I know that we all probably have Thanksgiving on the brain right now but chocolate cake was calling to me and who I am to turn down cake? :)
This cake is definitely not for the faint of heart. It's full of chocolate punch with a moist cake, semi-sweet chocolate ganache filling and dark chocolate ganache frosting. It will definitely cure your chocolate craving and a little goes a long way.
For the cake: 2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tbsp. cornstarch
¾ cup cocoa powder (any variety: dark, regular, Dutch-process, etc.)
2 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. espresso powder
½ tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
4 large eggs
¾ cup vegetable or canola oil
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups water
For the semi-sweet ganache filling:12 oz. semisweet chocolate
6 ounces heavy cream
1 tbsp. vanilla extract (or other flavoring agent of choice)
For the dark chocolate ganache frosting:8 oz. dark chocolate
2-4 oz. heavy cream
To make the cakes:1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and lightly grease and flour three 8" round cake pans.
2. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, briefly combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch, cocoa powder, baking powder, espresso powder, baking soda, and salt.
3. Add in the eggs, oil, and vanilla, carefully beating until smooth. Scrape down the sides as necessary. Gradually add the water, beating just until smooth. Divide the batter between the prepared pans.
4. Bake the cakes for 27-32 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Remove cake pans to a cooling rack and cool in pans for 15 minutes. Turn cakes out onto cooling rack to cool completely.
To make the filling: 1. While the cakes are baking, combine the semi-sweet chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the cream is very hot and the chocolate begins to melt, working in 30-45 second intervals. Add in the vanilla extract and stir to melt the chocolate completely. Set aside to cool.
Note: Allowing the ganache to cool will make it easier to spread onto the cakes without overflow.
To make the frosting: 1. Combine the dark chocolate and 2 ounces of the cream in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the cream is hot and the chocolate is soft. Stir to melt the chocolate completely. Add more cream if it is too thick to pour and spread, reheating as necessary. Let cool just slightly.
To assemble the cake: 1. Level each cake so that the tops are flat. Place the first cake layer on a cake stand and top with half of the semi-sweet ganache filling, spreading to cover the cake but leaving a 1-inch border along the edge. Top with the second layer and the remaining ganache. Top with the third layer. Press down on the cakes gently. Note: If your cake is wobbly, place wooden or metal skewers into it to hold it together while you frost with the dark chocolate ganache.
2. Pour the dark chocolate frosting over the top of the cake and spread it down the sides carefully.
3. Carefully cover the cake with a dome and allow to rest until the ganache is set, several hours or overnight.
slightly adapted from King Arthur Flour