FOR THE GRAHAM CRACKER LAYER (TO BE COMBINED & PRESSED INTO PANS)
- 1 1/4 cups (140g) graham cracker crumbs – I used packaged graham cracker crumbs. If crushing graham crackers, place approximately 18 full size crackers in a plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin
- 1/4 cup (50g) sugar
- 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) ( 57g) unsalted butter, melted
FOR THE CHOCOLATE CAKE LAYERS (OUR CLASSIC CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE)
- 2 cups (400g) granulated sugar
- 2 3/4 cup (322g) all-purpose flour
- 1 cup (82g) unsweetened cocoa (lightly spoon into cup then sift)
- 2 teaspoons (10g) baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon (2g) baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon (2g) salt
- 1 cup (2 sticks) (226g) unsalted butter, softened (do not soften in microwave) I cut the butter into 1 inch pieces onto waxed paper leaving on the countertop for 8 to 10 minutes it will still be quite cool when adding to the dry ingredients. If it becomes too soft, just refrigerate a few minutes
- 1/4 cup (54g) vegetable oil
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon (4g) vanilla extract
- 1 cup (242) hot coffee, it can be instant or brewed
- 1 cup (242g) milk
FOR THE FLUFFY WHITE FROSTING
- 2 cups (400g) sugar
- 2/3 cup (160g) water
- 1 teaspoon (3g) cream of tartar- if using egg whites that are not from a carton you can half the amount of cream of tartar
- 4 egg whites (I used pasteurized eggs whites in a carton)
- 1 Tablespoon (12g) vanilla extract
FOR THE GANACHE
- 6 oz. (171 g) Chocolate (semi-sweet or Dark) We used Ghirardelli
- 6 oz (171 g) Heavy Cream
GRAHAM CRACKER DECORATION AROUND THE SIDES
- 11 Graham Crackers (or more depending on size of the cake)
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour three 8 x 2 inch round pans. Place a waxed paper or parchment paper circle in the bottom of each pan. Spoon the combined graham cracker crumb/sugar/butter mixture into the 3 cake pans. Press down with the back of a spoon. Now you are ready to put the cake batter into the pans.
FOR THE CHOCOLATE CAKE
- In a mixing bowl, add the dry ingredients: sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk for 1 minute to blend.
- Add softened butter a few pieces at a time while the mixer is on low speed. Mix until the dry ingredients look like coarse sand and the dry ingredients are moistened. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl.
- In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, milk , oil and vanilla until blended.
- Method is important when using the Reverse Creaming Method. With the mixer on low speed, SLOWLY add approximately 1/2 of the egg mixture to the dry ingredients. Increase the speed to medium and mix for 1 1/2 minutes at medium speed. Don’t mix above medium speed. Scrape the bottom and sides of bowl. Add the remaining egg mixture in 2 pourings, beating for 20 seconds after each pour. Scrape the sides and bottom of bowl.
- Slowly add the cup of hot coffee and mix another 30 seconds until blended. The batter will be very runny. Don’t worry!
- Pour into 3 prepared 8″ pans and bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes or until the center of the cake springs back to the touch and a toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool the cakes 10 minutes on a rack and then turn out of the pans.
- *Yields approx 9 cups of batter.
FOR THE FLUFFY WHITE FROSTING
- In a saucepan, add sugar, water and cream of tartar. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar dissolves. Boil approximately 2 minutes. Take off the heat and set aside — you will bring the mixture back to a boil when the egg whites are ready.
- Put the egg whites into a mixing bowl and using the whisk attachment to your mixer, whisk the egg whites until they are white and foamy, but not stiff. Stop mixing when the whites reach the soft peak stage — the peaks will just begin to curl when the beater is lifted. Add the vanilla at this time or during the final beating. Now, bring the sugar mixture back to boiling. With the mixer on low speed *SLOWLY* pour the hot sugar syrup into the egg whites ( Be careful with this boiling sugar.) When the hot sugar mixture is completely in the bowl, gradually increase the speed to high. The frosting will gradually thicken and increase in volume. When the egg whites will hold a stiff peak when the beater is lifted from the bowl, it is ready. Use this frosting very soon after making.
- Makes approximately 12 cups frosting
- The frosting should be used immediately. A cake frosted with this can be left out for a day. Refrigerated, the cake will last 3 to 4 days, the frosting may deflate slightly over time.
FOR THE GANACHE
- Place your chocolate into a microwave safe bowl.
- Pour heavy cream over the chocolate and place in the microwave for 1 minute. (Times may vary, see our note below).
- Remove and allow to sit for one minute.
- Gently stir and press chips to aid in melting. If there are still unmelted chips, microwave for 5-10 seconds. Stir and repeat as necessary. Be very careful not to overheat.
- *Microwave times may vary. If you are making a smaller amount of ganache, you should reduce the microwave time. If your chocolate hasn’t melted after the recommended amount of time, simply microwave in small 5-10 second increments until it has nearly completely melted. Let sit one minute, then stir until smooth. The ganache will thicken a bit as it cools. Do not drizzle or glaze the cake when the ganache is hot.
- We assembled the cake layers graham cracker side down, (glazing with cooled ganache is optional), glazed the top of our cake with a layer of cooled ganache, and frosted the sides with white fluffy frosting.
- Next, we sawed the graham crackers lengthwise in half with a serrated knife, using long strokes back and forth to prevent breakage. We applied around the sides of the cake.
- We then loaded our ganache into a disposable piping bag with the tip snipped away and applied our drip over the top edge/graham cracker border. (Ganache should flow easily from the piping bag but should not be hot.)
- Using a french tip, we piped our frosting over the top of the cake, allowing it to mound up a bit.
- Finally, using a small culinary torch, we toasted some of the areas of our frosting (as an optional step).