It’s hard to believe that it’s been one year since I started this blog. I have had so much fun over the past year baking and cooking all kinds of new dishes and goodies for this blog. I feel that my kitchen skills have improved so much and I feel confident making all kinds of new recipes. I didn’t waste any time joining the Daring Bakers and Tuesdays with Dorie. I never realized how wonderful and supportive the blogging community is. It’s great to be connected with so many people who share the same love of baking and cooking that I do. I can’t wait to find out what the next year will bring!
Note: I’m actually posting this a day early since I’m posting the TWD recipe tomorrow!
In honor of one year, I made this Chocolate Gingerbread Cake. I had to make something chocolate, since that’s my favorite kind of dessert, and I’ve come to really love gingerbread lately, so I thought this would be a great combination. I really enjoyed the two flavors together. They were nicely balanced to create the perfect cake for a celebration, especially for the holidays. The buttercream was very thick, and dipping a knife into hot water as I was frosting it made it easier to spread. If you need a dessert idea for Christmas dinner or a party, this would definitely be a great choice.
Before I give the recipe, I wanted to go back and visit some of my favorite recipes that I’ve made in the past year:
May: (it was a slow month since I moved, graduated, and got married!)
Peanut Butter Torte
Chocolate Gingerbread Cake
Chocolate Gingerbread Cake:
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces and softened, plus 2 tablespoons,
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of ground cloves
¾ cup warm water (100 to 110 degrees)
1 ½ cups tightly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, melted
¾ cup sour cream
Chocolate Ginger Buttercream
6 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces and softened
Garnish (optional): 8 to 10 pieces crystallized ginger
Make the chocolate gingerbread cake:
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Liberally coat two (I accidently read this as 3, but it still turned out fine) 9×1 ½-inch round cake pans with some of the melted 2 tablespoons butter. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment or wax paper, then coat the paper with more melted butter.
2. In a sifter, combine the flour, baking soda, and salt. Sift onto a large piece of parchment or wax paper.
3. Place the ginger, cinnamon, and cloves in a small bowl. Pour the warm water over the spices and whisk to incorporate.
4. Place the remaining butter and the brown sugar in the bowl of a stand electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Mix on low for 1 minute, then on medium for 1 minute more. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle. Beat on medium-high for 1 minute, then scrape down again. Add the eggs and egg yolk, one at a time, beating on medium for 30 seconds after each addition and scraping down once al the eggs have been incorporated. Add the melted chocolate, and beat on medium for 15 seconds until thoroughly incorporated. Turn the mixer on to low and gradually add the dry ingredients; mix until incorporated, about 30 seconds. Scrape down again. Add the sour cream and mix on low for 15 seconds, then beat on medium for 15 seconds until thoroughly incorporated. Remove the bowl from the mixer, and use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the batter until thoroughly incorporated.
5. Immediately divide the batter into the prepared pans, spreading evenly with a rubber spatula. Bake on the center rack of the oven until a toothpick inserted into the center of each layer comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, and cool in the pans at room temperature for 10 minutes. Cover 2 cake circles with plastic wrap and invert the cake layers onto the circles (the plastic wrap prevents the somewhat sticky cake layers from adhering to the circles). Carefully peel the paper away from the bottom of each layer. Refrigerate the cake layers, uncovered, for at least 1 hour before assembling.
Make the Chocolate Ginger Buttercream
6. Place the chocolates in a medium heatproof bowl. Bring the heavy cream, granulated sugar, ginger, and cinnamon to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Pour the mixture over the chocolate and stir with a whisk until smooth. (This is ganache). Pour the ganache onto a baking sheet with sides, and refrigerate until slightly chilled but not firm, about 20 minutes.
7. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Mix on low for 1 minute, then beat on medium for 2 minutes. Stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle. Beat on medium-high for 1 minute, until very soft. Scrape down again. Add the chilled ganache, and beat on medium for 30 seconds. Scrape down again, then beat on medium speed for 30 seconds more until thoroughly combined. Transfer ½ cup of the buttercream to a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip.
Assemble the cake and serve:
8. Remove the cake layers from the refrigerator. Use an icing spatula to evenly spread 1 cup of buttercream over the top and to the edges of one of the inverted cake layers. Place the second layer, baked side up, on the icing and gently press into place. Spread the remaining buttercream smoothly onto the top and sides of the cake. Pipe an evenly spaced ring of 8 to 10 buttercream stars (about ¾ inch high and 1 ½ inches wide) along the outside edge of the top of the cake. If desired, place a piece of crystallized ginger on each star. Refrigerate the cake for 2 hours before slicing an d serving.
9. Heat the blade of a serrated knife under hot running water and wipe dry before cutting into each slice. Keep the slices at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
Source: I’m Dreaming of a Chocolate Christmas by Marcel Desaulniers