I love a good, rich, melt in your mouth, dark chocolate cake, especially on my birthday. This post is the transition between my birthday, September 30, and the start of Halloween Season, October 1.
September is birthday month, and there are so many birthday cakes and parties at our house that the crepe paper, banners and party hats stay out in view as one birthday melts into the next. I bake all the cakes from scratch, which is always fun and nerve wracking at the same time.
By the time my birthday rolls around on the last day of birthday month, I just want a burger, fries and chocolate cake, my yearly splurge into the dark side. I won’t allow a single Halloween decoration to show up until the day after my birthday because no witch, ghost or goblin is stealing the show. But, on October 1, the boxes come down and the Autumn colors, pumpkins, spiders and fun begins.
I did not make this cake, but it was made in my kitchen by Mr. Spinach Tiger. He was so determined for me to have a cake from scratch that I didn’t have to make.
He did a great job with the baking part with the help of our friend, Kristina, who can always be counted on to give us a good recipe. If you read my last post, you now how much I love my friends who give me their signature recipes. One year she gave us this carrot cake for his birthday, and the search for carrot cake stops there. Kristina takes her cooking and baking quite seriously and she will research a recipe looking for what she considers the “best of.” She has come up with ten signature recipes and I’m knocking down her door to get all ten of them. One down, nine to go.
“Aren’t all chocolate cakes the same”, you might ask? No. Some are lifeless. Some are dry. Some don’t rise. Some are almost there, but not quite there because they don’t have enough chocolate flavor. Some are too heavy, some too light. Texture and flavor are key, and this cake has that perfect texture and does what a chocolate cake should do. But be forewarned, it’s a very unique recipe, as there is both butter and oil, and there is some cooking on top of the stove.
We opted for a ganache topping (my favorite) as super sweet frosting ruins the depth of a good chocolate cake. Using ganache offsets the sweetness and allows the true chocolate experience to shine.
As far as ganache, you will find variations that use corn syrup, but I prefer a very simple cream and chocolate with a touch of good vanilla.
So, tell me how do you like your chocolate cake? I like just like this with a little ice cream or a glass of full-bodied red wine, depending if I want to be a kid or a grown up.
- 2 cups flour
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 2 eggs
- ½ cups unsalted butter
- ½ cup oil
- 1 cup water
- 4 tablespoons cocoa (we used Hershey's special dark)
- shot of espresso (optional)
- GANACHE FROSTING (Use the next three ingredients)
- 12 ounces bittersweet chocolate
- 8 ounces heavy cream
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350.
- Mix flour and sugar in bowl. Set aside.
- Mix salt, baking soda, vanilla and buttermilk, eggs in bowl. Set aside.
- Boil together in sauce pan, butter, oil and cocoa and water.
- Add chocolate mixture to flour and sugar. Stir.
- Add in remaining wet ingredients. Mix.
- Bake at 350 degrees in 9 x 13 pan for 25 to 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
- GANACHE FROSTING (Instructions below)
- Chop chocolate into small pieces.
- Bring heavy cream to boil.
- Pour over chocolate. Let it sit unstirred for five minutes.
- Stir, staring in center and remain in center. I like to use a honey dipper for this but you can use a mini-whisk. Just stay in center, keep stirring, until all chocolate is incorporated into cream.
- Stir in vanilla and cool.