The Giant, Enormous, Mega Chocolate Cake


Yesterday was my husband’s birthday. He was flying cross country and from the airport, he said he really wanted a chocolate cake. Christine very helpfully happened to email me several chocolate cake recipes while I was standing in the grocery store, and when I phoned her, she advised me on what kind of chocolate to buy.

The recipe (below the break) was for a double-layer cake but with ten inch pans. We only had nine inch pans, so it turned into a triple layer cake. He also said he wanted chocolate frosting, not whipped cream (which I think would have tasted a lot better) so we used (don’t kill me!) canned frosting because we were late on time, the girls were on their own, and I had to rush to the airport to pick him up.

The photo shoot cracked me up because all I could think of were Christine’s gorgeously composed photos with beautiful lighting, plating, backgrounds. And Connie’s impeccably gourmet ingredients.

I did say that I was the low-brow, downhome member of this blog! So here are the results. I have to say that it was delicious and crazy and over the top. The cake looked like a cartoon cake, or like the cake at Minnie Mouse’s house in Toontown at Disneyland. It was a surreal, enormous, wild cake. We all pigged out and were very happy.



This old-fashioned chocolate cake made our staff swoon! Chef Ed Kasky uses Callebaut semisweet chocolate for the cake and Guittard French-vanilla chocolate for the frosting, but any fine-quality semisweet chocolate will produce a wonderful result in either.

For cake layers
3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla

For ganache frosting
1 pound fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter

Special equipment
two 10- by 2-inch round cake pans

Make cake layers:

Preheat oven to 300°F. and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.

Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well. Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.
Make frosting:
Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.

Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency).

Spread frosting between cake layers and over top and sides. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.

Serves 12 to 14.
March 1999

2 responses to “The Giant, Enormous, Mega Chocolate Cake

  1. Looks nice!!!

  2. I made this cake for a friend’s birthday at work. It was a HUGE hit! so very moist (I might have under-baked the layers a bit) and rich chocolatey. heaven. Love, love this recipe! I also had to make three 9 inch layers…and saved one layer for myself!

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