Basic Chocolate Cake
makes one 8-inch round layer cake or 2 dozen standard cupcakes
2.25 C AP flour
.75 C cocoa powder (a blend of dutch and regular rocks)
1 T baking powder
.25 t ground cinnamon
.5 C canola oil
1 2/3 C sugar
.5 t apple cider vinegar
2 C non-dairy milk*, measured over the vinegar
1 T vanilla extract
*coconut milk works quite well, but a blend of soy and almond milks is fantastic
Preheat the oven to 350 and oil two 8-inch round pans or line pans for 2 dozen cupcakes.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, powder, cinnamon and pepper and set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the oil and sugar until lighter in color and texture, scraping the bowl once or twice. With the mixer running on low speed, incorporate the flour mixture; process until well combined, scraping the bowl once. Add the milk mixture and vanilla and mix on low, scraping the bowl once, until well integrated.
Portion into pans and bake 30-40 minutes for rounds, 22-26 minutes for cupcakes. The cakes are ready when they spring back when lightly pressed. Cool in pans 15 minutes, cupcake pans 5 minutes, before unmolding. Cool completely before frosting.
5 oz semisweet chocolate, chips or finely chopped
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chips or finely chopped
6 fl oz non-dairy milk
1 t vanilla extract
Combine chocolates in a heatproof bowl.
Heat the milk to boiling in the microwave and pour over chocolate. Stir just to distribute the milk through the chocolate pieces and let stand, without stirring further, for 5 minutes. Starting in the center, stir the chocolate into the milk until the mixture begins to become cohesive. Increase stirring radius to homogenize the mixture. Stir in the vanilla extract.
Let cool til slightly thickened but not set before using.
1 recipe basic chocolate cake, baked in 8-inch rounds, sliced to level as needed
(if you prepared as 2 rounds, split to make 4, prepared as 3 rounds, let them be)
.5-.75C raspberry-blackberry preserves (depending on number of layers)
1 recipe chocolate coating, cooled slightly
Place one layer of cake, cut side up, on serving platter. Spread .25C of preserves evenly over cake, stopping about .25-inch short of the edge all around. Place second layer on top of coated first. Repeat the application of preserves on this round once or twice more, depending on layer number, taking care to position the final layer cut side down. The final layer should not have preserves on top.
Pour the chocolate coating onto the center of the top layer, letting the chocolate distribute itself over the cake. Egg on as needed, but do not overwork the coating. Wipe excess coating from servign platter as desired.
If desired, let the leftover coating set further until it is pipable and use a paper cone to decorate the cake top.