We’ve officially made it through episode 1.03 – Kill Me Now! Instagram voted, and Sookie’s Chocolate Cake won over Kiwi Ice Cream. Honestly, I have never been a huge fan of chocolate cake other than on our collective office birthday celebration at work. Any form of sugar goes at 2 pm on a weekday afternoon. I understand if I need to have my honorary Gilmore card revoked.
I may be biased, but I was actually pleasantly surprised by this chocolate cake recipe, especially because it was rich. You might even call it Sookie’s Chocolate Chocolate Chocolatey Cake, am I right?? [Insert rimshot here]
I took the advice of another very talented baking friend of mine who recently recommended Valrhona Cocoa Powder because it totally changed her chocolate dessert game. It does cost more than an average cocoa powder, but it definitely made a noticeable difference in this cake. It’s made from 100% Cacao and produced in France. It’s potent, but not overly bitter and gave the cake it’s chocolate chocolate chocolately-ness. (Okay, I’ll stop now). It could also be because I used an entire cup of cocoa in the recipe. It used about half of my container of powder and I swear I heard the faintest cry coming from my wallet over the whirr of my mixer.
I was comfortable with this week’s recipe because cake making is one thing that’s totally in my wheelhouse (Kiwi Ice Cream is definitely not, so thanks for that, insta followers!) One thing that was a little out of my comfort zone, however, was writing a chocolate cake recipe from scratch. I am pretty new to the scratch kitchen world of cake making since it’s always been easier to grab a box of cake mix. Who am I to argue with Duncan Hines? But in my effort to truly emulate the Maestro herself, I asked myself, WWSSJD? (What would Sookie St James do?) I compared and contrasted chocolate cake recipes from my favorite cookbooks and paired them down to their bare bone ingredients. I was surprised to learn that most chocolate cakes do not use butter, but rather buttermilk. This helps the cake to come out moist and fluffy. It was kind of a crapshoot deciding how much of each ingredient to use, so I chose happy medium between them all and then edited as I went. Even after pulling back on my initial 1 1/2 c of buttercream, the batter came out way thinner than any other cake batter I’ve used, but still rose as expected without burning.
The second most important decision I needed to make was to frost with either buttercream or ganache. I really wanted the cake to look like the slice Lorelai brought to Rory after her day at the golf club, so I figured ganache would give it the darker finish I was looking for. I was also not about to use the rest of my precious cocoa on one cake. The ganache dried a little thick, but it gave a nice contrast to the sponge, especially using the semisweet chips for the ganache. Bittersweet or dark would have been too rich for sure.
I was genuinely happy with the outcome of this one. My husband has been a good critic for these recipes so far. He has a more…selective palate, to use kinder words, so I expect no sympathy if something is inedible. Lucky for him we’ve had all sweets so far. He gave this chocolate cake full approval, adding that some fresh berries would pair well. I’ll make a foodie out of him yet!
Rating: Try it and tell me what you think!
Sookie’s Chocolate Cake
2 ½ c cake flour
2 ½ c sugar
1 c valrhona cocoa powder
½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp espresso
1 c buttermilk
1 c hot water
½ vegetable oil
Chocolate Ganache Frosting
12 oz semi sweet chocolate morsels
1 cup heavy cream
1 ½ c powdered sugar
Splash of brewed coffee
Sift together all dry ingredients. Mix in all wet ingredients one at a time. Pour batter into two parchment lined cake pans. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until toothpick inserted into the center comes clean. Let the cake layers cool completely before frosting.
Heat cream in a sauce pan just until it boils. Pour over chocolate chips and let cool until thickened. Beat the ganache with powdered sugar until fluffy. About 3 minutes. If ganache does not spread well, thin with a splash of brewed coffee as needed.