|Ebinger's Chocolate Blackout Cake made in my kitchen. I know I'm gonna have to put a better picture than this the next time I make this.|
Choosing the type of cake was a no brainer: chocolate cake, why what else would it be? I narrowed my choice to the Chocolate Blackout Cake from Cook’s Country (Season 1 Episode 1: Forgotten Cakes). I went with the Chocolate Blackout Cake from Cook’s Country, a spinoff of America's Test Kitchen, simply because the recipe didn’t look too complicated and you didn’t even need to have a mixer! The recipe is actually adapted from my Cook's Country Blue Ribbon Desserts cookbook.
Here’s a little history lesson for you. Apparently, the Blackout Cake originated in a bakery called Ebinger’s in New York (specifically Brooklyn). The difference between a chocolate blackout cake and a regular chocolate cake is that the blackout cake is characterized by the pudding used as the frosting and the crumbled bits of cake as a topping which creates the "blackout" part of the cake. The cake was named after the night time blackouts that were used to hide targets of interest and whole cities from enemy aircraft during WWII. The Blackout Cake was a favorite among locals and was Ebinger’s signature item. Despite its strong following in the New York metropolitan area, Ebinger’s closed its door in 1972, and with it the Blackout Cake met a similar demise - until now!
|The crumbled topping and layers of the chocolate blackout cake|
When I first made this cake, I wasn’t entirely happy with it. I don’t know why, but I just wasn’t satisfied even though I hadn’t tasted it yet. I figured people wouldn’t like it either. After I tried a slice of it, I just thought it was ok. I wasn’t going to throw it out even if people didn’t touch my cake because I tend to get hungry at night anyway, so it’d be a great midnight snack with a glass of milk. Boy was I wrong - people loved my cake! Some of my sisters even took whole portions of the leftover cake home. I even found myself going to the refrigerator to get some leftover cake not because it needed to be eaten, but because I naturally wanted to have cake. When you cut a slice out of it, it looks deceivingly way too chocolate-y, but it really wasn’t. It was quite moist and light and not too sweet unlike the boxed cake mixes and store-bought frosting you would get from the grocery store. It isn't overwhelmingly rich that you need a tall glass of whole milk to drink with a slice of cake. At the end of the day though, it was a good cake that I know I'll be making for future birthdays and social gatherings. It would truly make a good birthday cake for anyone celebrating their birthday.
Ebinger's Chocolate Blackout Cake RecipeCook's Country - season 1 episode 1, Forgotten Cakes
Makes 1 cake
- 2 tsp of vanilla extract [2 tsp seemed too much so I only used about 1.75 tsp of vanilla]
- 1 cup of whole milk
- 1/4 cup of cornstarch
- 1 1/4 cups of granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 6 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, chopped [I recommend Ghirdelli unsweetened chocolate]
- 2 cups of half-and-half
- 1/2 tsp of baking soda
- 1/2 tsp of salt
- 8 tbsp (1 stick) of unsalted butter plus another 2 tbsp to grease both pans
- 2 tsp of baking powder
- 1 cup of buttermilk, room temperature
- 1 cup of granulated sugar
- 1 tsp of vanilla extract
- 1 cup of strong brewed coffee, room temperature
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 3/4 cup of Dutch-processed cocoa powder [don't go cheap, make sure to get Dutch-processed and not Natural cocoa powder. I recommend E. Guittard Dutch-processed cocoa powder]
- 1 cup of packed light brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour (plus more for dusting)
InstructionsFOR THE PUDDING
1. Whisk the granulated sugar, cornstarch and salt together in a medium saucepan and slowly whisk in the half-and-half and milk.
2. Over medium heat stir in the chocolate and cook, stirring constantly, until melted and smooth. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture thickens, 2 to 3 minutes [took me about 5-7 mins].
3. Off the heat, stir in the vanilla. Transfer the pudding to a large bowl and press wax or parchment paper directly on the surface. Refrigerate the pudding until cold, about 4 hours.
FOR THE CAKE:
4. Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 325 degrees. Grease two 8-inch [I used 9-inch pans because that's what I had] cake pans with the 2 tbsp of butter, then dust with flour and line the bottoms with parchment paper. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.
5. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in 3/4 cup of the cocoa and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.
6. Off the heat, whisk in the coffee, buttermilk and sugars until dissolved. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla, then slowly whisk in the flour mixture until no streaks remain.
7. Give the batter a final stir with a rubber spatula to make sure it is thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and gently tap the pans on the counter to settle the batter. Bake the cakes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes [30-31 mins was perfect for me], rotating the pans halfway through baking.
8. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 10 minutes. Run a small knife around the edge of the cakes, then flip them out onto a wire rack. Peel off the parchment paper, flip the cakes right side up, and let cool completely before filling and frosting, about 2 hours.
9. Line the edges of a cake platter with strips of parchment paper to keep the platter clean while you assemble the cake. Slice each cake into two even layers using a long serrated knife. Crumble one of the cake layers into medium-sized crumbs [as noted above in the notes section, I excluded the crumble topping and kept it as a 4th layer inside the frosting].
10. Place one of the cake layers on the platter. Spread 1 cup of the pudding over the cake right to the edges. Top with a second cake layer and spread with another 1 cup of pudding. Place the remaining cake layer on top and press lightly to adhere. Frost the cake with the remaining pudding. Sprinkle the cake crumbs evenly over the top and press them onto the sides of the cake. Remove the parchment strips from the platter before serving.
|Video: Bridget Lancaster from Cook's Country shows Chris Kimball how to make Ebinger's Chocolate Blackout Cake (part 1 of 2)|
|Chris Kimball tells the Today Show's Al Roker all about the Blackout Cake (part 2 of 2)|