I spent a good while after moving to DC without having a close female friend in the city (I’m sure part of my problem was that I moved here with my boyfriend, so we tended to just hang out with each other rather than trying to make new friends). My best friend from high school is all the way across the country, and my college friends are scattered between California, Seattle, and Boston. But luckily, about a year after I started working there, the firm I was at hired a particularly awesome girl and we quickly realized we had a lot of things in common (including our love of Liz Lemon and food.) I now consider her one of my closest friends, and this weekend was her birthday! I hosted a party for her at my apartment and spent the day making her a cake. I had emailed her a list of cakes I wanted to try making and told her to pick one for her birthday. She couldn’t decide, so I made an executive decision to make this particular cake, which is a recipe from the new Bon Appetit Desserts Cookbook.
This is a decadent chocolate cake, with unsweetened cocoa powder, semi-sweet chocolate and buttermilk in the batter. It was also a full days worth of work to get it done in time for the party. I woke up and baked the three layers before lunch, took a few hours break, and came back to tackle the filling, frosting and assembly.
The filling is whipping cream mixed with unflavored gelatin, so when you fill the cake it has the consistency of whipped cream, but after a few hours in the fridge, it firms up nicely. I got that lovely platter at a thrift store down the street from me for a smart $4. Love it. Please ignore the crack in my second layer…I almost dropped it. That’s why we frost cakes. So no one has to know about those almost-disasters that occurred in the baking process.
I had a really hard time not shoving my face into that Mountain of Deliciousness piled on top of the second layer. I managed to contain myself and focus on spreading the filling evenly.
I love that the filling is the same thickness as the cake layers. At first I was worried the cake would just smoosh down and the filling would all get squeezed out the sides, but everything turned out just fine!
This is what I like to refer to as a boatload of chocolate. Sixteen ounces of semi-sweet chocolate went into the ganache. It was at this point I had to chase my roommate out of the kitchen. Turns out I am really gullible, and at one point she said “Hey! Look out the window!” and I totally fell for it, looked out the window, and when I turned back she had a spoonful of ganache in her mouth, that little sneak.
The first layer of ganache goes on! The recipe has you put on two layers of cold ganache, then heat the remaining until it is pourable, and pour it over the cake for a beautiful, glossy finish. To make it extra fancy, I cut out a paper “M,” put it on top of the cake, then sifted cocoa powder over it. When you carefully remove the stencil, you have a gorgeous, professional looking cake for your guests to Ooo and Ahh over.
Moist, rich, truly decadent, and well worth the hours spent in the kitchen.