My husband still talks about this cake. I made it years ago for a friend's surprise birthday party before my husband and I were dating. He was at the party and remembers me, and remembers the cake. I remember the cake.
Ever since that time, through our dating and several years of marriage, my husband has periodically mentioned this cake:
"Remember that really rich chocolate cake you made for Becky's birthday party before we were dating? Do you still have the recipe for that?"
or, "You know that cake, the one with the crumbs on the outside? It was really good."
or, "You can make me that chocolate pudding crumb cake any time."
It's sad with how many hints he's dropped that I'm only just now making the poor man his cake again. I decided to make it a surprise Valentine's Day treat, and worked on it in stages after work while he was at an evening class. I had a great partner in crime:
She a great cooking buddy. Give her a whisk and silicone hot pad and she's in chewing heaven. Throw in some Disney tunes and a crazy mama dancing around to "Hakuna Matata" like a weirdo and she's giggling and laughing like she's watching the coolest thing she's ever seen. I don't know how I ever cooked without such an adoring audience.
The surprise cake (which turned out to be not such a surprise since I hadn't factored in the intense chocolate smell from baking) was just as good as my husband and I remembered. It's a rich chocolate pudding in layer after layer of chocolate cake. The cake is the easiest from-scratch cake I've made. It's not fussy, doesn't require melted chocolate or special flours and still ends up perfectly fluffy and flat. The unusual crumb coating on the outside makes it impressive looking but also hides a multitude of frosting errors if you are prone to making them like I am. If you have a chocolate lover in your life (especially if it is you) you should definitely add this cake to your recipe collection.
Chocolate Blackout CakePublished 02/18/2013
For the Pudding:
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups half-and-half
- 1 cup milk
- 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
For the Cake:
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-processed)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- For the pudding: Whisk the granulated sugar, cornstarch, salt, half-and-half and milk in a large saucepan. Set the pan over medium heat. Add the chocolate and whisk constantly until the chocolate melts and the mixture begins to bubble. (It will go from grainy looking to smooth and chocolaty.) Stir in the vanilla and transfer the pudding to a large bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours or up to a day.
- For the cake: Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour 2 8-inch cake pans. Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
- Melt the 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 the water, buttermilk, and sugars until dissolved. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla, then slowly whisk in the flour mixture.
- Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool layers in pans 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack. Cool to room temperature, at least 1 hour.
- To assemble the cake: Cut each cake in half horizontally. Crumble one cake layer into medium crumbs and set aside. Place one cake layer on serving platter or cardboard round. Spread 1 cup pudding over cake layer and top with another layer. Repeat with 1 cup pudding and last cake layer. Spread remaining pudding evenly over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle cake crumbs evenly over top and sides of cake, pressing lightly to adhere crumbs. Serve. (Cake can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)
Prep Time: 30 min
Cook time: 45 min plus 4+ hours cooling time
Recipe Source: adapted slightly from America's Best Lost Recipes