The Speakeasy cake, the recipe for Sweet Melissa Sundays this week, was chosen by Jeannette of The Whimsical Cupcake. According to the Sweet Melissa Cookbook, Melissa "snuck a lot of booze into this cake!" I knew I was making this cake for a family dinner where we have a pregnant family member so I decided to un-booze this Speakeasy... so I guess it really shouldn't be called a Speakeasy at all, huh? Whatever you want to call this cake, it turned out absolutely amazing. Probably one of my favorite cake recipes I've prepared to date. It's very unique, not your every day cake - and I mean that in a very good way.
Instead of using brandy in the cake as the original recipe calls for I subbed water with a bit of vanilla extract mixed in. I omitted the Cinnamon since I knew I was planning a Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting (gasp... amazing!) which I wasn't sure would go too well with the cinnamon. Rather than prepare the chocolate glaze that accompanies this recipe, I used a Semi-Sweet chocolate ganache I had in the freezer.
I baked this cake in a 9x2 round pan instead of an 8x2 inch round pan simply because I don't have an 8x2 round... but I must have whipped my egg whites too much because despite using a larger cake pan and filling it up quite high I still had enough batter for 5 cupcakes. Oh well, more cake for us! Plus, the cupcakes let us sample it before bringing the cake to dinner... I always do that with new cake recipes... just to make sure nothing went horrible, un-tastily wrong of course :)
I'm posting my version of this recipe because I made it quite differently. But for the original Sweet Melissa version of the recipe, visit Jeannette of The Whimsical Cupcake!
Speakeasy (the Ice Cream Before Dinner way) or...
Chocolate Cake with Semi-Sweet Chocolate Ganache and Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting
For the cake:
3 ounces dark chocolate (I used Callebaut 51.8%)
3 ounces milk chocolate
2/3 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 large eggs, room temp
1 1/3 cup sugar
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
Lightly grease a 9x2 inch round pan and line with a 9 inch parchment round. Then, lightly grease the parchment round. Preheat the oven to 350.
In the top of a double boiler, combine the chocolates and the butter. Whisk until smooth. Then, whisk in the water and vanilla. Set aside to cool.
While the chocolate is cooling, separate the eggs. Place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer set with the whisk attachment and place the yolks in a large mixing bowl.
In the bowl with the egg whites, make a meringue by whipping the egg whites until foamy. In a slow steady stream, add the remaining sugar. Whip until the whites hold stiff but not dry peaks. Mine reminded me of a Marshmallow Fluff consistency. While the egg whites are being whipped, prepare the yolk mixture.
Add half of the sugar to the bowl with the yolks and whisk until thick and lighter yellow. Add the chocolate mixture to the yolks and whisk to combine. Sift the flour and salt over the chocolate batter and stir to combine.
Briefly stir one-third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten the batter. Then gently fold the remaining egg white meringue into the batter until no streaks remain.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and spin to level the batter. If you have any extra batter, pour it into cupcake liners until about 2/3 full.
Bake around 70 minutes (or 30 - 35 for the cupcakes) or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Try not to test the batter with a cake tester or skewer too early or you might deflate your batter! Remove pan to a wire rack to cool for at least 10 - 25 minutes before removing from the cake pan. You may need to run a knife around the edge of the cake to loosen it before removing from the cake pan.
Did anyone else get a foamy crust on it? Most of mine broke off so I picked the rest off so it would be even.
For the ganache:
I used half of what I prepared for this recipe. This is the full recipe so it will make much more than you need to top this cake. But it freezes well if vacuum sealed so you can make the full recipe and save the rest for future use!
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1-1/8 cup heavy whipping cream
Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Bring the heavy cream just to a boil in a heavy medium saucepan. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand 1 minute. Then stir until the ganache is smooth.
For the Salted Caramel Buttercream Frosting adapted from Sprinkle Bakes:
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 cups powdered sugar
First, prepare the caramel. In a saucepan, stir together the granulated sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and cook without stirring until it turns a deep amber color. Remove from heat and slowly pour in the cream and vanilla. Stirring until smooth. Let the caramel cool for about 30 minutes.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy. Add in the salt and beat. Reduce the speed to low and add in the powdered sugar. Mix until thoroughly combined.
With the mixer on low, pour in the cooled caramel. Beat on medium high speed until light and airy.
Almost amber enough!
Homemade caramel... yum.
To assemble the cake:
Crumb coat the SIDES of the cake and about 1/2 inch border on the top edge of the cake only with the Salted Caramel Buttercream. Place the cake in the refrigerator to set the crumb boat. Then, remove the cake from the fridge and add more Buttercream so no crumbs so through. Spread ganache to taste on the top of the cake. If your ganache is too runny, put it in the fridge for a few minutes to firm it up slightly. Then put the cake back in the fridge to set the ganache before piping on top of the cake.
Put the Buttercream in a piping bag and pipe frosting on to the top edge of the cake - creating a border of about 2-1/2 to 3 inches in. Then, using a spoon and liquidy ganache (re-heat if necessary to make it runny and liquidy) drizzle chocolate over the top of the cake.
Frosting after the crumb coat
And cupcakes for sampling!
Ok, so I kind of took it in a different direction from the Speakeasy that Melissa made... but we loved it just the same! Thanks for hosting Jeannette and picking this winning chocolate cake recipe! Be sure to see Jeannette's blog for the recipe and visit the participating SMS bakers blogs to see what an ACTUAL Speakeasy should look like. :)