Cake has layers of custard


January 23, 2002|By Ellen Hawks | Ellen Hawks,SUN STAFF

Theresa Dorrill of Baltimore wrote that she wanted a recipe for "a blackout cake." She says it "was featured on the Sweet Treats cooking show. It is a chocolate cake with a puddinglike filling which is also an icing."

Joan Jenkins of Laurel answered: "I am responding to the request of Theresa Dorrill. She thought the recipe was on a show called Sweet Treats. I immediately thought that it might have come from Gale Gand's show called Sweet Dreams on the Food Network. Here is the recipe from that show that I took directly off the Web site I hope it helps. Courtesy of Gale Gand, Butter Sugar Flour Eggs, by Gale Gand, Rick Tramonto, Julia Moskin; Clarkson Potter Publishers, 1999."


3 cups water, divided use

2 1/2 cups sugar

1 tablespoon corn syrup

1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder

scant 2/3 cup cornstarch

6 tablespoons ( 3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

To make custard, pour 2 1/2 cups water, sugar, corn syrup and cocoa powder into a large, nonreactive saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, whisking occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the remaining 1/2 cup water and the cornstarch. Whisk into the cocoa mixture in the saucepan and return the mixture to a boil, whisking constantly.

Cook, whisking constantly, until very thick, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla. Pour into a bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill until firm, about 45 minutes.

To finish cake, place a cake layer on a cake plate or serving platter (reserving the most even layer for the top) and spread with a layer of custard. Top with another layer of cake, then custard, then the final layer of cake. Cover the top and sides of the cake with the remaining custard. Coat the cake with the cake crumbs. Chill until ready to serve, at least 2 hours. Serve the same day.

Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "This is a delicious and striking-looking cake: The crumbs on top give it a shaggy appearance.

"As the recipe states, it should be eaten on the day it is made; if not, the crumbs begin to disintegrate in the pudding `frosting.' The whole thing gets gummy by the next day. The ... pudding layers make ice cream or whipped cream unnecessary."

Brooklyn Blackout Cake

Serves 12 to 16

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened to room temperature

1/4 cup vegetable shortening

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 cups cake flour

1 cup whole or 2 percent milk

custard (recipe follows)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch cake pans. Cut 2 circles of parchment paper or waxed paper to fit the bottoms of the pans, then press them in.

Using a hand mixer, cream the butter and shortening together. Add the sugar and mix until light and fluffy. One by one, add the eggs, mixing after each addition.

With the mixer running at low speed, add the vanilla, cocoa, baking power, baking soda and salt; mix. With the mixer still running at low speed, add about 1/3 of the cake flour, then about 1/3 of the milk, and mix. Repeat with the remaining cake flour and milk; mix. Pour into the prepared pans and bake until dry and springy to the touch and a tester inserted into the center comes out clean (a few crumbs are OK), 30 to 35 minutes.

Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks and let cool completely to room temperature.

Using a long serrated knife, cut the cake layers in half horizontally. Reserving 3 halves for the cake, put the remaining half in a food processor, breaking it up with your hands. Pulse into fine crumbs.

Recipe requests

Peg Licht of Baltimore is seeking a "Caesar salad dressing like that served at the new Towne Hall Restaurant in Green Spring Station. It is the best ever."

Tammy Reeping of Baltimore writes: "Hi! I'm looking for a recipe for a chicken quesadilla like the one that Pargo's Restaurant, now closed, used to serve. I cannot find another that can compare."

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, MD 21278. If you send more than one recipe, please put each on a separate sheet of paper with your name, address and daytime phone number. Important: Please list the ingredients in order of use, and note the number of servings each recipe makes. Please type or print contributions. Letters may be edited.

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