Best Moist Chocolate Cake
- 1 cup granulated white sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup light (plain) mayonnaise
- 2 cups cake flour, sifted
- ½ cup unsweetened (Dutch-processed) cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1-¼ cups water
- ¼ cup dark rum or brandy
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 12 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
- 1/3 to ½ cup light brown sugar, packed (or according to taste)
- 1-½ cups heavy whipping cream
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, diced and softened
- 3 to 4 tablespoons dark rum or brandy (or 1 to 2 teaspoons rum extract)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of two 8-inch round cake pans with baking or waxed paper. Brush baking paper with butter, as well as the sides of pans. Set aside.
- Whisk together white and light brown sugar until well-combined. Add to mayonnaise and beat well. (Use an electric mixer set on medium speed for best results.) Beat together for another 3 to 5 minutes or until very light and fluffy. Set aside.
- Whisk together cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Sift once to blend well. Divide flour mixture into three equal portions. Sift a portion over mayonnaise mixture and fold in to incorporate. Pour in half of the water and whisk gently to moisten.
- Repeat procedure, while adding the remaining flour mixture in two more batches, alternately with remaining water. Begin and end with the dry ingredients. Do not over mix. Lastly, mix in rum or brandy and vanilla.
- Divide batter into prepared pans evenly. Bake in the middle rack for 30 to 40 minutes or until tops of cake layers spring back when lightly touched and tester inserted comes out clean.
- Allow cakes to cool in pans for about 10 minutes. Run a knife around the sides of pans and invert onto wire racks. Peel off baking paper lining. Leave cake layers to cool to room temperature.
- Place chopped dark chocolate in a heat-proof bowl. Set aside.
- Place sugar and cream in a saucepan and set over medium heat. Stir gently until bubbles begin to form around the edges. Cream should be heated through and sugar should be completely dissolved.
- Pour hot cream mixture through a strainer and over chopped chocolate. Set aside for 2 to 3 minutes or until chocolate has completely melted. Stir in butter, one piece at a time. Take time to stir until each piece of butter is completely melted before adding the next piece. Once all of the butter has been mixed into the chocolate mixture, stir in rum or brandy and vanilla extract.
- Allow ganache to cool completely to room temperature. Chilling the ganache overnight would cool mixture uniformly and thicken it slightly. Once completely cooled, beat until thick and nearly stiff. (You can make the ganache in advance so that by the time the cake layers are cooled to room temperature, the ganache is ready for use.)
- Split each cake layer horizontally using a serrated knife. You should have four layers. Divide ganache into three equal portions. Set aside 1/3 of the ganache for frosting and decorating the exterior of the cake. Divide the remaining 2/3 of the ganache into four portions and spread between each layer, ending in a layer of the ganache on top. Use an offset spatula to be able to apply the ganache well onto the tops of each layer.
- Spoon reserved ganache into a piping bag fitted with your choice of icing tip. Pipe frosting along the borders of the top of the cake, and down the sides in a decorative, swirly pattern.
- Chill cake for at least 6 hours, preferably overnight, to allow ganache to set. Cut cake into wedges before serving.
- Makes 12 to 16 servings.
- If you prefer an alcohol-free cake, replace rum or brandy with coffee dissolved in hot water. You may double or triple the amount of the coffee mixture and use any amount exceeding the recipe requirement to brush onto the cake layers before spreading with filling.
- If desired, use white chocolate for the ganache for variety. Or, Use a mix of both white and dark chocolate for a dramatic monochrome effect.
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