I think this cake recipe originally came from Food & Wine, but it's been so long that I have no idea. If you know the origin of this recipe, please let me know so I can give the appropriate credit.
It's kind of an unusual recipe -- you don't cream the butter or fold anything in, but you boil water and sugar together until dissolved, then pour it over chopped unsweetened chocolate and butter. The batter is really thin and the crumb isn't the most delicate I've ever eaten, but it has great flavor and is one of those quick and dirty recipes necessary when you need something both fast and impressive. And the frosting, your basic ganache, brings the cake to a higher level. When in doubt, heavy cream is your friend. Always.
Excellent Chocolate Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 Tb unsalted butter.
1 tsp vanilla.
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2 8-inch cake pans. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil over high heat and stir until the sugar dissolves, then pour into a large bowl. Add the butter and chocolate. Stir occasionally until melted and slightly cooled, and add the vanilla.
3. Beat the eggs into the chocolate mixture at medium speed until combined. Add the dry ingredients all at once and beat at medium speed until smooth.
4. Divide batter evenly between pans and smooth the tops. Bake about 25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans about 25 minutes, the invert on a rack to cool completely.
Frost with Chocolate Ganache:
8 oz heavy cream -- do NOT substitute milk or half and half. Don't even think about it.
12 oz chocolate chips (1 bag)
1. Place chips in a mixing bowl. Use the best quality chips you can find. Guittard and Ghirardelli are good chioices. Nestle is passable but not nearly as good -- buy a bag of each and do a taste-test. You will not look back.
2. Bring the cream to a boil in a small sauce pan (careful, it will boil over the minute you look away). Tip: rinse the pan with water, but don't dry it, before you heat the cream. It will be much easier to clean afterward. Nonstick pans are also recommended.
3. Let the cream and chocolate stand for 5 minutes, then stir until smooth. Don't wait too long, or the cream will cool and you'll have tiny lumps. Let the mixture stand until thickened. Will frost one 8 or 9-inch layer cake, a 9x13 cake, or a batch of cupcakes. Any leftovers can be chilled to make truffles, heated to dip fruit, or on top of ice cream. Or straight off the spoon.