Favorite Fudge Birthday Cake
If you like chocolate, this will give you the fix!
- 2 cups (14 ounces) sugar
- 2 cups (8 1/2 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
- 2 tablespoons (3/8 ounce) Instant ClearJel® or cornstarch
- 3/4 cup (2 1/4 ounces) Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons espresso powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 4 large eggs
- 3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 1/4 cups (10 ounces) water
- 12 ounces semisweet chocolate
- 6 ounces cream (light, whipping, or heavy) or milk, or a combination*
- flavors of your choice (see filling directions below)
- 8 ounces semisweet chocolate
- 4 ounces cream (light, whipping, or heavy)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour (or grease, then line with parchment, then grease again) two 8" x 2" round cake pans. Note: These pans need to be at least 2" tall; if you have non-standard, shorter 8" pans, substitute 9" round pans.
- To make the cake: Whisk together the dry ingredients. Add the eggs, oil, and vanilla, beating until smooth. Gradually add the water, beating until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared pans.
- Bake the cakes for 35 to 38 minutes (a bit less if you use a 9" pan), or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn them out of the pans to cool completely on a rack.
- To make the filling: Combine the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the cream is very hot, and the chocolate very soft. Stir to melt the chocolate completely, reheating very briefly if necessary.
- Now you have a choice. You may either flavor the filling all one flavor, or use a different flavor for each layer of filling. For all one flavor, use 3 tablespoons of your favorite liqueur–Frangelico (hazelnut), Kahlua (coffee), or Framboise (raspberry) are all good choices. Or try 2 tablespoons rum. Alternatively, add 1 tablespoon espresso powder; or flavor to taste with a bottled extract (coconut, peppermint, cherry, almond…)
- To mix and match flavors, divide the filling into three parts, and flavor each differently to taste, with an extract; or with about 1 tablespoon liqueur for each flavor. Divide the cooled layers in half horizontally, to make four layers. Place one layer on a serving plate, and spread with filling. Repeat with the next two layers. Top with the final cake layer.
- To make the icing: Combine the chocolate and cream in a microwave-safe bowl, and heat until the cream is very hot, and the chocolate very soft. Stir to melt the chocolate completely, reheating very brief