The "classic chocolate cake" for the recipe is made with butter, shortening, sugar, dark brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, sour cream, and water. You divide the batter into three 8-inch pans for baking. When the cake is cooled, you level the layers and then fill and frost the cake with a coffee buttercream. This buttercream is typical of those from Baked; the base is made from flour, sugar, cream, and milk that you heat on the stove until the mixture boils and thickens. You beat the resulting mixture until it's cooled, and then incorporate softened butter and flavoring (in this case, vanilla extract and coffee extract). The buttercream ended up the light brown color of a latte, due to the large amount (3 tablespoons) of coffee extract.
After you frost the cake, you top it off with a layer of chocolate ganache, made from dark chocolate, butter, and corn syrup. The recipe makes a lot of ganache, such that even though I poured on several coats, letting drips fall over the sides (the method specified in the recipe), I had more than I could possibly have used. The final touches were a ring of chocolate-covered espresso beans on top and some chocolate sprinkles around the bottom outer edge.
Caramel Apple Cake, the fact that it's three layers makes it very tall -- about 5 and 1/4 inches with the espresso beans, which means it won't quite fit into one of my standard cake boxes, which are only 5-inches tall. The cake was also quite heavy. Out of curiosity, I put the finished cake on a scale, and it came in at 5 lbs., 14.75 ounces.
I really wish I had a picture of the sliced cake; it was just gorgeous. And this cake tastes every bit as good as it looks. The chocolate cake is insanely good -- very moist, tender, and light, yet deeply chocolatey. Since the cake has a lot of cocoa powder in it (3/4 cup) and I used a mix of dutch and black cocoa that has a very dark color, the cake was also very dark, essentially the same color as the chocolate ganache on top. And the buttercream? Awesome. I was surprised at how the coffee flavor was so lovely and didn't overwhelm the cake at all. The cooked Baked buttercreams have a lusciously rich, yet perfectly smooth and non-greasy texture that is absolute perfection. And the flavor combination of the chocolate cake with the coffee buttercream was heavenly. The chocolate ganache on top was not necessary, but a nice bonus.
As one of the party guests so aptly put it, the cake is "killer." It's also on the Baked Sunday Mornings schedule for March 25, 2012 -- but I don't think I'm going to wait that long before making this glorious cake again!
Recipe: "Chocolate Coffee Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache," from Baked Explorations: Classic American Desserts Reinvented, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.