This recipe is brought to you by the friendly skies, courtesy of Delta Airlines and the generosity of my dad's frequent flyer miles. I'm totally lying about Delta Airlines, they have no idea who I am. The fact that I am currently writing this post at, oh, about 36,965 feet in the air somewhere over South Dakota (thank you in-seat monitor!) is due to my ol' pops lending me a few thousand air miles so I could make it home for Christmas. This post is not brought to you by the man across the asile watching Twilight or the overly touchy-feely couple next to me. Nope. Not at all.
I'm slowly but surely getting into the Christmas spirit. I would like to think my journey down jolly lane began somewhere in West Seattle sitting in a second-run theater watching a slightly askew showing of "A Very Muppet Christmas". Not only was I good Seattelite and donated a massive bag of dog food to the Humane Society of Seattle (there are more dogs than kids in the city, it's obvious who we love more) but I also roped two of my closest friends into going with me. We left the theater feeling spirited, mainly due to the excitement of the hundreds of children surrounding us, and my skin is losing its green tint and I think my heart has grown at least 1.25 sizes. The last part may be because of holiday food but let us pretend it's from Christmas and going back to the Midwest for the first time in a year.
While I may still be working up to celebrating Christmas, I was surely in the celebratory spirit last weekend. One of my best friends from not only high school, but also college, now lives in Seattle with her boyfriend (also an alum of BHS and Michigan) doing the whole AmeriCorps thing. I can't be the first one to say it's always nice to have a piece of your upbringing in your new home. As her birthday falls at the end of December, she rarely is able to have a birthday party, let alone in the company of twenty plus people. Her boyfriend came up with the idea to throw her an early surprise birthday party with me at the helm helping spread the word. While I guess actually having people at the party is pretty important, I personally think having the perfect cake is crucial.
Casually bringing up the topic of cake at our weekly girls Glee night earlier in the week, the birthday girl in question explained to here that there can be no such thing as too much chocolate. Ever. Triple chocolate diabetic-shock ice cream? Bring it. Girl hath no fear. So I made the most ridiculously over the top chocolate cake. Dark chocolate cake PLUS dark chocolate almond whipped ganache PLUS a dark chocolate cake collar.
Oh, and it was pretty cool that a lot of people showed up too the party too. And that 'A' turned 24. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!
Dark Chocolate Cake
Adapted fron Ina Garten
- 2 cups sugar
- 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup almond milk
- 2 tablespoons white distilled vinegar
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup strong black coffee
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 8-inch cake pans and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking power and salt. Mix together.
- In a small glass, milk almond milk and vinegar together with a fork. Allow to sit for a few minutes until almond milk starts to "curdle." (Note: if this doesn't need your cake to be dairy-free, use 1 cup of buttermilk).
- In a medium bowl, beat eggs until they begin to froth. Whisk in almond milk mixture, coffee, vegetable oil and vanilla extract.
- With mixer running, slowly add in liquid mixture until completely incorporated, taking care not to overbeat the batter.
- Divide better evenly between the two cake pans and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until tester is inserted into the middle of the cake and comes out clean. When done, leave in the pans for 10 minutes and then turn the cakes out onto a wire rack until completely cool. Frost as desired.
Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache
This recipe is incredibly flexible. I always do equal parts chocolate and almond milk but you can adjust the ratio to suit your ganache consistency tastes.
- 200g dark chocolate, chopped
- 200g almond milk
- Chop dark chocolate and place in a medium heatproof bowl.
- In a small sauce pan, heat almond milk until it starts to boil. Keep on eye on it - it tends to boil over when it's not being watched.
- Pour heated almond milk over chopped chocolate and let it sit for one minute. Whisk together until uniform and smooth. Allow to cool completely (I sometimes use my fridge and freezer to speed to up).
- When cooled, use a whisk or whisk attachment on a mixer and beat until light in color and the texture of mousse.
- Use as desired on cake.
As this was the first time I've ever made a cake collar (I think it turned out pretty decent!), I'll direct your attention to a site that does a much better job explaining the process than I ever could. Here you go.