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Special-Occasion Chocolate Cake

 Special-Occasion Chocolate Cake
“This cake won Grand Champion at the 2000 Alaska State Fair,” and you will see why once you taste it. This decadent chocolate cake boasts a luscious ganache filling and fudge buttercream frosting. —Cindi Paulson, Anchorage, Alaska
12 ServingsPrep: 40 min. + chilling Bake: 25 min. + cooling

Ingredients

  • 1 cup baking cocoa
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 2-1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-3/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • GANACHE:
  • 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • FROSTING:
  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 cup baking cocoa
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • GARNISH:

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Special-Occasion Chocolate Cake (continued)

Ingredients (continued)

  • 3/4 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Directions

  • In a small bowl, combine cocoa and water; set aside. In a large bowl,
  • cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a
  • time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Combine the
  • flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt; add to creamed mixture
  • alternately with cocoa mixture, beating well after each addition.
  • Pour into three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at
  • 350° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the
  • center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from
  • pans to wire racks to cool completely.
  • For ganache, place chocolate in a small bowl. In a small heavy
  • saucepan over low heat, bring cream and sugar to a boil. Pour over
  • chocolate; whisk gently until smooth. Refrigerate for 35-45 minutes
  • or until ganache begins to thicken, stirring occasionally.
  • For frosting, in a large bowl, beat butter until fluffy. Add the
  • confectioners' sugar, cocoa, milk and vanilla; beat until smooth.
  • Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with 1 cup frosting.
  • Top with second layer and 1 cup ganache; sprinkle with 1/2 cup
  • almonds. Top with third layer; frost top and sides of cake. Warm
  • ganache until pourable; pour over cake, allowing some to drape down
  • the sides. Sprinkle with remaining almonds. Refrigerate until
  • serving. Yield: 12 servings.
Nutritional Facts: 1 slice equals 961 calories, 51 g fat (29 g saturated fat), 178 mg cholesterol, 574 mg sodium, 123 g carbohydrate, 5 g fiber, 11 g protein.