This recipe dates back several generations in my family. My mom and I figure it came to my great-grandmother via German settlers in Nova Scotia in the late 1800s.
My grandmother always used to say that if a cake were easy to make then it's not that good. This recipe is no exception! It's a bit complicated, but still simple to follow with just three main steps. The coffee in the recipe brings out the flavour of the chocolate. You won't taste it once the cake is done. Similarly, a chocolate is only as good as the vanilla paired with it. Our vanilla is top-knotch Fair-Trade vanilla from Madagascar. Your grocery-store-bought vanilla will work too and most people probably can't taste the difference!
Good luck with this! We fill and frost our chocolate cakes with Swiss Meringue buttercream frosting, and/or chocolate ganache. Scroll down for the ganache recipe. You can make the Swiss meringue fairly easily too with an online recipe. I'll try to post one soon.
GOURMET "GERMAN" CHOCOLATE CAKE
85 grams of good-quality semisweet chocolate (we use a Belgian Couverture chocolate [52%]), chopped.
If your palates aren’t super-sensitive, then Baker’s chocolate will work just fine.
1 ½ cups coffee (hot) or hot water
3 large eggs (We use free-range organic, and we’re crazy enough to believe that we can taste the difference)
3/4 cup vegetable oil (Canola is best).
1 ½ cups well-shaken buttermilk (If you don’t have buttermilk you can put 1 Tablespoon of vinegar into 1 ½ cups of whole milk and wait 10 minutes.
¾ teaspoon vanilla
3 cups sugar
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process, if you can get a hold of such a thing).
2 teaspoons baking soda
¾ teaspoon baking powder
1 ¼ teaspoons salt
Start by putting the chopped chocolate into the coffee or hot water. Whisk it around occasionally while you work on the rest of the ingredients.
Sift together all of the dry ingredients. Whisk them together in a large bowl. Set aside.
Beat eggs for 5 minutes in an electric mixer (hand-held is fine) – until they are frothy and lemony-white in colour. With the mixer running, add oil slowly, as if you’re making mayonnaise. Then add the buttermilk slowly. Finally, add the vanilla and chocolate/coffee mixture.
Now add the dry ingredients mixture a little at a time until it is all mixed together. Don’t over-mix it.
Pour into greased pans (two 8” or 9” pans) and bake at 350F until a toothpick comes out clean from the centre (about an hour).
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