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This is another Alton Brown recipe from the Food Network. If you would rather have breadsticks just cut each rope in half and don’t twist into a pretzel shape. You can also create your own toppings if you would rather have something other than salt (I like toasted sesame seeds).
Makes eight pretzels.
Although the cake looks dense each layer is very light and so is the filling. I hate frosting cakes and the ganache frosting in this recipe is easy to apply. The recipe is based on the Fine Cooking Cinnamon-Caramel-Ganache Layer Cake.
Makes 1 cake (about 12 servings).
- 2 cups heavy cream
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons + ¼ cups water
- 4 ½ ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
- ½ cup sugar
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 ounces unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces
- 1 tablespoon light corn syrup
- Pinch of table salt
- 6 tablespoons cool water
- 1 ½ ounces unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ cup lukewarm + ½ cup cool water
- ½ cup buttermilk, room temperature
- 6 ounces cake flour
- ¾ teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into 4 pieces
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature and lightly beaten
- Bring the cream, salt and 2 tablespoons of water to a simmer.
- Put the chocolate in a medium bowl and set a strainer over it.
- Pour ¼ cup water in a 3-quart saucepan. Pour the sugar in the center of the pan and pat it down until it is evenly moistened. Cover pan and cook over medium-high heat until sugar dissolves (2 – 4 minutes). Uncover and cook without stirring until the syrup begins to color (about 1 minute). Reduce heat to medium and cook until the caramel turns red-amber (about 1 – 2 minutes). If the syrup colors unevenly swirl the pan gently. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the cream mixture. Return to low heat and simmer stirring constantly until the caramel is completely dissolved (1 – 3 minutes).
- Pour the caramel cream through the strainer. Whisk until the chocolate melts and mixture is smooth. Scrape into a wide shallow bowl, cover loosely, cool and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled (at least 4 hours and up to three days).
- Put the chocolate, butter, corn syrup and salt in a metal bowl set over barely simmering water. Stir gently until chocolate melts and mixture is smooth.
- Take the bowl off the water and stir in water. Let cool and thicken without stirring at room temperature for at least three hours (the consistency should be like chocolate pudding).
- Line the bottom of three 9×2-inch round cake pans with parchment. Preheat oven to 350°.
- In a bowl whisk cocoa powder and lukewarm water. In another bowl mix buttermilk and cool water. In a third bowl whisk flour, baking soda and salt and sift them three times.
- In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment beat the butter on medium speed until creamy (15 seconds). Add the white and brown sugars gradually while beating until the mixture lightens in color and appears sandy but fluffy (5 minutes). Add the eggs slowly over the course of one minute. Continue to beat for a few more seconds until the mixture is smooth and fluffy. Stop the mixer and add the cocoa mixture. Beat on medium speed until just combined. Stop the mixer and add one-quarter of the flour mixture. Mix on low speed until just incorporated. Stop the mixer and add one-third of the buttermilk. Repeat, scraping the bowl as needed, until all the flour and buttermilk have been added.
- Divide the batter evenly among the three pans. Bake 17 – 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes for five minutes and then turn on to racks, remove the parchment and cool completely.
- Beat the chilled filling in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment at medium speed until very thick and stiff enough to hold it’s shape but still spreadable (1 – 2 minutes). Put a cake layer upside down on a cake circle and spread half the filling evenly all the way to the edge of the layer. Top with a second upside down layer and gently press in place. Spread the remaining filling on the second layer. Top with the third layer, also upside down. Smooth any filling that protrudes from the sides.
- With an offset spatula spread a thin crumb-coat layer of frosting evenly over the top and sides of the cake. Put cake in refrigerator for 10 minutes to set the crumb-coat. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake.
- Garnish as desired.