Friday, November 26, 2010

Great Grandma Minnie's Chocolate Cake

Ok. Ok. Ok. I'll spill the beans. I'll share the family recipe.

For 50 years, on every single Thanksgiving, my mother has been treated to an amazing chocolate ganache-enrobed triple-decker German chocolate cake with whipped cream separating each layer, originally introduced to the family by her Grandma Minnie (who "refrigerated" it on the attic stairs because the icebox was too small), who first ate the cake made by her mother Great Great Grandma Ida. Now my mom makes it for our Thanksgiving crowd, respun and undeniably all gussied up.

And now we share it with you, because, really, you are our extended family. And we're thankful for that.
Great Grandma Minnie's Chocolate Cake
The Recipe Revealed

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspon salt
6 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2/3 cups water
2 teaspoons vanilla

6 tablespoons seedless raspberry preserves
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup confectioners sugar

1/2 cup light corn syrup
4 tablespoons hot water
4 tablespoons butter
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips

More after the jump...

Prepare three 10-inch diameter spring form pans with parchment paper cut to lay flat, with three tabs each, so you can easily remove the cake from the pan once baked. Lightly butter the sides of each pan. Preheat oven to 375 F.

Sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl and set aside. In a separate mixing bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until very thick. Add water and vanilla and beat until fully incorporated. Slowly incorporate cocoa mixture until smooth. Divide the batter evenly amongst the three prepared pans and bake for 15-18 minutes, or until a fork can be removed cleanly.

The cake layers will be very thin! Soon they'll be all loaded up with cream, so no need to worry!

Remove each layer from its spring form and set aside to cool on a rack. Once they're completely cooled spread 2 tablespoons of glistening raspberry preserves evenly across the top of each layer using the back of a flat spoon or an off-set spatula if you have one.
Whip your cream and confectioners sugar until super stiff. Get ready to lick the spatula.

Place the bottom layer of cake on a cardboard cake tray as close to the same size as your cake (you can either buy one or cut one out of a cardboard box with an exacto knife, easy peasy). Loosely surround the bottom layer with the spring form to help stabilize the cake as you layer. Go ahead and drop half of the whipped cream on top of layer #1.

Spread the whipped cream evenly across the cake layer all the way out the spring form until its completely covered.

Repeat: Cake. Raspberry. Whipped Cream.

And top that with more cake.

Remove the ring mold, and scrape the sides with an off-set spatula so that it's even all around.

To make the chocolate glaze, bring the butter, corn syrup and water to a light simmer. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate until completely melted and smooth like butter (I mean, like melted butter). Prep one layer, essentially as a crumb layer. Starting at the top of the cake, gently spread the glaze across the cake and around the sides. If you have a rack to rest the cake on, this is great, because you'll be able to let the excess glaze drip away, rather than pooling in a puddle on your serving dish. If you don't, no big deal... just make a plan to put some pretty garnish around the bottom.

Refrigerate until hardened.

Repeat with more layers of the glaze until you're satisfied that it's completely and evenly covered. This guy's looking good:

Now, if you want, you can serve Grandma Minnie's cake as shown above.

Or, if you're an overachiever like my Mom, you can hand-make fondant roses and autumn leaves shimmering with edible luster dust and bedazzle the whole cake. (This fondant production is an entire additional post waiting to happen.)

Enjoy. And give thanks.

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