Yesterday a bunch of our friends who hadn’t yet met Miss Nina James came to the house to see her. It was so nice hanging out with everyone and Nina even managed to stay awake for about 40% of the visit, she just sort of quietly stared at each person who held her, she was probably wondering how the hell so many giant faces could fit in one room at the same time.
I decided that seeing as we were going to have a bunch of friends over, I would try out some of the new recipes I have been pinning. I have been eyeing out this one cake called a Brooklyn Blackout cake for a while now, It’s a chocolate cake with chocolate custard between the layers and all around the outside. Now how good does that sound? If you answered ‘not very’ to that question, I think you may be slightly nuts and in need of slap in the mouth. The recipe I tried came off this site, the lady that originally made it said that she had a lot of trouble getting the custard icing right and only managed to get it on her 3rd attempt, but she swore that the cake was worth it in the end. This worried me a bit, but I decided I would give it a go, regardless of prior warnings.
I’m not sure if it was by fluke, or it was just my lucky day, or my whisking was on top form, but my frosting came out right first time around and pretty tasty too, even if I do say so myself. Where my luck ran out is that the cake that I made was too soft, I cut the 2 layers into 4, like directed, but once I started adding custard to it, things started falling a part, literally. Next time I’m going to make a 3-layer cake instead so that I have a bit more sponge to accommodate all the rich gooey-chocolate-custard-heartattack-goodness that smothers it.
Overall, I would say that this was a pretty easy recipe to get right, IF you follow the instructions properly and a really easy cake to devour, it’s rich, but not too rich and the custard icing is pretty damn awesome and kind of makes you want to keep shovelling.
*All I would say is just make sure that your custard gets a good long stint in the fridge before you use it, otherwise you might be up a custard river without a paddle/spatula.
For the Chocolate Cake Base: (makes two 8-inch pans, or, four Brooklyn Blackout layers)
- 95 grams unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- a pinch of salt
- 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup whole milk
For the Chocolate Custard Frosting:
- 2 1/2 cups water plus 1/2 cup water, separated
- 2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup – I used glucose syrup instead and it worked just fine
- 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- a scant 2/3 cup cornstarch
- 5 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 325. Prepare your cake tins by lining the bottom with baking paper, and spraying both the paper and the pan liberally with cooking spray.
2. In a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment or a handheld mixer, combine 95 grams unsalted butter and 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar and cream until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add 2 eggs one at a time, only adding the next egg when the first egg has been fully incorporated into the mixture.
3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Then turn the mixer back on to its lowest speed and beat in 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, 3/4 teaspoon baking soda and a pinch of salt. Continue mixing until just combined, then add half of of the 1 1/3 cup flour, then 2/3 cup cup whole milk, and finish with the remainder of the flour. Continue mixing until just combined.
4. Divide the batter evenly into 2 pans, using a spatula to spread the batter evenly across its pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean and the tops of the cakes bounce back when gently poked with your finger. Let the cake layers cool slightly in the pans before turning them out to cool completely.
2.In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment or a handheld whisk, combine 2/3 cup cornstarch with the remaining 1/2 cup water, adding the water a bit at a time until the mixture has the consistency of thick glue, it should be relatively lump-free, but this part was quite strange because it looked like watery rubber when I was trying to whisk it with my electric beater, but it totally worked, so don’t let it freak you out. Keep mixing until all the major lumps have dissolved.
3. Once the cornstarch mixture is the appropriate thickness, slowly pour it into your cocoa mixture in the pot (from the first step), whisking constantly. Pop it back on the heat, keeping it at medium temp and bring it back to a boil, whisking constantly. Continue cooking until the mixture is quite thick — this took me about 10 minutes.
4. Once the mixture has thickened, remove from heat and use a spatula to stir in 77 grams unsalted butter and a 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract until completely melted and fully incorporated into the mixture.
5. At this point, the custard should be thick and shiny, but still pliable and easy to work with. It should have the texture of really soft butter. Transfer the custard to a 9 x 13 inch baking pan or glass casserole dish, spreading the custard out evenly across the pan. Cover with plastic wrap, pressing the plastic wrap directly on the custard to prevent a skin from forming. Chill until completely cool, preferably overnight. When the custard is ready to use, it should have the texture of margarine. I had my custard in the fridge for about 5 hours and it was all good, but I can see how keeping it in there overnight would be better.
I also decided to try make this Carrot and Pistachio cake just incase my Brooklyn Blackout blacked out. This recipe is super super easy to follow and make and the end result is a moist, fruity carrot cake with icing that literally tastes like dessert. It’s cream cheese frosting but with a twist, this one has double cream yogurt in it, which makes for a really nice flavour and consistency. If you’re looking for a quick bake, this is the one. Enjoy.
For the cake:
- 300g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground ginger
- ¼ tsp ground cloves
- 4 large eggs
- 275g light muscovado sugar (I used brown sugar)
- 250ml light canola oil
- 400g carrots, grated
- 100g roughly chopped pistachio kernels (I used pecan nuts)
- 100g sultanas
- zest of 1 lime
- blueberries and lime zest, to finish
For the icing:
- 150g soft unsalted butter
- 400g Lancewood cream cheese
- 200g Greek yogurt, chilled (Used the Woolies one)
- 350g icing sugar, sifted
- Preheat the oven to 180°C. Sift the flour, baking powder and spices into a bowl. Add the eggs, sugar and oil and then whisk.
- In another bowl, mix the carrots, pecan nuts, sultanas and lime zest then fold that into the egg mixture. Divide the mixture between three greased and lined 20cm x 4cm sandwich tins. Level with the back of a spoon, then bake on the middle shelf for 25 minutes.
- For the icing, whisk the butter for a minute, then add all the other ingredients, beat them with a handheld beater or stand mixer until nice and smooth.
- Cool the cakes, then turn them out onto a wire rack. Ice in-between each layer of cake and then cover the outside. Dust with cinnamon and top with blueberries and a bit of lime lime zest.