I just had to try it. I mean, there is just so much chocolate involved here how could I not?
Recently I’ve been getting more and more used to serving really big groups without missing a beat, but I’m still learning new things all the time. Like that one thing about never serving baked potatoes and chili to a group of native Chileans, yep, and things like one-pot meals are your bff! I’d have to say though, one of the biggest and most consistent things I’ve learned is that chocolate wins every time. Seriously, no matter what the variation of age, gender, or size of the group, if you set a plate of something chocolate and non-chocolate side by side the chocolate will go first regardless of what it’s next to. That’s probably why I’ve had chocolate on the brain more than usual.
Brooklyn Blackout cake has been circulating around the food blogosphere a bit recently and I’ve been dying to make it since the first time I saw it. After deciding to try it though, I thought it would be a perfect thing to add to my list to do for October. It’s not necessarily for Halloween per se, but you have to admit it goes well with the theme. All that dark chocolate and a name to match makes these nearly spooky, don’t you think?
So what is it? Well, for on thing, it’s traditionally made as a full-size cake, I just thought cupcakes would be fun. It’s extra dark chocolate cake filled with layers of equally dark chocolate pudding then frosted with the same pudding and covered with cake crumbs. It’s a genius idea really, especially for less experienced bakers who might need a little help getting away with small mistakes. It originated from the Ebinger Baking Company in Brooklyn New York during World War II. Named after the blackout drills preformed to protect departing battleships from being spotted by enemy planes, it quickly became one of the most iconic bakery flavors in the area. Sadly though, the company went out of business and the cake has faded from recent generation’s memories. I have a feeling it’s on its way to a comeback though.
The original recipe for this cake is kept under lock and key, so most recipes you’ll find are people’s best attempts at getting close to the original. Obviously I can’t vouch for authenticity, as I’ve never tried another version, but I can say that this recipe was a major crowd pleaser. I should probably throw in a little disclaimer here too ’cause I’d really rather not spend my weekend getting angry comments from native Brooklynites saying how this is so not the real thing. This is my interpretation of what the cake should be and nothing more. I played around with a few different recipes but I kept coming back to my ultimate favorite chocolate cake recipe so I just adapted that to make it even darker. I added a bit of frosting to go with the pudding because, let’s face it, that’s the best part of a cake anyway.
I wanted to make some kind of cute toppers to distinguish the flavor from your everyday chocolate cupcake so I did some edible doodling with plain old dark chocolate and a piping bag until I got some designs that I liked. You can leave these with just the crumbs on top if you prefer.
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon strong black coffee
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 teapoon vanilla extract
- 3 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 3 tablespoons strong black coffee
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1/3 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- Whisk sugar, salt, coffee, cocoa, and milk in a large mixing bowl. Slowly whisk in corstarch until very smooth. Pour mixture into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly until it begins to thicken enough to coat the back of a spoon.
- Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. If any lumps have formed pour pudding through a sieve into a clean bowl. Cover with plastic wrap directly on top to prevent it from forming a film. Allow it to cool until no longer hot to touch then place in fridge to chill for at least 2 hours before filling cupcakes.
- Preheat oven to 350° F (180° C) and combine butter and sugar in large mixing bowl and whisk until smooth. Add buttermilk, and coffee, then beat in eggs. Mix in salt, vanilla, and soda, then cocoa powder and flour and stir until batter is smooth.
- Line 2 cupcake pans with about 14 paper liners (or you can just grease the pan). Divide batter among them, filling each cup about 3/4 of the way full. You won't use every slot so just remove extra liners and leave them empty. Bake for about 20-22 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center.
- Cool for at least 5 minutes then loosen cupcakes from pan and place on a wire rack to finish cooling.
- Beat butter and powdered sugar in a stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment until combined. Add milk, salt, and vanilla and slowly beat in. Scrape down sides of bowl and add cocoa then beat on high for 2 to 3 minutes until light and fluffy.
- Choose 1 or 2 of your least perfect cupcakes and crumble them into small crumbs, set aside. Fit a pastry bag with a large round top and fill with pudding. Pipe pudding into the center of each cupcake through the top.
- Fit a second pastry bag with a smaller tip, I used a star tip, and pipe frosting onto tops of cupcakes as desired. Sprinkle reserved cake crumbs over top.
- For the chocolate toppers I just used melted dark chocolate and piped it onto parchment with a very small tip and placed them in freezer for a few minutes to get solid.