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Chocolate and maraschino layer cake

Chocolate and maraschino layer cake

Ingredients:

For the chocolate cake:
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar, divided
1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour, sifted
1/2 cup (60 g) dutch cocoa powder, sifted
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder
2 ounces (60g) dark chocolate, finely chopped
1/4 cup very hot water
1 tablespoon brandy (if omitted, increase vanilla to 1 tablespoon)
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk (save the white for the buttercream!)
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
For the Swiss meringue buttercream:
4 large egg whites (120g)
1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup maraschino syrup (strained from a jar of maraschino cherries)
pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cool room temperature (68 degrees), cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon of vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon of brandy
3 ounces (85g) dark chocolate, melted and cooled to lukewarm

Directions:

For the chocolate cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line an 8×8-inch straight-sided pan with parchment paper; Lightly butter the parchment and set aside.
In a bowl, combine 3/4 cup (150 grams) sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder.
In a medium bowl, place the chopped chocolate with the remaining 50 grams of sugar. Heat the water until almost boiling, then pour over the chocolate. Let sit for 30 seconds, then whisk until smooth. Set aside and let cool to lukewarm, then stir in the vanilla and cognac.
In a large bowl, whisk the egg and egg yolk until light and frothy. Whisk together buttermilk and vegetable oil. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and whisk until smooth. Add the dry ingredients and fold until just incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it into an even layer.
Bake for 28 to 32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs attached.

Remove from oven and place on a rack to cool completely. If desired, place a slightly smaller flat-bottomed pan on top of the cooling cake: this will gently flatten any dome on the top of the cake and save you time trimming later (lightly butter the bottom of the cake second mold to prevent it from sticking).
At this point, you can freeze the cooled cake, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 1 month.

For the Swiss meringue buttercream:
Combine the egg whites, sugar, salt and maraschino syrup in a double boiler (or use the bowl of your metal stand mixer set over a pan of simmering water – the bottom of the bowl should rest on the water below, without touching it). Whisk vigorously until foamy and hot to the touch (it will read 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer) and the sugar is completely dissolved.
Return the bowl to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until the bowl is cool to the touch (it will read about 70 degrees F) and the meringue is whipped into stiff, glossy peaks.
Switch to the paddle attachment.
With the mixer running on medium speed, add 1 piece of butter at a time, increasing the speed and mixing until the butter is completely incorporated before adding the next piece. Your buttercream will begin to soften, going from stiff peaks to a soft soup. If at any point it starts to curdle, stop adding butter and increase the mixer speed to high, beating until it comes together again before adding the rest of the butter.
Add the vanilla, almond extract and brandy and beat until incorporated.
Transfer about 1 cup of buttercream (8 ounces if you want to be exact) to a separate bowl and stir in the warm chocolate until evenly incorporated.

Remove from oven and place on a rack to cool completely. If desired, place a slightly smaller flat-bottomed pan on top of the cooling cake: this will gently flatten any dome on the top of the cake and save you time trimming later (lightly butter the bottom of the cake second mold to prevent it from sticking).
At this point, you can freeze the cooled cake, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, for up to 1 month.

For the Swiss meringue buttercream:
Combine the egg whites, sugar, salt and maraschino syrup in a double boiler (or use the bowl of your metal stand mixer set over a pan of simmering water – the bottom of the bowl should rest on the water below, without touching it). Whisk vigorously until foamy and hot to the touch (it will read 160 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer) and the sugar is completely dissolved.
Return the bowl to the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until the bowl is cool to the touch (it will read about 70 degrees F) and the meringue is whipped into stiff, glossy peaks.
Switch to the paddle attachment.
With the mixer running on medium speed, add 1 piece of butter at a time, increasing the speed and mixing until the butter is completely incorporated before adding the next piece. Your buttercream will begin to soften, going from stiff peaks to a soft soup. If at any point it starts to curdle, stop adding butter and increase the mixer speed to high, beating until it comes together again before adding the rest of the butter.
Add the vanilla, almond extract and brandy and beat until incorporated.
Transfer about 1 cup of buttercream (8 ounces if you want to be exact) to a separate bowl and stir in the warm chocolate until evenly incorporated.

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