A better cake

Birthday Cake and Cheesecake Ice Cream

I think I may have found a better cake. A better cake than what, you ask? A better cake than the chocolate cake recipe that I’ve used for the past four years. Before I wrote over here, I wrote on another blog, and this was one of the few recipes that I posted there. It’s also the cake that Rachel refers to as “THE CAKE,” which one could either read as “the cake to end all cakes,” or as “the cake that causes me much trouble each year.” That cake–the Joy of Cooking’s Devil’s Food Cake Cockaigne–is as delicious as it is time consuming.

Frankly, I’m not a chocolate person. Before I met Andrew, I rarely ate candy bars, never ate chocolate doughnuts, and was the first to gobble up the jellybeans at Easter. There are a small handful of things involving chocolate that I will indulge in now and again, such as chocolate covered pretzels, handmade peanut butter cups, and chocolate-orange ice cream. But for me, chocolate is meant to go with things, and in small amounts, to balance the salty, the nutty, the tart flavours of a something.

Andrew loves chocolate the same way that I love cheese. He could, would, and sometimes does have it in all three meals. So of course, at his birthday, I indulge him in that. (For the record, I think I’m going to ask for someone to make this tart with Marscapone cheese and blackberries for my birthday.)

This cake is a very serious cake. Do you see the 1491 reviews on Epicurious? People talk about this cake, apparently. It is three layers of dark chocolate cake–the dark chocolate emphasized by espresso–with thick chocolate ganache frosting spread between the layers. I followed the recipe to the T, but I baked it in 2 9-inch pans, filled 2/3 of the way full, rather than 2 deep 10-inch pans. Watch your cooking time and you will be fine. (It was about 45 minutes rather than the hour the recipe requires for the larger cakes.) The rest of the batter made for a loaf that will be turned into cake pops.

A cake this serious requires a far less serous ice cream. Cheesecake ice cream, based on Christina Tosi’s Momofuku Milk Bar recipe. I tried making a blueberry cheesecake ice cream to go with my sister-in-law’s cake, but it wasn’t really up to snuff. It was frostier, icier in texture, and it lacked the tang of cheesecake. Christina Tosi knows what she’s doing.

2 thoughts on “A better cake

  1. I actually love this cake. And chocolate isn’t even my thing. I’ve never made it with the ganache (worried about choc overload) but it’s so good that I’ll even eat it plain. Shocking.

    I tried to sneak it in to replace THE CAKE two years ago (still using the JoC fudge frosting), wondering if my mom would notice. She did. I went back to the old one, because it is her birthday, after all.

    • I entirely agree with you about this cake being really good, especially for people who don’t like chocolate. My chocolate-loving husband is very grateful that such cakes exist.

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