Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chocolate Blackout Cake ~ 11.15.11

Right, so if you haven't figured this out yet, we LOVE chocolate around here. So, when "birthday season" rolls around, it is usually the most requested kind of cake.

Thankfully, there are so many different KINDS of chocolate cake one can make! I happened upon this lovely recipe last week and decided to try it for my 7 year old's birthday. It's not a quick cake and there are a few steps to get right and all, but it was worth it and birthdays only come once a year, so we should make them special!

The recipe comes from America's Best Lost Recipes, from the editors of Cook's Country Magazine. Chocolate Blackout Cake was a forerunner to Death by Chocolate confections and came from a bakery in Brooklyn, NY called Ebinger's. It has decadent layers of fudgy, chocolate cake held together by a rich, creamy pudding that couples as a frosting! Chocolate Blackout Cake was developed during World War II and is so named after the blackout drills performed by the Civilian Defense Corps.A Blackout was performed so ships when sailing off to battle could not be spotted by enemy planes. City lights were turned off and windows were covered with black material. They had drills like fire drills to practice for the real thing. The cake derived its name from it's intensely dark appearance and some say, the crumbled cake crumbs on top are reminiscent of aciety skyline.

Though Ebinger's never published their recipe, the bakers at Cook's Country tested and streamlined this version that I know you chocolate lovers out there will thoroughly enjoy!

Chocolate Blackout Cake
from America's Best Lost Recipes

1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup whole milk
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate , chopped
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

8 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 stick), plus extra for greasing pans
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour , plus extra for dusting pans
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon table salt
3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I used Hershey's)
1 cup strong black coffee, room temperature
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 

1. For the Pudding: Whisk sugar, cornstarch, salt, half-and-half, and milk in large saucepan. Set pan over medium heat. Add chocolate and whisk constantly until chocolate melts and mixture begins to bubble, 2 to 4 minutes. (It should have a pudding consistency- mine took MUCH longer than 2-4 minutes and this step is crucial to your pudding being pudding, so make sure that milk is warm enough and you keep stirring until it thickens and the chocolate melts.) Stir in vanilla and transfer frosting to large bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of pudding and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours or up to 1 day.

2. For the cake layers: Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl, set aside. ( I realized I only had 9-inch cake pans and I used what I had, but 8-inch would be preferable here)

3. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in cocoa and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Off heat, whisk in coffee, buttermilk, and sugars until dissolved. Whisk in eggs and vanilla until combined, then slowly whisk in flour mixture.

4. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25 to 35 minutes. Cool layers in pans 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack. Cool to room temperature, at least 1 hour.

5. To assemble the cake: Cut each cake in half horizontally. Pick the least ‘good-looking’ cake layer and crumble into medium crumbs and set aside. Place one cake layer on serving platter (I put down waxed paper first in strips so that my cake platter would be "clean" after the crumbles were added) or cardboard round. Spread 1 cup pudding over cake layer and top with another layer. Repeat with 1 cup pudding and the last cake layer. Spread remaining pudding evenly over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle cake crumbs evenly on the side of cake, pressing lightly to adhere crumbs. Serve. (Cake can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.)

alternatively, you could just keep the crumbled cake part on the sides and leave the top a smooth pudding layer to write a message!


  1. I have to make this cake. today. it looks so good! yum!

  2. Just happened on your blog . . . this cake looks amazing, and I love its name : )
    ~ Marica

  3. Nice post! Thanks for sharing... blessings...

  4. sounds a lot like the Hershey Black Magic cake...

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Wow grew up in NY and grew up eating and loving this cake! I live in NC now and no one has any idea what this is, so glad I found your recipe, it looks wonderful can't wait to make it.