Friday Food: Brooklyn Blackout Cake

You can all breathe a sigh of relief! It’s the end of January and so I thought we all deserved (at least a picture of) a big piece of chocolate cake!

I also decided to post this particular recipe as it’s one of the cakes I’ve made for the cake table this evening at Pete’s birthday party, at his request. We have a tradition now of him leafing through the The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbookand choosing his own cake. This one is pretty spectacular and although I would have liked mine to turn out taller, it’s still very impressive. A must for chocolate fanatics or anyone just wishing to celebrate the end of January! 😉

Image Credit: Zoe Bakes.

100g unsalted butter, at room temperature
260g caster sugar
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
45g cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
a pinch of salt
170g plain flour
160 ml whole milk

For the chocolate custard:
500g caster sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
125g cocoa powder
200g cornflour
85g unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 x 20cm cake tins, base-lined with greaseproof paper

1. Preheat oven to 170 degrees celcius (Gas 3)

2. Put the butter and sugar in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or a handheld electric whisk)
and cream until light and fluffy.
Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well and scraping any unmixed ingredients from the side of the bowl
with a rubber spatula after each addition.
Turn the mixer down down to slow speed and beat in the vanilla extract, cocoa powder,
baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt until well mixed.
Add half the flour, then all the milk, and finish with the remaining flour.
Mix well until everything is well combined.

3. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tins and smooth over with a palette knife.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 mins.
Leave the cakes to cool slightly in the tins
before turning out onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.

4. For the chocolate custard: Put the sugar, golden syrup, cocoa powder and 600ml of water
into a large saucepan and bring to the boil over medium heat, whisking occasionally.

5. Mix in the cornflour with 120ml of water, then whisk into the cocoa mixture in the saucepan.
Bring back to boil , whisking constantly.
Cook until very thick, about 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in the butter and vanilla extract.
Pour the custard into a bowl, cover with clingfilm and chill until very firm.

6. When the cakes are cold, using a serrated knife, slice a thin layer off one of the cakes.
Put this layer into a food processor and process to make fine crumbs.
Put one cake on a cake stand and spread about one-quarter of the chocolate custard over it with a palette knife.
Place a second cake on top and spread another quarter of the custard over it.
Top with the last cake and spread the remaining custard over the top and sides.
Cover with the cake crumbs and chill for about 2 hours.

How much do you just want to shove your face in that?

Birthdays are the best 🙂


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17 thoughts on “Friday Food: Brooklyn Blackout Cake

  1. Sweet Lord! I was impressed with myself making a Mississippi Mud Pie last weekend, so I’d better keep my husband away from this, lest he start suggesting I make this too!
    Rebecca I’m guessing there will be none of this left by the end of the party!


    • Mahj, this morning I was icing this baby (after making the ‘eggless custard’ yesterday) and it looks immense. The icing isn’t as much of a faff as it looks either and tastes like a ganache.

      Honestly, if I dont get a slice this evening….!

  2. Looks delicious-I was looking for a new recipe for this weekend and I think I’ve just found it.

    Thanks Rebecca! 

  3. Hello again everyone. I almost want you all to stop commenting so I can stop thinking about this cake sat at home. It’s going to be all I can do to actually get it to the party without eating any!

    Anna K – I will be knife in hand – trying to look like I’m welcoming people to try a slice but just menacing enough to make the think again 😉

    Becky – I have to admit – I have cheated a little and forgone the crumb topping. It seems quite integral but the recipe suggests that you slice a layer off one of the cakes and then blitz it to make the crumbs. I wanted a tall cake and my layers were a bit flat, so I decided I had none to spare. Plus it does look like you need a few – has anyone else made it and solved the crumb problem?
    I think I may add some colourful sprinkles instead 😉

    Rachie. You truly are the hostess with the mostess! 🙂 Love your halloween table!


  4. Very jealous of Pete’s birthday cake. There’s no way on earth Mr R will bake something quite do yummy (or in fact anything at all) for mine on Sunday. Enjoy..

  5. Ooooh I made this for my friend’s birthday last year. I have to say I had the opposite problem from Rachie and made my custard too thick, which made it pretty difficult to spread over the cake….but it was truly delicious!! (Even if I do say so myself….).


  6. Yum that looks like awesome cake. I think I will be celebrating the end of Jan with something chocolatey as well, I got the Green & Blacks recipe book for my birthday and all the recipes look delicious. Going to have an experiment at the weekend.

  7. Help! I can only seem to make lumpy chocolate custard, me and corn flour don’t appear to be friends…any suggestions? Xxx

  8. I made this earlier today! It looked and tasted amazing but I also had the problem that the custard was a bit too thick and had a few wee lumps in it. However, I kept whisking vigourously and it seemed to be ok.

    I also didn’t use the crumbs, but used chocolate flakes (the ones that are like chocolate sprinkles but flatter) and it did make a difference to the presentation!

    Overall, an amazing cake, so good that I am making it again tomorrow for a leaving do at work!

  9. Hi Sharon – I was reminded of my girl guide days when I made the cornflour, that solid them liquid texture is so weird! I had a few lumps in my custard but once spread out it didn’t seem obvious at all and it doesn’t affect the taste 😉

    When I posted the recipe I hadn’t made the cake, but I made it for Pete’s birthday just after and having scoffed a piece today I can vouch for it being amazing. There is way more custard icing than I needed – may I suggest slicing a croissant and spreading some inside before warming as an alternative use for it? 🙂

    Laura – I had that thought and reckon it would hide any cosmetic (lumpy) errors too, bonus!


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