The Chocolate Cake

It is birthday time again.

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Cake isn’t my favorite dessert because it sometimes turns out kind of dry, but this recipe always provokes a reaction, one along the lines of “this is the  best chocolate cake ever!”  It’s hard to resist making something that everyone so openly loves.  So I’m done searching for the perfect chocolate cake recipe.  I’ve found it.

Here is the link on Epicurious:

Double Chocolate Layer Cake

The easiest thing about a yummy chocolate cake is that it works for any celebration.  Birthdays, baby showers, work colleagues and friends.  Blue and silver make a nice compliment to little giraffes standing in chocolate puddles!

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The layers can be split into as few as two layers and as many as four, and once I made a half recipe in a loaf pan, split into three layers and filled with sweet marscapone and chocolate chips.

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Cupcakes turn out great too!  For the boys’ fifth birthday, it arrived Seattle-style with a ferry boat on top.

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In Africa, where it was hard to find dark chocolate, I spent weeks hoarding Cadbury Bournville bars for the ganache.   I learned that if you’re short on chocolate, Nutella makes a lovely frosting to spread between the layers.

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This cake also hosted a group of bears playing at the beach!

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For one birthday, it was a Star Wars cake.

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The nice thing about this recipe is that it’s big and serves a lot of people.  If you don’t want a huge cake, it’s easy to cut it in half and bake it in either a loaf pan or two 7 inch pans.  It still comes out perfectly without tweaking anything, other than to cut all the ingredients in half.  The only down side was that I had to buy an additional set of 7 inch pans for my collection.  What other recipe uses 7 inch pans?  What do I do with all these pans!!

A few years ago before I had the 7-inch set, the boys wanted a Christmas Cake.  So I made a half-recipe in 6 inch pans with a mini bundt on top.  Jake and Eli always ask me to make tiered cakes, “with three layers, like a wedding cake!”  They don’t understand that the reason wedding cakes exist is so they can feed 100 people!  They were happy with this one though, and a half recipe was perfect for this little Christmas cake too.

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There is no magic other than following the recipe, just like it’s written.  The quality of cream and chocolate matters for the ganache, so I try to avoid chocolate chips and only use real, thick cream.   The little bit of corn syrup isn’t absolutely necessary but it’s what makes it come out shiny.  Once I couldn’t find heavy cream and had to use butter instead, but that also turned out fine.  It’s really pretty simple, like with any baking, you just have to enjoy it and take your time.

I like seeing how my kids eat cake.  Eli (on the left) prefers the cake, while Jake (on the right) goes straight for the frosting.

What a perfect little team.

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What a joyful cake!

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