easy chocolate cake from scratch

How to Make a Very Special Cake at Home

Very Special Cake

  • Sachertorte
  • 5 squares semisweet chocolate
  • ½ cup butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 6 eggs, separated, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup of sugar
  • 1 cupcake flour
  • 1 10-or 12-ounce jar apricot preserves
  • Chocolate Glaze (below)
  • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped

Instructions:

  • In a double boiler over hot, not boiling, water, melt chocolate; remove from heat. Stir in butter, vanilla, and salt until mixture is smooth and cool. Add egg yolks;
    stir or until blended.
  • Lightly grease and flour 9’’ by 3’’ springform pan. Preheat oven to 350 0F. In a large bowl with mixer at high speed, beat egg whites until soft peak form. Beating
    at high speed, sprinkle in sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time, beating until sugar is dissolved and whites stand in stiff, glossy peaks.
  • Gently fold chocolate mixture into beaten whites. While folding, sprinkle flour, about 1/3 at a time; fold gently until blended. Pour batter into pan; with a spatula, cut through the batter a few times to break any air bubbles. Bake 45 minutes or until cake spring back when lightly touched with finger. Cool cake in pan on wine rack 10 minutes; remove side of pan; cool completely.
  • Assemble torte as shown below, then refrigerate torte until chocolate is firm.
  • To serve: With 2 pancake turners, transfer torte to cake plate; let stand about 30 minutes. Serve torte with whipped cream.

CHOCOLATE GLAZE: In a double boiler over hot, not boiling, water, melt 1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces and 2 tablespoons butter; stir in 1 tablespoon light corn syrup until smooth.

ASSEMBLING THE SACHERTORT: Spread cut side of the top layer with apricot preserves, then add a bottom layer, cut side down. Remove the bottom of the springform pan from the cake. Cut the cake in half horizontally. Place top layer, cut side up, on a wire rack over waxed paper. Prepare chocolate Glaze. With a metal spatula, frost cake, letting excess glaze drip onto paper.

MAKING CHOCOLATE CURLS: Make chocolate curls as shown and use them to garnish frosted cakes, pies, or whipped-cream desserts. Soften square or bar of unsweetened or semisweet chocolate with heat or your hands or in a just-warm oven.

Slowly and firmly pull the vegetable peeler across the wide side of chocolate for wide curls, thin side for thin curls. Or you can use the shredder side of a grater to make curly shreds.

Six-Layer Eggnog Cake

  • 2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups heavy or whipping cream
  • ½ teaspoon rum extract
  • 4 eggs
  • 1¼ cups sugar
  • Buttery Chocolate Frosting
  • 4 squares semisweet chocolate made into chocolate curls

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 0F. Grease and flour three 9- inch rotating cake pans.
  • In a small bowl with a fork, combine the first 4 ingredients; set aside. In another small bowl with mixer at medium speed, beat heavy or whipping cream and rum extract until stiff peaks form.
  • In a large bowl using the same beaters, with the mixture and high speed, beat egg and sugar until thick and lemon-colored, about 5 minutes. With wire whisk or rubber spatula, gently fold flour mixture and whipped heavy cream into cake pans.
  • Stagger pans on 2 oven racks so no pan is directly above another. Bake 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center of cakes comes out clean. Cool cake l layers on wire racks 10 minutes; carefully remove cakes from pans and cool completely about 1 hour.
  • Prepare Buttery Chocolate Frosting. With a sharp knife, cut each cake layer horizontally in half. Place first layers on a cake plate, cut side up; spread with a scant ½ cup frosting. Repeat until 4 more frosted layers are stacked on top. Top with last layer, top side up. Frost side and top cake with remaining chocolate frosting.
  • Garnish top of the cake with chocolate curls, transferring them to cake with a toothpick to avoid breaking them. Refrigerate until serving time.

Black Forest Cherry Torte

  • 2 15-or 16-ounce cans pitted tart cherries, drained about ½ cup kirsch (cherry-flavor brandy)
  • Chocolate cake layers
  • 2 cups heavy or whipping cream
  • ½ cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 1 square semisweet chocolate, grated
  • 12 maraschino cherries, well-drained
  • 2 squares semisweet chocolate made into chocolate curls (opposite)

Instructions:

  • In medium bowl place cherries and 1/3 cup kirsch; leave at room temperature for 2½ hours, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350 0F. Prepare cake layers as recipe directs but pour batter into 3 greased and floured 9-inch round cake pans. Stagger pans on 2 oven racks so no pan is directly above another. Bake cake layers 20 to 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on wire racks 10 minutes; remove layers from pans and cool them completely on wire racks, about 2 hours.
  • With a fork, prick the well top of each cake, then drain cherries well and sprinkle cherry liquid over cake layers.
  • In small bowl with mixer at medium speed, beat heavy or whipping cream, confectioners’ sugar, and 2 tablespoons kirsch until the cream stands in stiff peaks.
  • Place once the cake layer on a cake platter. Spared with one-fourth whipped cream mixture; top with half of the cherries.
  • Repeat with the second layer and then top with the third one.
  • Frost side of cake with half of remaining whipped-cream mixture.
  • With a spoon, gently press grated semisweet chocolate onto a whipped-cream mixture all around the side of the cake.
  • Garnish with dollops of remaining whipped-cream mixture; top each dollop with a drained maraschino cherry.
  • Pile chocolate curls in the center; keep refrigerated. (Chocolate curls may turn slightly gray in color.)

Filbert Torte

  • 6 eggs, separated sugar
  • 1/3 cup dried bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup ground filberts
  • 2 cups heavy or whipping cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:

  • Preheat oven to 325 0F. In a large bowl with mixer at high speed, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Beating at high speed, gradually sprinkle in ¼ cup sugar beating well after each addition. Whites should stand in stiff peaks.
  • In small bowl with mixer at medium speed, beat egg yolks until thick and lemon-colored. Gradually beat in ½ cup sugar until blended. Stir in bread crumbs, flour, and 2/3 cup ground nuts; with wire whisk or rubber spatula, fold into beaten egg whites. Pour batter into 10’’ by 3’’ springform pan and spread evenly.
  • Bake 40 minutes or until cake springs back when lightly touched with finger. Invert cake in pan on wire rack; cool completely.
  • In small bowl with mixer at medium speed, beat heavy or whipping cream, vanilla extract, and 2 tablespoon sugar \until stiff peaks form.
  • Remove cake from pan; with a long sharp knife, slice the cake horizontally into 2 layers. Place bottom layer on cake platter; spread with one-fourth whipped-cream mixture; top with the second layer. Frost side of cake with half of remaining whipped-cream mixture. With hand, gently press the remaining 1/3 cup ground nuts onto the cream.
  • Spoon remaining cream mixture into a pastry bag with a large star tube; use to decorate the top cake.

DECORATING THE FILBERT TORTE: Spread the bottom layer of cake with a whipped-cream mixture. Top with second layer and frost sides of the cake. With head, gently press ground nuts into the cream on the side. Using a pastry bag with a large star tube, decorate the top of the cake with the remaining whipped cream mixture.

Party Cake

  • 12 eggs, at room temperature
  • 5 cup of sugar
  • 6 cupcake flour
  • 2½ cup milk
  • 1½ cups butter or margarine softened
  • 2 tablespoons double-acting baking powder
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • Lemon Butter-Cream Filling
  • Pink Butter-Cream Frosting
  • Vanilla Butter-Cream Frosting Decorations

Instructions:

  • Generously grease and flour 14-inch, 10-inch, and 6-inch round cake pans. Separate eggs, placing whites in a large bowl and yolks in another large bowl. Be sour to
    have wire racks large enough to cool cake layers. If necessary, use a refrigerator wire rack or several racks taped together for the 14-inch layer. Also, have large cookie sheets on hand for handing the layer.
  • In a large bowl with mixer at high speed, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Beating at high speed, sprinkle in 1 cup sugar, 2 tablespoons at a time. Beat until stiff peaks form; set aside.
  • Into second large bowl-with yolks, measure cake flour, milk, butter, baking powder, vanilla salt, and remaining 4 cup sugar. With mixer at low speed, beat until.
    well mixed, constantly scraping bowl. Beat at medium speed 10 to 15 minutes or until mixture is fluffy.
  • Place upper oven rack one-third from the top and lower rack two-thirds down from the top, then preheat oven to 375 0F.
  • Pour yolk mixture into an 8-quart bowl or saucepot; fold in beaten egg whites. Pour batter evenly into the three pans. Place a 14-inch layer on the lower oven rack and the other two on the upper rack with the 6-inch layer 40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Quickly remove from oven to wire rack; cool 10 minutes, remove from pan; cool completely. Bake a 10-inch layer 15 minutes longer than a small layer or 55 minutes in all. Quickly remove from oven; cool or wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan; cool completely. Bake 14-inch layer 20 minutes longer than the second layer or 1¼ hours in all. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes; remove from pan; cool completely. If cakes are made 1 week ahead, freeze layers on cookie sheets; wrap with plastic wrap. To thaw the cake layer,
    unwrap and leave them to stand 2 hours at room temperature.
  • Early in day: Prepare to fill and assemble layers in three tiers (right). Prepare Pink Butter-Cream Frosting and Vanilla Butter-Cream Frosting and frost cake. Make decorations and decorate the cake.

LEMON BUTTER-CREAM FILLING: In a large bowl with mixer at medium-low speed, beat two 16-ounce packages confectioners’ sugar, ¾ cup butter or margarine softened, and 6 to 8 tablespoons lemon juice until the filling is smooth and of good spreading consistency.

ASSEMBLING THE LAYERS: With a long serrated knife, cut each cooled cake layer in half. Place the top half of the 14-inch layer upside down or large platter or foil-covered heavy cardboard. Spread layer on platter with about 2 cups filling to edge. Place the second half of the layer, cut side down, overfilled layer.

Spread filling thinly in the center of 14-inch tier to about 2 inches from edge; then, for easier cutting, place 10½-inch foil-covered round cardboard in the center. Place half of the 10-inch layer in the center of the 14-inch tier, on foil-covered cardboard.

Fill and top with the other half. Spread filling thinly in the center of the 10-inch layer; place 6½-inch foil-covered cardboard on top. place or 6-inch layer on 10-inch tier, on cardboard. Fail and top with the other half.

FROSTINGS

PINK BUTTER-CREAM FROSTING: In a large bowl with mixer at medium-low speed, beat tow 16-ounce packages confectioners’ sugar, ¾ butter or margarine, Softened, 6 to 8 tablespoons milk, 1 tablespoon vanilla extract, ¼ teaspoon salt, and enough red food color until the frosting is tinted a pretty pale pink color.

VANILLA BUTTER-CREAM FROSTING: In a medium bowl with mixer at medium-low speed, beat one 16-ounce package confectioners’ sugar, 6 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened, 3 to 4 tablespoons milk, 1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1/8 teaspoon salt until the frosting is smooth and of easy spreading consistency.

FROSTING THE CAKE

  • With pink frosting, frost sides of the cake tires smoothly.
  • Nest, frost the tops of the cake layers with pink frosting.
  • Spoon vanilla frosting into a bag with a round tube. String icing around top of tiers: Attach icing then pull tube straight away letting string drop; move along; reattach icing; repeat.
  • Unscrew the retainer ring and change it to a small star tube. Using the same white frosting, make borders around both top and bottom edges of cake tiers. Allow frosting to harden.

MAKING DECORATIONS: In small bowl with mixer at low speed, beat one 16-ounce package confectioners’ sugar, ½ teaspoon cream of tartar and 3 egg white, at room temperature, until just mixed. Increase speed to high and beat until mixture is very stiff and knife drawn through mixture leaves a clean-cut path.

Remove about one-fourth to a small bowl; with green food color, tint green; cover with plastic wrap. Into the remaining three-fourths of the mixture, beat enough red food color to tint a rose-pink color.

With rose-pink frosting in decorating bag fitted with a small petal tube, make a small rose (page 399); let dry at least 30 minutes. Repeat to make more.

Spoon green frosting into decorating bag fitted with a small round tube; pipe stems onto the cake. Arrange roses on stems. Change round tube to leaf tube makes leaves on stems.

ADDING DECORATIONS: With small round tube and green frosting, pipe stems onto the cake then press on roses. Change to leaf tube and make leaves on stems.

CUTTING THE CAKE: Using a long, thin knife with a sawing motion, cut the cake into 62 servings following the guide below.