This cake is the perfect finish for a dinner party. It’s dramatic and amazingly delicious, especially if you like chocolate. And it’s not fussy to make – everything can be made the day before so that it’s ready to be assembled a few hours before the fun starts.
My success with big, multi-layer cakes is spotty. I end up breaking layers, or my cake comes out crooked, or there’s something wrong with the frosting. I was shocked – SHOCKED – when this ended up being completely trouble-free.
The chocolate cake is sturdy enough to stand up to a bit of manhandling when removing it from the pans to cool. It’s so simple – ingredients are whisked together in a bowl, no stand mixer needed. Buttermilk adds moistness. And it’s an odd technique, kind of like making brownies, where eggs are added to a wet chocolate mixture instead of after creaming butter and sugar together.
Then there’s the frosting. I’ve never made a frosting like this. It’s kind of like a loose, fudgy pudding. It needs to be made ahead, because it thickens up in the refrigerator or freezer before being whipped into submission. It’s deeply chocolate, very easy to work with, and one of the best chocolate frostings I’ve ever had.
The marshmallows are pretty straighforward, pretty much just gelatin and sugar syrup. It’s a really delicious tasting marshmallow, though. Once the layers are together and iced and the marshmallows are cut up into various sized cubes, they’re piled high on top of the cake. It’s such a pretty cake.
We didn’t just have cake for dinner. We had Dan, Assana, Barry, Paul and Matthew over for a fun night of food, drinks and lots of inappropriate humor. As always. I kept dinner simple, chicken roulades that I seem to make anytime we have someone over for dinner, a quick saute of fennel and onions, goat cheese polenta and a salad. It only took a short amount of time in the kitchen since everything was prepped ahead, so I had time to relax and have fun. Lots of fun.
- Chicken Roulades Stuffed with Goat Cheese & Sun-Dried Tomatoes (Fine Cooking #62, January 2004, p. 86C)
- Creamy Goat Cheese Polenta (Fine Cooking #57, May 2003, p. 86C)
- Sauteed Fennel & Red Onion with Arugula (Fine Cooking #62, January 2004, p. 48)
- Butter Lettuce with Poppy Seed & Tarragon CrÃ¨me FraÃ®che Dressing (Fine Cooking #86, June 2007, p. 48)
- Hot Chocolate Layer Cake with Homemade Marshmallows (Fine Cooking #102, October 2009, p. 86)
Wine: Copain 2007 Wetzel Vineyard (Anderson Valley, California). Great wine – we had three bottles, and drank them all!