If ever there was a showstopping cake, this is it. If you’ve never had the pleasure of eating Brooklyn Blackout Cake, let me tell you what makes it so special. It’s chocolate cake layered with a beautiful, pudding-like filling and coated with cake crumbs. The chocolate flavor is intense, but oh-so magical. I simply love this cake.
1 stick unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the pan
2 1/4 cups cake flour, plus more for dusting
1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder (Do NOT use Dutch-process, it will make the cake taste soapy)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
3 cups water
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 1/2 cups unsweetened natural cocoa powder (Do NOT use Dutch-process, it will make the cake taste soapy)
2/3 cup cornstarch
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
To make the cake
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Coat two 9-inch round cake pans with butter and lightly dust with flour, then line the bottoms of the cake pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, use a whisk attachment to beat together the butter and shortening. Now add the sugar and beat for 3 minutes on medium-speed until the mixture is fluffy. One at a time, add in the eggs and beat after each addition. Now mix in the vanilla. Turn the mixer to low speed and add in the cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make sure to scrape the sides of the bowl and then add in the cake flour and milk, a little at a time and alternating between the two. Stop mixing after combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans, distributing the batter evenly between the two pans and smoothing out the tops. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes. The center should be set & a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake should come out clean (a few crumbs may come out and that’s just fine). Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes in the pans. Invert the cakes from pans onto a wire cooling rack to cool completely.
To make the Filling
Whisk together a 1/2 cup of water with the cornstarch and set aside. Combine the remaining 2 1/2 cups of water with the sugar, corn syrup, and cocoa powder in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. When the mixture reaches a boil, pour in the cornstarch mixture. Continue to cook and whisk over medium-high heat for a few minutes, the mixture will become very thick. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter, vanilla, and salt. Pour the filling into a bowl, cool for a few minutes and then place plastic wrap directly on top of the mixture. Cool in the refrigerator for 45 minutes.
To Assemble the Cake
Use a serrated knife to cut both of the cakes in half horizontally. Take the least attractive of the top layers and break into crumbs, either by pulsing a few times in a food processor or by smashing into crumbs in a plastic bag. Place one of the cake bottoms on a cake stand and spread 1 1/2 cups of the filling on top. Place the second cake bottom on top and spread with another 1 1/2 cups of the filling. Finally, place the top cake layer on top and spread the remaining filling (should be about 2 cups worth) over the top and sides of the cake. Now pat the cake crumbs over the entire cake. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 45 minutes before slicing and serving. Enjoy!
Butter & flour 2 9-inch cake pans.
Put parchment paper on the bottom of the pans.
Add the butter and shortening to the bowl of a stand mixer.
Cream together and then add the sugar. Continue beating on medium-speed for about 3 minutes.
Add in the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
Mix in the vanilla.
Now add the cocoa powder.
Now it’s time to add the flour & milk, alternating a few times between the two.
A little flour.
A little milk, repeat until all combined.
That batter. I seriously stood over this batter saying “You beautiful, beautiful batter.” It was love at first sight.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pans, evenly distributing between the two and smoothing out the tops.
Bake at 375 for 30 minutes and remove from the oven. My cake was a little sunken in the center, I’m not sure if it was an altitude issue or if I need to replace my baking powder or baking soda (oh well, they still taste amazing). Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 15 minutes and then invert onto cooling racks to cool completely.
Now let’s prepare the glorious filling. Combine 2 1/2 cups of water with the sugar, corn syrup, and cocoa powder in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
Combine the remaining 1/2 cup of water with the cornstarch until smooth.
When the cocoa mixture comes to a boil, whisk in the cornstarch mixture. Continue to whisk for about 3 minutes. The mixture will become very thick.
Remove from heat and stir in the butter, vanilla, and salt.
Whisk together until the butter is fully melted.
Pour the filling mixture into a bowl and allow to cool for a few minutes. Top with plastic wrap (press directly on the surface) and refrigerate for 45 minutes.
Cut the cakes in half. As you can see, I had a major fail with one half. Fortunately, the recipe calls for the top half that looks the worst to be made into crumbs to coat the cake. Whew! (It was an easy decision for me.)
Place the worst looking top of cake in a food processor to chop into crumbs. Orrrrr, if you don’t feel like dirtying up another dish, just smash the cake into crumbs in a plastic bag.
I went that route because our sink was already filled to the brim with dirty dishes, the thought of adding the food processor to that pile was unbearable.
There are 3 cake layers that you’ll need to layer with the filling. Here’s the order: cake, 1 1/2 cups filling, cake, 1 1/2 cups filling, top cake layer, coat the entire cake with the remaining filling, and press the cake crumbs all over the outside of the cake. Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour before slicing and serving.