Chocolate Cake (with Mayonnaise)

I haven’t made a layer cake in absolute ages. And I do so love layer cake. They’re always gorgeous to look at. And Food52 sent round this email with all these pictures and I got to thinking about layer cakes again. Also how much I want a life that will include moments with tables like the one with all those cakes. So yesterday I did a scout online and found this recipe. Okay, in truth I made the Princess chose what to make in the end because I couldn’t.

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This is dense, fudgey chocolate cake. The recipe comes from Fine Cooking and is called Southern Devil’s Food Cake. The mayonnaise is a weird addition but apparently it adds moisture and richness and it doesn’t alter the flavour of the finished cake at all. This is proper birthday-cake cake I think. There’s no chocolate in the cake, just a load of cocoa powder. I made the ganache with milk and dark chocolate and I love the result. This may be my go-to ganache recipe from now on. It’s thick and spreadable and it’s neither excessively sweet or bitter (and it didn’t split!)

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I realised about halfway through that I actually should have made half the amount of cake and ganache as this makes a lot of cake so I’ve experimented by freezing half the uncooked batter and the excess ganache that was left over after I’d iced the cake. At some point in the future I am going to unfreeze the batter and see if I can get cake again.

So, as I said, I used milk and dark chocolate in the ganache. I also used half double/half single cream so that it didn’t become too rich and split. I used spelt flour in the cake and half the dark brown sugar it called for, adding the rest in light brown sugar. I wanted to make the cake without wheat flour and I find white spelt flour works well on a 1-1 substitute.

Chocolate Cake (with Mayonnaise)

Adapted from Fine Cooking

For the Ganache:

200g milk chocolate (42%)

300g dark chocolate (71%)

250ml single cream

250ml double cream

30g butter, unsalted, soft

For the Cake:

175g butter, unsalted, soft

1 cup dark brown sugar

1 cup light brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 eggs

225g spelt flour

3/4 cup cocoa powder

1 1/4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1/4 cup mayonnaise

Make the ganache first as it needs to cool at room temperature for about 6 hours before you can use it.

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Heat the two creams in a saucepan. Break all the chocolate into a heatproof bowl. When the cream is at scalding point (it’s about to boil), pour it over the chocolate mixture. Let everything stand for five minutes before stirring it smooth. Add in the butter last. Leave to cool.

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Preheat the oven to 175C and line two 20cm baking tins with butter.

Cream together the butter, sugars and vanilla until fluffy and thick.

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Add in the eggs, one at a time.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking soda. Then add in the salt.

Fold in the flour, alternating with the buttermilk. I usually do three flour additions and two buttermilk ones. Lastly fold in the mayonnaise.

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Divide the mixture between the two tins, smoothing them on top.

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Bake for about 40 minutes, until the cakes spring back and a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes in the tins before turning out and cooling completely on a rack.

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To assemble, make sure the cakes are cooled completely. Cut the cakes in half. Spread with ganache and then sandwich together. If you’ve made the full mixture this will make 4 layers. I only made half so mine was a two layer cake. Use the ganache to do the top and sides of the cake.

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