on a quest.

a few months ago on facebook i announced a quest that i would be embarking on. a quest that only a few would dare to take on but i was up for the challenge. the goal: to be come known for my chocolate cake. to be invited places for my chocolate cake - the be the-girl-with-the-kick-ass-chocolate-cake-recipe. i want to be that girl. and you know what - i succeeded.

the task: gather recipes and my stellar know-how and make as many chocolate cakes as it takes.  
we did. we tasted & reviewed. we have a winner.

as previously stated we were the proud owners of a little baking company so anything baked is near and dear to my heart. and perfecting it is even dearer. this also goes along with my word for 2011 - chef. to gather a gaggle of winning recipes that i can call my own an be very very proud of. to become the baker i want to be and eat good food along the way. and of course as you to join us for this journey.

this one is so good! rich, moist, no strange after-taste. i am in love. we tested it against our favorite two martha stewart recipes and this one won hands down. i found it on-line, changed a few things and am proud to call it my own. this has been made smeared happily with our classic buttercream but topped with this ganache makes it a rich royal dessert. i have made many a chocolate icing that i have not been a fan of but this one takes the cake! simple. rich. pure. delicious. the perfect ending to any meal or the perfect accompaniment to afternoon tea. you are probably asking yourself - why would she share this? why would she let us in on her secret? - well i'm just that kind of girl!

as we head into birthday season around these parts i have a feeling this page in my cookbook will end the summer with smears of chocolate and oil droplets all over. it will be used & used  - in a variety of forms; cupcakes, layer cakes, possibly the base for a yule log - until we find another quest to embody what we would like our cake selections to be. to cater to our never ended demand for something sweet & satisfying to cap off that perfect celebration.

moist chocolate cake with ganache frosting
2 cups of sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup cocoa powder - sifted. always, always!
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 cup whole milk
½ cup vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup boiling water

ganache frosting
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz good chocolate

for the cake:

Grease and flour two 9” (23 cm) round baking pans.
Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of an electric mixer for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water - coffee could be substituted here, might try that next time. (The batter will be thin.) Pour batter into prepared pans. be sure to weigh your pans to have equal portions.
Bake in a preheated 350F (180C) oven until a wooden pick or cake tester inserted in the center of both cakes comes out clean, about 30 – 35 minutes. (mine were 35 minutes).
let cool for 10 minutes, then remove from pans onto wire racks. cool completely. makes 8-10 generous servings.

for the frosting: 
bring the cream to a boil over low heat. meanwhile chop your chocolate and place in a heat proof bowl. once the cream has boiled pour over the chocolate and stir from the center until all the chocolate has melted, there are no traces of cream and it's all shiny. let sit until thickened. Ice your cake - center and outside. rich and yummy!

**I prefer to leave it at room temperature the set but if you have to place in the fridge, bring it back to room temperature (double boiler very quick or just leave it on the counter) and then whip in an electric mixer to get it to spreading consistency.

**update: i completely forgot to mention that make two batches of the recipe for the frosting. i use one for the center and one for the outside. makes it ridiculously rich but why not do it all the way?? just saying.

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