: Normally, I’d say that bake even strips were optional, but because this cake will be flipped on its head, a flat top is preferable. If you don’t have bake-even strips, try using a 9 x 3-inch springform and trimming the top before flipping the cake over.

Note regarding peeling apples: For the sliced apples on top of the cake, I prefer to leave the skins on so that there are borders to the design on top of the cake. Just make sure to use a mandolin to make very thin slices so that the peels don’t get chewy. For the grated apples inside the cake, I left the peels on because the apples are finely grated and a teeny bit of peel doesn’t bother me much. If you’d like a smoother texture, you can peel these apples first before grating them.

Chocolate Cake

INGREDIENTS:

  • 300g good quality dark chocolate (Valrhona is best)
  • 175g butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 5 eggs, separated
  • 80g sifted plain flour
  • 40ml Grand Marnier
  • 40ml Whisky or Brandy (feel free to substitute the 80ml of alcohol with whatever you wish. Replace with milk if serving to children)
  • pinch of cream of tartar

Ganache

  • 300ml pure cream
  • 200g good quality dark chocolate, coarsely chopped

METHOD:

  1. Grease and line an 18-20cm diameter springform cake pan. Grease the base of the lining. Preheat oven to 160°C.
  2. Melt 300gm chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of slow simmering water and set aside.
  3. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar for 5 minutes until pale and creamy. While continuously mixing, add egg yolks, one at a time, beating briefly after each addition to incorporate.
  4. With a wooden spoon, mix in the flour, add the alcohol/milk and half the melted chocolate. Beat until half mixed then fold in the remaining chocolate.
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk eggwhites with cream of tartar until soft peaks. Fold a third of eggwhites through chocolate mixture to loosen mixture, then fold through remaining eggwhite taking care not to overwork.
  6. Spoon mixture into cake pan and bake in centre of oven for 55 mins to an hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Cool completely in the cake pan on wire rack, then remove the sides and invert onto a cake platter.
  7. For ganache, bring cream just to the boil in a saucepan. Remove from heat, add chocolate, stand for 5 minutes until chocolate melts, then stir until glossy and smooth.
  8. Transfer to a bowl or container and cover the surface with clingwrap to prevent a skin forming. Stand for 1 hour at room temperature to cool then refrigerate for 45 minutes or until firm yet still pliable.
  9. Remove ganache from refrigerator and stir until smooth. Coat sides and top of cake evenly with ganache.
  10. Cake can be stored in the refrigerator, however bring to room temperature before serving.