Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Chocolate Layer Cake

So I have recently discovered that I like mayonnaise. For most of my life, the condiment grossed me out. I blame my first kitchen job at a deli where I had to "change out" the mayo container twice a day. To "change out" meant to transfer the old mayo to a new container on top of fresh mayo from the cooler. Picture it... my unskilled hands, a floppy spatula and room temperature mayonnaise... not the ideal combination. 

Over the years my spatula skills have gotten better, but until about a month ago I would only eat mayonnaise if it was barely there (like a thin layer on a sandwich.) 

And now, for some reason, I like it. In a not-so thin layer kind of way. It started out small, a little more mayonnaise on my breakfast sandwich. Aaaand now I have gone and put mayo all up in this chocolate cake. It sounds off putting, I know. But mayo is just eggs, oil and a dash of salt... ingredients you would normally add to a cake. It makes sense. It also makes for one of the best chocolate cakes I have eaten. 

See, you can't even tell there is a cup of mayo in the batter... am I selling it?

I frosted this decadent cake with a Swiss meringue buttercream. It is light, fluffy and flavored with a bit of milk chocolate . It is a dream. Get after it.

Chocolate Layer Cake
makes two 8" rounds

2 c AP flour
2/3 c cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
1 2/3 c sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 c mayonnaise
1 1/3 cups water
- - -
*pre-heat oven to 350F; line two 8" round cake pans with parchment paper and mist bottom/sides of pans with baking spray1. In medium bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda and baking powder; set aside
2. In a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla for 3 minutes on high speed until light and fluffy
3. Add mayonnaise on low speed until blended
4. Alternately beat in flour mixture with water, beginning and ending with flour mixture
5. Divide batter equally between the prepared pans.
6. Bake at 350 for 30-35 minutes or until toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean
7. Cool cakes in pan for 10 minutes before removing from pans; cool completely
8. Frost & fill the cooled cake layers as desired**

** I used a Swiss meringue buttercream that I flavored with melted milk chocolate. Recipe follows! Other good frosting options: basic buttercream, IMBC, or ganache!

Milk Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream
frosts/fills a 2-layer 8" cake
3 egg whites
1 c sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla 
2 sticks butter (unsalted); softened but slightly cool
2 milk chocolate bars (3 oz total)
- - -
1. Over a double broiler, heat sugar and egg whites, whisking constantly until sugar is dissolved and mixture is hot to the touch (it will look opaque)
2. Transfer mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment; add vanilla and whip on high for 7-10 minutes (until completely cool to the touch)... it will look like marshmallow!
3. While the meringue is whipping, melt your chocolate in the microwave; cool slightly
4. Once meringue is cool, add butter 1 Tablespoon at a time with mixer on medium speed
5. Increase mixer speed to high; buttercream will look curdled at first... KEEP WHIPPING it will soon become soft and glossy
6. Add melted/cooled chocolate to the buttercream once it comes together and mix on medium until the chocolate is completely incorporated
7. Frost away!

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