Sirius Black (Out) Cake

November 20, 2009 Ella
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I’m a big Harry Potter Fan.  I didn’t start reading these books until recently.  I figured by the time the fifth movie came out that it was time to join the rest of the population. Little did I know what a guilty pleasure these books are.  The further I get in this series the more I’m aghast at just how huge J.K. Rowling’s imagination is.  

My favorite Character (I’m reading The Half Blood Prince currently) is Sirius Black.  I didn’t think it was possible to have a crush on a fictional story book character…it is.  (If you haven’t read the Potter books, stop reading this blog and go to the Library.  –Spoiler Alert) Sirius is a wrongly accused felon, escaped convict, member of the rebel organization Order of the Phoenix, general outlaw, and Harry’s Godfather.  Sirius is misunderstood, bruding, and the way Gary Oldman portrays him in the movies is just wonderful.

So here is a spin on a recipe straightout of my grandmother’s kitchen.  Black Out Cake was big in the 1950’s.  Traditionally this is a multi layered chocolate cake, covered in chocolate frosting with layers of chocolate pudding in between.  The signature mark of a Black Out Cake is the chocolate cake crumbs crushed against the sides of the cake.  I looked around, improvised and decided to just take license with the amount of chocolate in this recipe as I wanted this not to be just a Black out Cake, but a Sirius (seriously) blackout Cake.

Sirius Black (Out) Cake:

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup of milk

2 1/4 flour

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 c unsalted butter

1/4 shortening

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 bar bittersweet chocolate (ghiradelli is what I used.)

The bittersweet chocolate was not originally in this recipe.  Melt in a double boiler or like I did, place it in a oven safe bowl and pop it into your preheating oven (350 degrees).  It only takes a few minutes to start melting.  Take it out and stir and you’ll find you don’t have to have it completely melted in the oven, stirring it will finish the melting process. Remember its very easy to burn chocolate!!  Let the bitter sweet chocolate cool, but not harden.

Sift your dry ingredients: flour, soda, powder, salt.  Set aside.

Whisk together milk and cocoa.  The mixture will become a thick mousse like consistency.  Set aside.

Cocoa and Milk

Combine butter, shortening, and sugar until FLUFFY.  Trust me you’ll want to stop beating this at the crumbly stage, but mix until its legitamately FLUFFY.  Add one egg at a time, beating well after each egg.  Now add dry ingredients and milk ingredients alternating.  

By the way this is the classic process in making homemade spongey cake:  

1. Beat butter and sugar till fluffy.

2. Add one egg at a time

3. Alternate flour mix and milk, starting and ending with flour.  

Alright we are almost done.  Fold in the bittersweet chocolate, remember it shouldn’t be hot and it should still be a liquid consistency. 

Grease with butter or shortening then dust with thin layer of flour

Pour batter into two 8″ or 9″ round pans.  (butter and flour the pans) And cook for apprx 30 minutes.  The addition of the bittersweet chocolate makes this cake more like a brownie and more likely to dry out so make sure not to overcook.

Filling:

2/3 c white sugar

2 Tbsp cornstarch

1/4 tsp salt

1 1/2 c milk (2%)

1 tsp vanilla extract

3 oz. unsweetened chocolate OR 3 oz 100% cocoa ghiradelli chocolate. (Siriusly take license with the chocolate!)

Combine everything over low heat.  Increase heat  to medium, whisking constantly until pudding is boiling.  Remove from heat.  Place in a bowl with plastic wrap against surface of pudding so it doesn’t form a skin (eww pudding skin!).  Refridgerate until cool.

Make chocolate butter cream icing. (Ingredients: butter and /or shortening, vanilla extract, water, Unsweetened cocoa powder, powdered sugar.)There is a video with it if you forget how. Click Butter Cream on the side bar.

You’ll also want to make Ganache.  Ganache is semisweet chocolate and heavy cream.  I used 16oz. chocolate and 8oz. of cream, melted and whisked over low heat.  You can do a 1:1 ratio.  Ganache can be heated and used as a syrup, cooled slightly and piped, or spread like a frosting.  Its pretty awesome in terms of versatility.

OKAY.  So when your cake is cool slice each layer in half (horizontally).  Now you will have a 4 layer cake.  You could go as far as 3 times if your cake is thick enough. Pipe a ring of frosting around the bottom layer and fill in with pudding.  Stack the next layer and repeat.  Now frost the cake with butter cream and refrigerate.  Once the cake has “crusted” meaning you can touch the icing with your hand and it doesn’t stick, instead it is smooth and hard–has a layer of crust– you are ready to cover with ganache.

Its best to assemble this cake on a cardboard cake circle that is the exact same size– so an 8″ circle for an 8″ cake.  This will allow you to move the cake around, pour Ganache over it without messing up the board or plate you will ultimately display the cake on.  If by this point your ganache has hardened, reheat in the microwave, or over low heat or by placing in a bath of warm water.  Mix to assure that all the ganache is melted and smooth.

Place a tall sturdy cup on a large cookie sheet.  Place cake on top of cup.   You can now pour the ganache over the cake– be generous and just DUMP it!  push ganache toward the side with a long metal spatula.  Excess will drip onto cookie sheet, and you can reuse this extra on other cakes later.  Once cake is covered make one smooth pulling motion across the top of the cake to assure that the layer of ganache is even– this will also give you a smooth top.

Like I said Ganache can also be piped.  I added some black food coloring to my leftover ganache and placed in a piping bag and just swirled it all over the cake.  I was trying to imitate all the cool prison tattoos Sirius has.  I thought this was a bit cooler than crumbing the side.

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Entry Filed under: Breads and Pastry,Gumpaste,Holiday Gifts

4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Dorne M  |  January 21, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    Hi Ella!!

    Geting ready to try your chocolate blackout cake for a function tomorrow, but have a little problem. It’s saying 1/2 butter…is it 1/2 stick, 1/2 pounds?

    HELP…and see you on Saturday!

    • 2. Ella  |  January 22, 2010 at 6:59 pm

      its 1/2 c or 1 whole stick of butter. thanks for pointing out the typo!

  • 3. debra  |  February 16, 2010 at 4:55 pm

    Hi Ella,
    I was in your December wilton fondnant & gum paste class. In your Sirius Black (out) Cake, I was wondering about the 1/4 shortening, When do you add it? I realize that there is shortening in the buttercream icing but that is a different recipe.

    • 4. Ella  |  February 17, 2010 at 8:07 pm

      Hey Debra,

      Beat the shortening and butter with the sugar. And its a 1/2 cup of butter. I realized I had a few vague directions in this post but they are up to date now. Good LUCK!


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