With a name like that, you know it's going to be good. If you're watching your waistline, please don't look too closely as the ingredient list (this cake is anything but light). It's worth every last calorie, however, as Marcel Desaulniers calls this "the most perfect piece of chocolate cake you could possibly imagine passing your lips." This recipe is from Marcel's mother, "Mrs. D," and I guarantee one bite of this cake and you'll think you died and went to heaven! Given this fact, I am entering this cake into the Death by Chocolate contest being held by Culinate. (It only seemed appropriate that I would submit a recipe by the author of the book Death by Chocolate.)
This contest will send one reader and one food blogger (could be you!), on a trip for two to Napa Valley to attend the Copia Center’s annual Death by Chocolate Festival on Feburary 23, 2008, featuring a day of chocolate and wine tasting, demonstrations by pastry chefs, and other sessions with chocolate aficionados and experts.
If you haven't already, consider entering the contest. Here's how it works. You have two chances to win:
(1) If you don't have a blog (or even if you do), you can go to their site and be one of the lucky reader's chosen at random to win the trip. All you have to do is register to win.
(2) If you are a food blogger, submit your best chocolately post - you can even submit a previous post! Readers will vote for their favorite blog posts, and the winning food blogger will be selected by a panel of judges from the top 10 reader favorites.
Here's why you should vote for me :) My husband and I could really use a weekend getaway to Napa. He's in his third year of medical school right now, so I hardly ever get to spend time with him anymore. He works a lot of nights and weekends in the hospital -- in late November/early December, he worked 19 days straight without a single day off and every third night he had to work the overnight shift so I barely got to see him. January was a little better in that he only had to work 3 overnight shifts, but he still only had about 5 days off. So... while he doesn't get very many weekends off, as luck (or fate) might have it, he has the weekend of February 23rd off, so it would be the perfect opportunity for us to get away and spend some alone time together! So please take a moment to vote for me (every vote counts!)... you'll need to register first (it only takes a minute and it will automatically enter you to be part of the random drawing to win a trip to Napa for yourself!), then click here to vote for me; I'll be eternally grateful! :) Oh, and I think you can vote for more than one blog, so if you've already voted for someone, don't let that stop you from voting for me :)
Mrs. D's "She Ain't Heavy" Chocolate Cake
from Celebrate with Chocolate by Marcel Desaulniers
"She Ain't Heavy" Chocolate Cake:
1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3/4 lb (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 ounce pieces
2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1-3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1-1/4 cups whole milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
"Hasn't Failed Me Yet" Cocoa Icing:
1-1/4 lbs confectioner's sugar
1-1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/4 lbs (5 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 ounce pieces
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Make Mrs. D's "She Ain't Heavy" Chocolate Cake:
Preheat the oven to 350F.
Lightly coat the insides of three 9 x 1-1/2-inch cake pans with some of the melted butter. Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment paper (or wax paper), then lightly coat the paper with more melted butter. Set aside.
In a sifter combine the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Sift onto a large piece of parchment paper (or wax paper) and set aside.
Place the sugar and the 3/4 pound butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Mix on low speed for 1 minute, then beat on medium until soft, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle. Continue beating on medium for an additional 2 minutes until very soft. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle. Add the eggs one at a time, beating on medium for 30 seconds after each addition, and scraping down the sides of the bowl once the eggs have been incorporated. Operate the mixer on low while gradually adding about half of the dry ingredients, followed by about half of the milk. Once these ingredients have been incorporated, about 1-1/2 minutes, gradually add the remaining dry ingredients, followed by the milk; mix until incorporated, about 1-1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and hte paddle. Don't be concerned if the batter looks a bit odd texturally at this point (because of the interaction between the milk and the butter); it will come together nicely with the next step.
Add the vanilla extract and mix on low for 5 seconds; beat on medium for 1 minute until thoroughly combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the ingredients until thoroughly combined. Now the batter looks very thick, a bit like soft-serve ice cream, but please don't taste, because the ingestion of raw yolks may not be salubrious. Immediately divide the cake batter among the prepared pans (about 2-1/4 cups in each pan), spreading evenly (an off-set spatula would work best).
Bake on the top and center racks in the oven until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake layer comes out clean, about 35 minutes. (Rotate the pans from top to center halfway through the baking time). Remove the cake layers from the oven and cool in the pans for 15 to 20 minutes at room temperature. Invert the cake layers onto cake circles (or cake plates) wrapped with plastic wrap or lined with parchment paper or wax paper. Carefully peel the paper away from the bottoms of the layers. Refrigerate the cake layers while preparing the icing.
Make Mrs. D's "Hasn't Failed Me Yet" Cocoa Icing:
In a sifter combine the confectioner's sugar and cocoa powder. Sift onto an extra large (about 12 x 20 inches) piece of parchment paper (or wax paper) and set aside.
Place the butter in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Mix on low speed for 1 minute; increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes until soft. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle. Beat on medium for 2 more minutes until very soft. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle. Operate the mixer on the lowest speed (stir) while gradually adding about half the amount of dry ingredients, followed by half the amount of milk. Once these ingredients have incorporated, about 2 minutes, add the remaining dry ingredients, followed by the remaining milk; mix until incorporated, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and the paddle. Beat on medium for 1 more minute until very soft and fluffy. Add the vanilla extract and mix on low for 5 seconds; increase the speed to medium and beat for 1 minute until very soft and fluffy. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the icing until thoroughly combined.
Assemble Mrs. D's "She Ain't Heavy" Chocolate Cake:
Remove the cake layers from the refrigerator. Turn one of the layers onto a clean cake circle (or cake plate), then peel off the paper. Use a cake spatula to spread 1-1/2 cups of icing evenly and smoothly over the top and to the edges of the cake layer. Turn a second cake layer onto the iced layer, then peel off the paper. Use a cake spatula to spread 1-1/2 cups of icing evenly and smoothly over the top and to the edges of the cake layer. Turn the remaining cake layer onto the second iced layer and gently press the layers into place. Spread the remaining icing over the top and sides of the entire cake. Refrigerate the cake for 1 hour before serving.
Heat the blade of a serrated slicer under hot running water and wipe the blade dry before making each slide. Keep the slices at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
Note: This cake may be prepared over 2 days.
Day 1: Bake the cake layers. Once they're cooled, cover each layer with plastic wrap and refrigerate.
Day 2: Make the cocoa icing. Assemble the cake as directed in the recipe. Refrigerate for 1 hour before serving.
After assembly, keep the cake in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days before serving to avoid permeating the cake with refrigerator odors, place it in a large, tightly sealed container.
Yield: 12 servings