When we entertain, I almost always decide on dessert first. I'm still much more comfortable baking than I am cooking, plus I'm usually dealing with fewer dietary restrictions (and general pickiness) when it comes to dessert so it's an easier place to start the menu. A few weeks ago, I told you what we served for our Christmas meal, but you may have noticed I neglected to mention dessert. This glazed chocolate cake was that missing piece.
Truthfully, I probably didn't need to bake anything else. There were a ton of cookies in the house plus I'd also made fudge and had Meyer lemon pound cake on hand, but I can never leave well enough alone. Besides, it was Christmas - you can never have too many desserts(!), and I knew Shane would like this chocolate cake more than any of the other options.
It wound up being a good call to make the cake - I think it was probably the most popular option with everyone that day :) As much as I love the grandeur of a big multi-layer cake, sometimes simple does the trick. This chocolate cake is moist and fluffy, it really has a great texture. It's topped with a simple ganache glaze that is not only rich and chocolatey, but also shiny so it makes the cake just a little more special. The sprinkles are optional, but I think the pop of color on this otherwise dark cake adds a festive touch! Raspberries around the edge would also be nice, both for color and flavor (love the chocolate/raspberry combo!); I'll use them for sure if they're in season next time I make this recipe. And there will definitely be a next time!
Easy Glazed Chocolate Cake
from Gourmet, December 2010 (via Epicurious)
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk, at room temperature
3.5 oz bittersweet chocolate (60% or less cacao), finely chopped
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
sprinkles, optional garnish
Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9-inch round cake with nonstick cooking spray with flour. Line the bottom of the pan with a parchment round and spray the round with the cooking spray.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and brown sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then mix in the vanilla. With the mixer on low, alternately add the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2, starting and ending with the dry ingredients. The batter might look curdled, that's ok.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let the cake cool for 5 minutes then turn it out onto the rack to cool completely (at least an hour).
To make the glaze: While the cake is cooling, add the chocolate to a heatproof bowl. Add the cream to a small saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Pour the cream over the chocolate and let it stand (ie don't stir) for 1 minute. Then, gently whisk the mixture until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Mix in the corn syrup. Allow the glaze to cool completely, gently stirring it a few times as it does. The glaze will thicken as it cools.
Pour the glaze into the center of the cooled cake. Use an offset spatula to spread the glaze to the edges (it should be thick enough that it's not running down the sides). Garnish with the sprinkles.