Whenever I make this cake, it is always a hit. It looks very impressive but is pretty easy to make. I had a work do and decided I hadn't made it in a while and it needed to be made. (Sorry no pictures of the inside - you know I had to bring it work without it being sliced).
Chocolate Blackout Cake (Adapted from 365 Great Chocolate Desserts)
1T cocoa powder
1 1/2 stick butter
3 c sugar
3 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
3 c flour
1t chocolate extract (optional)
4oz chocolate, bittersweet, melted
3/4 c buttermilk
1 c boiling water
18oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 c heavy cream
2 T butter
1 t vanilla
3/4 - 1 c sliced almonds
Grease two 10" round pans. Place parchment round in bottom of each pan. Dust with cocoa powder. Shake out excess; set aside.
Cream butter and sugar together in mixer until light and fluffy. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside. Add eggs one at a time to sugar mixture. Add slightly cooled melted chocolate; mix until combined. Add vanilla and chocolate extract. Add flour mixture in two batches alternating with buttermilk. Beat until blended. Slowing stream in boiling water. The batter will be thin. Pour into pans and bake 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean. Cool 10-15 minutes and then remove from pans.
While cakes are baking, prepare chocolate ganache. In a 2qt dish, combine chocolate and heavy cream. Microwave until chocolate is melted and smoothed when stirred. It is best to do this in 30 second bursts. Stir in butter and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate 1 - 1 1/2 hours until ganache holds its shape and is thick enough to spread on cake.
After cake is completed cooled, place one layer on dish. Cover with about 1/3 of the ganache. Place second layer on top and frost top and sides with remaining ganache. Press almonds into side of cake. Refrigerate 3-4 hours until ganache is firm.
Be careful when adding the boiling water. The batter is very liquid and often sloshes out of the bowl (even with the mixer on low). The recipe originally used 9" rounds but I found it rose too high and overflowed out of my pans. I supposed if you had deep pans, it might work, but I found the 10" works nicely.
The cakes may have a slight indent in the middle, but don't worry a little ganache will fill it in nicely. The indent was a little more than usual this time. So I sprinkled a few finer pieces of almond on top (slick ain't I?) I'm starting to wonder if something has changed with the ingredients. This is from an "old" cookbooks circa (1996). It uses the technique of boiling water to active the baking soda - similar to my sunken chocolate pound cake. That seems to be more sunken than I remember also. Hmmm - I'm noticing a pattern here. I'm determined to get these recipes to work because the cakes are so tasty. I will have to experiment and investigate further (what a sacrifice to have to make and eat chocolate cakes).
This cake is really rich thanks to the ganache, so cut thin slices (even for me). A nice glass of cold milk and you are all set.