Monday, March 30, 2009

How to Make Chocolate Espresso Cake and Keep Your Sanity

Chocolate Espresso Layer Cake
2 cups sugar
1 ½ cups all purpose flour, sifted
½ teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup espresso
2 eggs
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup sour cream

Two 9-inch cake molds, buttered or sprayed and parchment paper rounds on the bottom
Chocolate Ganache or Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting
Recipe to Follow


1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Melt chocolate over double boiler and add coffee. Try to be subtle at the waiter’s station when making the four espressos necessary to fill one cup. Otherwise Fernando, the morning waiter, sneaks up behind you and sings “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” in a high pitched whine while trying to convince you that he is not an illegal alien, he is actually a Martian.

2. Whisk the vanilla, oil, and sour cream together, add mixture to melted chocolate. Be careful at the dishwasher’s station when depositing the whisk, Juan the 60- something-year-old dishwasher tends to get angry if you get chocolate in the dirty silverware bin. You don’t want to get Juan or his white bushy moustache angry. Rinse it off first in your hand-washing sink unless you feel like mopping up your own station.

3. In three parts, fold the dry ingredients into the wet, making sure that there are no lumps. Measure out 2 and a half cups of batter for each pan. Bake for about 15 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Please, please, please, I’m begging you, do not leave this cake unattended. Make sure it cools down in front of you, and don’t turn your back for a second, as it’s bound to disappear. There has been an epidemic of pastry related thefts in the kitchen, and my money is on the executive chef. Chef has been known to eat entire cakes and then claim they were sold, even when there are no customers on the books. Much like the batches of cookies that disappear from the freezer. “Well I had to make more because I put them in the oven and they got too dark.” Apparently it’s not her fault, it’s the oven’s. Infallible logic. Remember that time that you made the delicious pudding pie? Graham cracker crust, bittersweet chocolate pudding, whipped cream- just like Keebler’s crust, My-T-Fine, and Cool Whip, only better. Oh how the customer's loved it. Remember that time that half of the pudding went missing but there was only one ticket for it? I'm not pointing any fingers but I will say that I saw graham cracker crumbs on her cutting board. But you shouldn’t complain, you can’t, you are just a lowly worker. What you can do is frost that moist, rich, cake, the kind that she loves, cut a huge slice, and give it to Juan.

Sour Cream Chocolate Frosting

1 cup semisweet chocolate
4 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar

1. Melt chocolate and the butter together. Let cool and blend in the sour cream, vanilla, and salt. Gradually add the confectioner's sugar until the frosting is of spreading consistency, beat well.

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