I have been dying for a reason to try this cake. So when Colette commissioned me to bake another birthday cake for her this weekend, I dug through all the clipped out recipes my grandma has sent me over the years and dusted this one off more than ready to give it a go. I had a sneaking suspicion party-goers would like it for two reasons: 1) because it’s chocolate and 2) because the layers are soaked in a rum syrup!
- 3 T. soft butter for greasing pans
- 8 oz butter, room temperature
- 1 1/2 c. sugar
- 4 large eggs (room temperature) separated
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 4 c. cake flour
- 4 tsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate melted over a double boiler
- 2 1/2 c. warm whole milk
- Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting
- Rum Syrup
- 3 oz. chocolate jimmies (sprinkles)
rum syrup ingredients.
- 1/2 c. water
- 1/2 c. sugar
- 6 T. Meyer’s dark rum
rum syrup directions.
*Mix water and sugar together and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. When mixture is cool, add rum. Keep in a covered container. Can be made ahead. Use 3/4 of the mixture for the cake.
- Preheat oven to 35o degrees. Butter three 8-inch cake pans and if desired cut small piece of parchment paper to fit bottom of each cake pan to facilitate removal. Lightly butter the top of the parchment paper, dust inside of cake pan with flour and tap out excess.
- Place butter in bowl of stand mixer fitted with a paddle and run on medium speed until butter is lightened. Add sugar and mix until creamy and smooth. Scrape down sides of the bowl and turn mixer on low. Add egg yolks one at a time to incorporate. Add vanilla. Stop mixer.
- Into separate bowl sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Turn mixer back on low and add melted chocolate and mix 30 seconds until smooth. Then alternatively add dry ingredients and warm milk until all is incorporated – mix until smooth but do not overmix.
- In another bowl, whip up egg whites with a pinch of salt to soft peaks, then fold into batter.
- Divide batter between prepared cake pans. When leveling out batter, make a slight indentation in the center going outward as cake will rise more in the center. Bake in preheated oven 25 to 30 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean and cake is just firm. Immediately turn out layers onto cooling rack.
- When layers are cool, level cake layers by cutting off tops. Brush tops of cake layers evenly with rum syrup. Place first layer on an 8-inch cardboard circle and place one-third of the frosting on top layer and even out to about 1/2-inch thickness. Put second cake layer on top and repeat. Put third cake layer on top and frost side ans top of cake with remaining frosting.
- Lightly press jimmies into the side of the cake. Refrigerate at least one hour before serving.
*The frosting should be made only when cake layers are completely cooled and trimmed and ready to be frosted.
Out of cheapness I opted for a Bacardi gold rum instead of Meyer’s Dark. The guy at the liquor store told me Meyer’s would lend more flavor to the recipe but I’ve had drinks with dark rum and I can’t say I’ve really enjoyed them.
The batter for this cake was very thin. A lot thinner than what I imagined it would be; therefore, I didn’t find it necessary to make an indentation in the center of the pans. The batter just wasn’t thick enough to do so. I didn’t think that the cakes domed up too terribly high compared to other cakes I’ve made but I kept thinking something had to be wrong with the cake because the batter was so thin. I have a tendency of missing steps or fumbling the amounts of ingredients when I double a recipe. But I triple re-read the ingredients list and I know I used exactly what was called for in the recipe.
I didn’t get to try this cake until a few days after it was cut into. I asked my coworker Cody (my official baked goods taste tester) to try it with me. We both thought the cake was OK but nothing special. There’s something missing, Cody said. You mean like flavor? I asked him. Specifically – chocolate?
This recipe was clipped from the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and comes courtesy of Sanford D’Amato, a legendary Milwaukee chef. (I have a friend who studied under him at his restaurant, Sanford Restaurant.) I have to say I’m fairly disappointed in this recipe. There’s no way my mind can reconcile the fact that picture of the cake displayed with the recipe is an actual representation of the ingredients. I don’t think there’s anything that can convince me this recipe is supposed to yield that picture. I would have to physically see Chef D’Amato make this cake for me to believe it.