Friday, June 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Kerrilynn!

I decided on Ebinger’s Chocolate Blackout Cake after reading an article in The Week magazine. Ebinger’s was a beloved bakery chain in Brooklyn, NY until it closed its doors on August 27, 1972. None of the recipes were saved but according to those who remember it, this recipe is much like the original. Yesterday I baked the cake and cooked the pudding filling to be sure it would be ready today. I salivated looking at the final product; probably should have made two.

Today is Kerrilynn Robinson’s birthday and this is her cake.

Sometime after we moved to Richland in early 2001 I met Kerrilynn. We went to church together and her twin sons and my daughter were in the same ballet class. Our next children were born within months of each other. I appreciated her friendship; I’d made very few friends since we left Boston three years early (just the Bartons stand out in my mind—we miss you guys!). She was one of those people you meet and it just clicks. You know you’re going to be good friends.

I would be fooling myself if I said we have a lot in common. We don’t. She is the most together person I know aside from my own mom. She’s organized, extremely generous with her time, and incredibly talented. She burns the candle at both ends but you’d never know by looking at her.

Kerrilynn’s father passed away last week after several years of failing health. I was so impressed with the way she took over his household duties for as long as she did, with time she really didn’t have. Eventually he needed the care only a nursing home could provide but because of her efforts he was afforded the ability to stay in his home much longer than would otherwise have been possible.

For years now I’ve wanted to lend a hand; do something. But what to do? At a loss, a year or so after we met, I offered to make her birthday cake. I figured it was the last thing she needed to worry about. I’ve done it ever since, keeping my eyes open each year for new and interesting recipes. I don’t know if they always taste good and some years the execution is better than others but she puts up with my feeble efforts and I hope she always does.

Chocolate Blackout Cake

Give the pudding and the cake enough time to cool or you’ll end up with runny pudding and gummy cake.

1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 cups half-and-half
1 cup whole milk
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 tsp vanilla extract

8 tbsp unsalted butter (1 stick), plus extra for greasing pans
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for dusting pans
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp table salt
3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 cup strong black coffee (I used hot chocolate)
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

For the pudding:
Whisk sugar, cornstarch, salt, half-and-half, and milk in large saucepan. Set pan over medium heat. Add chocolate and whisk constantly until chocolate melts and mixture begins to bubble, 2 to 4 minutes. Stir in vanilla and transfer pudding to large bowl. Place plastic wrap directly on surface of pudding and refrigerate until cold, at least 4 hours and up to 1 day.

For the cake layers:
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans. Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in bowl. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in cocoa and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Off heat, whisk in coffee, buttermilk, and sugars until dissolved. Whisk in eggs and vanilla, then slowly whisk in flour mixture. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool layers in pans 15 minutes, then invert onto wire rack. Cool to room temperature, at least 1 hour.

To assemble the cake:
Cut each cake in half horizontally. Crumble one cake layer into medium crumbs and set aside. Place one cake layer on serving platter or cardboard round. Spread 1 cup pudding over cake layer and top with another layer. Repeat with 1 cup pudding and last cake layer. Spread remaining pudding evenly over top and sides of cake. Sprinkle cake crumbs evenly over top and sides of cake, pressing lightly so crumbs adhere. Serve. (Cake can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.) Serves 10 to 12.
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1 comment:

  1. Kerrilynn RobinsonJune 5, 2009 at 4:19 PM

    I love you, Tiffany! You made me cry. Thank you so much for your wonderful words of kindness and wonderful cakes. Each one has been delicious, but most of all your continuing to think me every year is touching. I do wish we had more time together. Thanks for supporting me by attending my father's funeral. I saw you walk in and said a silent thank you.




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