Thursday, February 16, 2012

A Special Chocolate Cake

On February 13, 2012, it was the 10th anniversary of my mom's passing. It was a hard day. Harder then any other anniversary so far. It was just so hard to believe that a full decade had passed. Where did the time go? And why does it still feel like it was only yesterday that we lost her?
(For those of you that don't know, my mom was a Type-1 diabetic. She lost her life-long battle with the terrible disease at the young age of 50).

My sister and I decided to get together, along with our families, to have a big dinner to celebrate our mom's life. I made mom's favorite spaghetti with meat sauce, along with salad and garlic bread. Then for dessert I made her a special chocolate cake. How was the cake special you ask? Well, my mom loved to bake. She would make the best treats for us, but could never eat any of them, because of her diabetes. Throughout our childhood, mom would often joke to my sister and I that her one wish in life was be to bake herself the biggest, richest chocolate cake, and then eat the entire thing herself.

So, I decided to finally make her that rich, decedent, over-the-top, chocolate cake she always wanted. I believe this cake would have made her so very happy, even if she could have only had just one bite.  Please enjoy this recipe, in honor of my mom :)

Favorite Fudge Birthday Cake
(recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour)

For the cake:

2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 T cornstarch (I used more all-purpose flour)
3/4 cup dutch-process cocoa
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp espresso powder (optional, as a flavor enhancer, but I highly recommend using it)
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups water

For the filling:

12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 ounces heavy cream

For the icing:

8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped (about 1 cup)
4 ounces heavy cream


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray two 8 X 2 inch round cake pans with non-stick baking spray. If you do not have 8 inch cake pans that have 2 inch high walls, use 9 inch round pans instead.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sugar, flour, cornstarch, cocoa, baking powder, espresso powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well.

Add the eggs, oil, vanilla and water. Mix well until smooth.

Pour the batter evenly into each of the prepared pans. Bake the cakes for 35-38 minutes, or until a toothpick or cake tester, inserted in the middle, comes out clean.

Cool the cakes for at least 15 minutes in the pans before removing to wire racks to cool completely.

Once cool, use a long serrated knife to cut both of the cakes in half horizontally, resulting in 4 cake layers.

Next, make the filling. Heat the 6 ounces of heavy cream and 12 ounces of chocolate in a saucepan or in a microwavable dish, until hot and the chocolate is very soft. Stir until the mixture turns into a smooth, thick ganache.

Place one cake layer on a serving plate (if desired, cut strips of parchment paper and place under the edges of the cake to catch any drips).
Spread 1/3 of the ganache filling over the bottom layer of cake, but don't spread it all the way to the edge.
Add the second layer of cake and top with another 1/3 of the filling. Repeat with the third layer of cake and remaining filling.
Top with the remaining cake layer.

Then, make the icing. Heat the 4 ounces of heavy cream and the 8 ounces of chocolate in a small saucepan or in the microwave until hot and the chocolate is very soft. Stir until the mixture turns into a smooth, thick ganache, just like the filling.

Pour and spread the icing over the top of the cake, letting it drip down the sides. Once it's done dripping, smooth the sides with a spatula, if desired. (At this point, I topped my cake with shaved dark chocolate for decoration).

Pull out the parchment strips from under the bottom layer of cake. Allow the cake to rest, covered with a cake cover or large bowl, until the chocolate is set. Overnight is the best, but several hours would be ok.

Cut the cake, serve and enjoy!


  1. So awesome Jen. She would love this cake and be so amazed at the great cook you have become. This cake really does look amazingly rich and good.

  2. That cake sounds delish! I know your mom would not only have loved it, but be so proud of you! =)