An homage to Ebinger’s
Since Ebinger’s, the legendary Brooklyn bakery known for its crumb buns, lemon cupcakes, and famous chocolate Blackout Cake (packed carefully in a pale green box with brown crosshatching) went out of business in 1972, fans have been trying to duplicate the Blackout Cake, in particular—three layers of devil’s food cake ’s held together with chocolate pudding and frosted, then sprinkled with chocolate-cake crumbs to really send it over the top. Legend has it that the Ebinger’s heirs won’t reveal the secret recipe, but we found this one online and tweaked it slightly for simplicity. Count on an hour-and-a-half to make the whole thing—or you can pop by Kenny & Ziggy’s in Houston for a slice of that restaurant’s rendition. You’ll need two 8-inch round cake pans.
For the cake:
- 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
- 2 tablespoons boiling water
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 sticks butter, slightly softened, plus 2 tablespoons for the cake pans
- 4 eggs, separated
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 2 cups flour, plus 1 tablespoon for the cake pans
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
For the filling:
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa
- 2 cups boiling water
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 tablespoon cold water
- ¼ tablespoon salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 2 tablespoons butter
For the frosting:
- 12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 3/4 cup sweet butter
- ½ cup hot water
- 1 tablespoon corn syrup
- 1 tablespoon vanilla.
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
2. To make the cake, place the cocoa in a small bowl and whisk in the boiling water to form a paste. Combine the chocolate and milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently as the mixture warms and the chocolate melts, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Whisk a small amount of the heated chocolate milk into the cocoa paste and then whisk the cocoa mixture into the milk mixture. Return to heat, stir for one minute, remove and cool until tepid.
3. In the bowl of a mixer, cream the sugar and butter together. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time and add the vanilla. Slowly stir in the chocolate mixture.
4. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda. Using a spatula or a wooden spoon, slowly add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture. In another bowl, whip the egg whites to form soft peaks and, using a rubber spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter.
5. Butter and lightly flour two 8-inch round cake pans and divide the batter between the two pans. Bake for 45 minutes and cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Gently remove the cakes from the pans and continue to cool.
6. While the cake is baking, make the filling. Put the cocoa into a saucepan, pour in the boiling water, and place over low heat. Add the sugar and chocolate. In a small bowl or coffee mug, dissolve the cornstarch in the cold water to make a smooth paste. Whisk the cornstarch into the water and chocolate, add the salt and bring it to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute.
7. Remove the pan from the heat, whisk in the vanilla and the butter, then transfer the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate until cool.
8. Make the frosting. In a double boiler, melt the chocolate. Remove from heat and whisk in the butter, one tablespoon at a time, returning to heat if necessary to melt the butter.
9. Whisk in the hot water all at once and stir until smooth. Whisk in the corn syrup and the vanilla. Refrigerate for up to 15 minutes before using.
10. Assemble the cake. Use a sharp knife to slice each cake into two disks to form four layers. Set one cake layer aside. Place one layer on a cake round or plate. Generously spread the layer with half of the filling. Add the second cake layer and repeat. Add the third cake layer. Quickly apply a layer of frosting (half of total frosting) to the top and the sides of the cake and refrigerate for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, crumble the remaining cake layer. Apply a second layer of frosting to the cake, sprinkle liberally with crumbs and serve within 24 hours. Store in a cool place.
Yield: 1 cake.