Brooklyn Blackout Semifreddo Cake

By • May 30, 2013 • 103 Comments

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Author Notes: Who doesn't love a Brooklyn Blackout Cake? It's the iconic cake that became the official cake of Brooklyn, made famous by its creators at Ebingers Bakery. Three layers of chocolate cake are filled with chocolate pudding, frosted with the pudding, and topped with cake crumbs pressed into the side of the cake. This is a frozen version of the famous cake: three layers of chocolate sponge cake, chocolate semifreddo, chocolate ganache, and cake crumbs. I made a chocolate sponge, but you can use whatever type of cake you want (even cookie crumbs!). This particular cake recipe freezes really well; it was inspired by the Brooklyn Blackout Cake, but the sponge layer is a recipe I have been using for more years than I care to admit -- I have no idea where I got it, and it's hand-written in my recipe folder.sdebrango

Food52 Review: If you like chocolate, you are going to LOVE this Brooklyn Blackout Semifreddo Cake! The sponge cake has a moist, soft texture that pairs really well with the deep, creamy, luxurious taste of the chocolate semifreddo. This is by far the best ice cream cake we have ever had – it blows the store-bought ones out of the water! The hardest thing about the recipe is the waiting period – my husband and I could not wait for it to freeze overnight and even debated whether we should have it for breakfast or not! Madhuja

Makes 1 large (10-inch) loaf cake

Cake and Semifreddo

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 8 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • For the semifreddo:
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 7 ounces dark chocolate
  • 2 teaspoons espresso powder
  • 1 1/3 cups heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons softened cream cheese
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place milk and butter in a glass measuring cup and microwave for 45 seconds, or until the butter is melted. Using a stand mixer with the wire whisk attachment (or a hand-held electric mixer), whip the eggs and sugar on medium-high for approximately 8 minutes, or until the mixture is pale yellow, tripled in volume, and thick.
  2. With the machine still running, slowly add the heated milk and butter. Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt. Fold it into the egg mixture; there should be no lumps. Fold in the vanilla.
  3. Grease a 1/2 sheet pan, line with parchment, grease the parchment, and sprinkle with sugar. Pour batter into the pan, spread so that it is evenly distributed, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes in the pan, then run a knife around the edges to loosen. Invert onto a wire rack, remove parchment, and let cool completely.
  4. In a bowl over a pot of slowly simmering water (or in the microwave at high heat stirring every 20 seconds), melt chocolate and espresso powder and set aside. Keep the pot of water simmering on the stove -- you’ll need it again!
  5. Whisk together eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a metal or glass bowl. Place the bowl over simmering water and whisk until it thickens and sugar is melted. Remove from simmering water and whisk constantly, until the mixture doubles in volume and the whisk leaves a ribbon when lifted from bowl. Whisk in melted chocolate and allow mixture to cool for about 10 minutes; you don't want to melt the whipped cream.
  6. Whip together the heavy cream and cream cheese. Fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture, in two additions, until incorporated.
  7. Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap (I like to spray the bottom and sides with cooking spray before I lay down the sheet of plastic). Cut the cake into three pieces that will fit into the loaf pan. Place the first piece in the pan, then top with half of the semifreddo. layer in the second piece of cake, top with the rest of the semifreddo, then layer on the last piece of cake. Place in the freezer, and let freeze overnight.

Ganache and assembling

  • 4 ounces dark chocolate broken into small pieces
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon corn syrup (optional)
  1. Heat cream until scalding, then add chocolate and corn syrup. Let the mixture sit for approximately 5 minutes, then stir until smooth. Let cool at room temperature.
  2. Crumble the leftover cake and set aside (I pulsed mine a couple of times in the food processor).
  3. Remove cake from the loaf pan. (All you have to do is lift out the plastic. If it won't come out, just quickly dip the pan in some warm water.) Place on a serving dish and remove plastic. Spread a thin layer of ganache on the sides of cake, press crumbs on sides, spread ganache on top, and freeze until ready to serve. Take cake out of freezer about 10 minutes before serving and let sit at room temperature. Enjoy!
Jump to Comments (103)

Tags: cake, chocolate, crumbs, frozen dessert, ganache, semifreddo, sponge cake

Comments (103) Questions (0)

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2 months ago Douglas Boyce

that sounds GREAT, I have a pineapple in my fridge I was planning to dehydrate it with some sriracha sauce yet a cake sounds Uber Yummy.

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2 months ago Douglas Boyce

I hear you. I am not thus far. I just found a great brand Madecasse (with coconut). I adore coconut and this is a great combo

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Sounds great, love coconut also. I make a great coconut layer cake with a pineapple filling. Like a pina colada in cake form.

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2 months ago Douglas Boyce

of all curses in life it is workable I have come to. I do miss shellfish , nuts and patisserie Calude's au pain chocolate. Joyful cooking to you !

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Same to you, I don't know what I would do if I were allergic to chocolate. Oh my!

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2 months ago Douglas Boyce

Hello again, I thank you for this thread of conversation. I am home chef with a list of allergies that is longer than foods I can still eat. I make many substitutions with most often great success. i cook w/ little fear. I am sure you will love this cake... that is if you like chocolate at all.

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

So sorry to hear about the allergies, I know how hard that is to deal with, substitutions are an allergic eaters best friend. Thanks so much.

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2 months ago Douglas Boyce

I have no experience with instant coffees, yet I am sure that could work as well. Super Delish cake. I had my main squeeze read the recipe to me so I would not miss a step as i prepared this cake.

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I always keep a little jar of instant espresso in the pantry i like to add to anything chocolate as it intensifies the flavor, that said it's only optional in the recipe Thank you and so glad you made it.

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2 months ago snowmoonelk

Thanks guys! In the UK we have something called Carte Noire, so I will use that now I know what it is!

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Do let me know how it goes. So happy you are going to try the recipe.

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2 months ago Douglas Boyce

Hello,

I used espresso grinds that I had previously had made a mochachino out of.

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Do you mean instead of the instant espresso? That would work.

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2 months ago snowmoonelk

What is espresso powder?

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2 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

It's instant espresso, I use Medaglia D'oro.

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3 months ago Laurelb

How big a loaf pan did you use? Thanks

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3 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I used a big one, 10 inch loaf pan. You can use smaller if you don't have a big one it's really only used as a mold. But you will have some leftovers which can be frozen.

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5 months ago Douglas Boyce

way WOW. I made it as a birthday cake. And it was delish !

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5 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much, means a lot to me . I am so happy you liked it and I am making it for my daughters birthday in July.

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5 months ago bonheurcuisine

Yum Suzanne! I have this one saved and now that I see it again I´m definitely doing it this week!

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5 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much Viviana, I do hope you like it.

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5 months ago Jestei

how many would this serve, roughly?

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5 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

8 approximately, maybe 10 if you sliced thinly.

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9 months ago Dominika Ujlaky

Question: This cake looks fabulous and I'd love to try making for some customers at the cafe where I work. Freezer cakes are excellent for this purpose because they can be made ahead of time, keep well, and can be taken out on an as-needed-basis. BUT our dessert case (where desserts are plated and displayed) is only refrigerated...would this cake, once cut, plated, and refrigerated melt into a puddle (like an ice cream cake would) or does its consistency lend to refrigeration as well??

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9 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Good question, I think after a while it would turn into a puddle. I have kept it outside of the freezer as long as 20-30 minutes and it was fine. Keeping it sliced in the refrigerator I honestly don't know how long it would take to turn into a puddle. Let me know if you try!! Thank you.

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9 months ago Kelly Keagy

That sounds amazing! I'm totally trying this at my next dinner party. Heck... I may plan a dinner around this cake!

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9 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you Kelly, it is a wonderful cake. I love ice cream cake. Hope you enjoy if you make it and thank you again!

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about 1 year ago Beth

My brother loves chocolate, adored the Ebinger's cake and is moving for Thanksgiving. I'm making this baby!
Thank you

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about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I am very excited that you will make this, I do hope you enjoy!

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about 1 year ago rainey

I just made this last night and it's sitting in the freezer awaiting a Labor Day BBQ. So far, from the tasting I did of bowl and crumb it promises to be a wonderful cap off for the day. So I'm not complaining.

But, here's the thing, I got intrigued and did some reading on the historical Brooklyn Blackout Cake and this doesn't seem to be at all what the Ebingers Bakery made famous. Now, I grew up in the Hudson Valley not Brooklyn so I never had the authentic thing. And good is GOOD so no one's going to be suffering at my Labor Day table. But I'd just like to know why the semifreddo approach as opposed to the pudding that everyone else writes about? And should the topping be ganache or buttercream? Just curious.

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about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Hi Rainey;
First of all thank you for making the cake and I hope you like it. It's my take on a Brooklyn Blackout Cake. I adapted it (loosely) for a Food52 contest that was for frozen desserts. You are right a traditional brooklyn blackout cake is chocolate pudding both as icing and filling and chocolate cake. Since I didn't think I could freeze the pudding I made a semifreddo instead of the chocolate pudding for the filling The original cake was and still is delicious but not a frozen confection. This is my adaptation of the concept for a contest. I do hope you enjoy!

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about 1 year ago rainey

I see. Well, congrats as it sounds delicious and I can hardly wait until Mon to cut into it.

Actually, I think this sounds much more interesting to my particular tastes. I know from reading that the Ebingers' cake is legendary but I wouldn't have given a cake filled with chocolate pudding a second thought.

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about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Actually this is more to my liking than the original. The pudding is made with water and although it tastes good it seems to me like it's lacking something (dairy???) I do hope you like the cake please let me know. Thanks again.

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about 1 year ago rainey

It was an enormous hit!

I flavored the semifreddo filling with a couple tablespoons of Kahlua instead of vanilla. My 9" x 10" x 4" pullman pan was a perfect fit for the 9" x 13" half sheet pan. If I made one change it would be to make about half as much ganache again so I could just pour it over for a smooth finish. But I'd give this 9.5 out of 10. The flavor was exceptional.

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about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I love that you used kahlua, it would go perfectly with the chocolate. Very glad it worked out Thank you for making it and again so pleased you liked it so much.

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about 1 year ago PistachioDoughnut

Oh my gosh, I just missed this one. I love love this.I have not had many ice cream cakes, but I love eating pound cake with ice cream. This combines both.

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about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you, it's delicious. I love ice cream cakes. Yes, pound cake and ice cream is one of my very favorite things.

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over 1 year ago Monica M

This sounds insane...insanely delicious! I adore Brooklyn Blackout Cake!

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over 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh me too!!! Thank you so much, triple chocolate!!

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over 1 year ago Madhuja

Wish I still had a slice or two left of this cake! Did I tell you that we really liked it?!:)

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over 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much, and I am so happy and thankful that you liked it and gave the cake such a thoughtful and glowing review!

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over 1 year ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

I'm so glad your beauty is being highlighted today! I think it would make a great 4th of July treat!

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over 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much Emily. I am making it for the 4th, BBQ with friends.

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over 1 year ago lapadia

Yum, here is my cake, again!! A chocolate 4th, what's not to like?

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over 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks yes, a chocolate 4th is the way I want to roll for sure!