Blackout Cake

(Ebinger’s Bakery [attempting to recreate the recipe])

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup milk
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup vegetable shortening
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp table salt

2/3 cup sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/4 tsp table salt
1 1/2 cups milk
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract

4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 stick unsalted butter
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3 eggs
3 cups confectioners sugar

Heat the oven to 350. Butter two 9-inch cake pans. (Make sure they’re 9-inch, I accidentally used 8.5-inch and had such a mess.) Dust them with flour and tap out the excess. Set aside.

Stir the cocoa with some of the milk to form a paste. Stir in the rest of the milk, and beat with a whisk until the mixture is smooth. Set aside. In a stand mixer combine the butter, shortening, sugar, eggs and vanilla. Beat for 1 minute, or until the mixture is fluffy.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the mixture, alternately with the cocoa mixture, to the contents of the bowl, beating between additions. Begin and end with the flour mixture, and beat only until the dry ingredients are absorbed. Divide the batter between the cake pans and smooth the tops with a spatula to even them.

Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the layers shrink from the sides of the pans and the tops spring back when gently pressed with a fingertip. Cool the layers on wire recks for 10 minutes, then carefully invert them onto the racks. Turn right side up and let cool completely.

Combine the sugar, cornstarch and salt in a small heavy saucepan. Gradually add the milk, mixing thoroughly with a wire whisk. Add the chocolate. Place over moderate heat and cook, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens and bubbles for 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour into a small bowl and put plastic wrap or wax paper directly on the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Cool completely.

Melt the chocolate in the top of a double boiler. Remove it from the heat and cool slightly. In a medium bowl, beat the butter, vanilla, and eggs until well mixed (be aware that the mixture will not blend completely). Gradually beat in the sugar, a quarter-cup at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the melted chocolate. Chill the frosting while assembling the rest of the cake, about 15 minutes.

Cut each cake layer in half horizontally, using a serrated knife or cake separator. You now have 4 layers, 3 for the cake assembly and 1 for the outside crumbs. Break up the fourth layer into large crumbs with your hands (or use a food processor with three or four 1-second pulses).

Sandwich the remaining 3 layers with the chocolate pudding filling. Frost the side and top of the cake with the chocolate frosting. Gently press the cake crumbs all over the top and sides of the cake, pressing them to adhere.

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