Brooklyn Blackout Cake recipe
We’ve got a busy few weeks ahead of entertaining. Part of me loves it, but part of me would love to just lie on the sofa all weekend watching crap telly. What I do love doing is lying in bed at night menu planning and this Brooklyn Blackout Cake keeps popping into my head for when you need something huge, chocolatey and impressive to serve to the people you love/are getting drunk with.
A Brooklyn Blackout cake was made by a Brooklyn based *obviously* bakery during the second world war, named after the mandatory blackouts which blighted the city. This cake is a whopper; it’s rich, dark and *eek* moist and, brilliantly, a one bowl affair. The three layers are then filled and covered in a rich chocolate custard filling; a modicum of thinking ahead is required here as it takes a few hours, or overnight if you’re very well prepared, to chill and set. The whole business is dark, creamy, not too sweet and makes such a brilliant dessert or celebratory offering.
I’ve made this cake three times in three weeks and each time to a resounding chorus of oohs and aahs. If you’ve got a crowd to feed, or a massively sweet tooth, then this Brooklyn Blackout should feature in your night time menu planning for sure.
Here are the cake ingredients for your delectation. My local supermarket has stopped selling buttermilk, so I just thin Greek yoghurt with a little milk, or just use thinner natural yoghurt.
And here are the spectacular chocolate custard filling ingredients. I upped the cornflour from the original recipe, to thicken the filling, as one of my first attempts slipped off the sides of the cake and required a bit of redistribution/replastering.
Due to the chilling time, and the fact you can make it a day in advance, start your baking session by making the aforementioned filling. In a large saucepan, add the milk, sugar, cocoa and golden syrup. Over a low heat, bring it up to the boil, whisking as you go.
Whilst you’re heating this mixture, in a small bowl whisk 60g cornflour with 75ml water until you have a thickish, lump free mixture. Once the chocolate milk mix has come up to the boil, slowly pour in the cornflour liquid, whisking all the time.
Cook the custard style filling for 2 to 3 minutes until thick and bubbling.
Take off the heat and whisk in the butter and vanilla extract then, once well mixed, scrape and pour the custard into a cling lined baking tray to cool. Cover the top of the custard with more cling film layer to ensure you don’t get a skin forming.
This can now go in the fridge until completely cooled and set, or overnight.
Now, for the cake. This is such an easy cake to make. Start by lining the 3 x 20cm round cake pans and pre heating the oven to 160 degrees fan assisted. Next whisk the dry ingredients until well mixed.
Now for the wet ingredients. Melt the butter in a pan or in the microwave then mix this with the buttermilk, or yoghurt, milk, eggs and vanilla until smooth-ish.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry, and whisk/beat until lump free and super chocolately.
Trying not to bury your face in the bowl, scrape the batter, in even portions, into the three buttered tins.
Bake your three layer cakes for 20 to 25 minutes until just firm to the touch and a skewer comes out clean when poked in the middle and they smell like chocolate heaven. Leave them to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack to chill completely.
When you’re ready to assemble your blackout cake, trim the cakes so they’re level with a flat surface for icing. Keep the off cuts, you’ll need these later for decorative crumbs.
And now it’s time to slather on your chilled and set chocolate filling. My tip of the day is to place two sheets of baking paper, overlapping in the middle, on your serving plate to avoid a whole messy chocolately plate situation. Once you’ve finished icing the cake, you can carefully slide/pull each piece of paper out from under the cake.
Place your first cake onto the lined plate and slather with a generous dollop of chocolate. Repeat with the other two cakes.
Now, if you haven’t eaten the rest of the filling, slather it all over the top and sides of the cake, smoothing it on with a palette knife.
At this point, if you haven’t eaten the cake off cuts too, crumble them or blitz them into crumbs. Scatter these artfully *messily* onto the tops and sides of the cake. Not only is this the classic decoration for the cake, it covers up my mediocre icing skills.
Pop this in the fridge for at least an hour to set firm. You can then slide the paper out from under your plate to reveal a clean plate *hopefully*. Cut into modest slices and serve as a dessert with cream or ice cream, or straight up, with a cup of tea, or celebratory glass of something.
This is so dark, rich and decadent. If you’re entertaining this weekend, this celebratory cake is almost certainly fit for a King.
Brooklyn Blackout cake recipe
Serves 10 to 12, or less, or more, dependent on greed and portion control
You will just need bowls and 3 x 20cm well buttered round cake tins
350ml whole milk
300g caster sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
50g cocoa powder
50g butter, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250g plain flour
325g light soft brown sugar
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
284ml buttermilk, or use plain yoghurt, if you use Greek, thin it down with a splash of milk
150ml whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Ice cream or double cream, to serve, if you like
Start the day (or at least allowing 4 to 5 hours chilling time) before you’re assembling this cake by making the chocolate custard filling as it will need plenty of time to chill.
Take a large saucepan and add the milk, sugar, cocoa and golden syrup and whisk whilst you heat over a low to medium flame until just coming up to the boil, then turn down the heat. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornflour and water until you have a smooth paste. Drizzle this mixture into the pan, whisking continuously as you go. Bring up to the simmer and cook or a further 2 to 3 minutes until the chocolate custard is thick and shiny.
Take off the heat and stir in the butter and vanilla extract. Scrape into a flat baking tray, lined with cling film, cover with another sheet of cling film to stop a skin forming, and leave to chill in the fridge until set and cold. I find leaving this overnight works best, but if time is tight then just leave in the fridge until it’s chilled.
Pre heat your oven to 160 degrees fan assisted and butter/oil/spray 3 x 20cm round sandwich cake pans. For the cake, take a large bowl and whisk together the plain flour, cocoa, soft brown sugar and bicarbonate of soda. Melt the butter, then whisk this together with the buttermilk or yoghurt, milk, vanilla and eggs until you have a smoothish batter. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and whisk together until you have thick, lump-free mixture.
Scrape this, in equal quantities, into the 3 cake tins and level the tops. Put into the pre heated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the tops of the cakes are firm to the touch and a skewer comes out clean when poked in the middle. Leave them to cool slightly in their tins, then turn the cakes out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
When you’re ready to assemble your cake, and this can be one to two days before you’re eating it, level the cakes so they’re flat using a bread knife, keeping the scraps for decoration. Remove the chilled chocolate filling from the fridge and slather a good dollop on the top of your first cake, place another on top, slather on more icing then place the final cake on top. Cover the rest of the cake with the filling, smoothing with a palette knife to create an even-ish layer.
Crumble your leftover bits of cake, or blitz in a mixer to create crumbs. Sprinkle these on the tops and sides of your cake then place in the fridge, for at least an hour or until ready to eat. Remove the cake from the fridge 30 minutes before serving, in modest slices, with cream or ice cream, if yours is a dessert, or just with a cup of coffee if not.
The cake will keep, well covered, in the fridge for 2 to 3 days.