So today was my husband's birthday. What to make? Well, he loves layer cake. And he loves my cream-filled cupcakes. I think it calls for a mash-up, don't you?
I have a confession to make: I'm kind of terrible at cake decorating. When my husband tells me he wants a layer cake, I cringe. So, I had to think of something easy. Easy and chocolate-y, of course. Since I had some buttercream in the freezer, left from making cupcakes last week, it was a no-brainer to thaw it out. Then I took my favorite chocolate cake recipe, baked it into three layers, spread the buttercream in between the layers, and topped it off with some chocolate ganache. So easy it's ridiculous.
It's crazy, but the easy thing about this is the frosting. It's a chocolate ganache, made with dark chocolate chips and heavy cream and when it's first mixed together it's pourable. Seriously. Pourable. You can just let it drip down the sides.
Let's start with the cake, though. The beautiful cake. Dare I say the best cake ever? Okay...the best cake ever. Made with dark cocoa, buttermilk, and a hint of coffee to bring out even more chocolate-y flavor.
Cream-Filled Cupcake Cake
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup vegetable oil
2 cups all purpose flour
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup dark cocoa
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup hot coffee
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F; grease and flour 3 (8 or 9-inch) cake pans.
Combine egg, oil and buttermilk. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, cocoa, salt and baking soda. Combine the egg mixture and the flour mixture, mixing well. Slowly mix in hot coffee. Divide the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans.
4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup milk
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar (not powdered sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
In small saucepan, whisk the flour and the milk until smooth. Place over medium heat and cook until thick and bubbly, whisking the entire time. Place thickened mixture in a small bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Cool completely.
Combine the butter and the sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat for several minutes, until light and fluffy. Add the cooled flour mixture and beat for an additional 5 minutes, or until the frosting is smooth with no gritty sugar. Stir in the vanilla.
1 1/2 cups dark chocolate chips
3/4 cup heavy cream
Place the chocolate chips in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until it just comes to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit for one minute. Use a spatula or a wooden spoon to stir the chocolate and the cream until smooth and shiny.
First, set aside about 1/4 cup of the buttercream for the squiggle on the top of the cake. Place one cooled cake layer, top-side down, on cake plate. Spread with half of the remaining buttercream. Add the next layer, again top-side down, and spread with the remaining buttercream. Add the final layer top-side up. Spoon the ganache over the top of the cake. Use an offset spatula to spread the chocolate over the cake, allowing it to spill down the sides. Chill the cake for a few minutes to set the chocolate. In the meantime, spoon the reserved buttercream into a pastry bag fitted with a small round tip. Pipe a squiggle over the top of the cake. Keep the cake refrigerated until ready to serve.
It's not a cream-filled cupcake without the squiggle.....