Brooklyn Blackout Semifreddo Cake

By • May 30, 2013 • 103 Comments



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 cups 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 cup 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)

Default-small
Default-small
Default-small

21 days 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.

Default-small

21 days 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

3-bizcard

21 days 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.

Default-small

21 days 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 !

3-bizcard

21 days 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!

Default-small

21 days 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.

3-bizcard

21 days 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.

Default-small

21 days 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.

3-bizcard

21 days 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.

Default-small

21 days ago snowmoonelk

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

3-bizcard

21 days 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.

Default-small

21 days ago Douglas Boyce

Hello,

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

3-bizcard

21 days ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

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

Default-small

21 days ago snowmoonelk

What is espresso powder?

3-bizcard

21 days ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

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

Default-small

about 1 month ago Laurelb

How big a loaf pan did you use? Thanks

3-bizcard

about 1 month 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.

Default-small

3 months ago Douglas Boyce

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

3-bizcard

3 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.

Mami_2.1.1

4 months ago bonheurcuisine

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

3-bizcard

4 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

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

_mg_0362

4 months ago Jestei

how many would this serve, roughly?

3-bizcard

4 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

8 approximately, maybe 10 if you sliced thinly.

Stringio

8 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??

3-bizcard

8 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.

Open-uri20140112-16985-lu6lbu

8 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!

3-bizcard

8 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!

Default-small

12 months ago Beth

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

3-bizcard

12 months ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

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

Default-small

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.

3-bizcard

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!

Default-small

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.

3-bizcard

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.

Default-small

12 months 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.

3-bizcard

12 months 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.

Photo_(6)

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.

3-bizcard

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.

Default-small

about 1 year ago Monica M

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

3-bizcard

about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

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

Spiceroute

about 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?!:)

3-bizcard

about 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!

Img_0836-001_(1)

about 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!

3-bizcard

about 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.

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

about 1 year ago lapadia

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

3-bizcard

about 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!

Dsc00859_2

about 1 year ago creamtea

Me to Brooklyn-born spouse: Did you ever buy cake at a place called Ay-bing-ers?
Spouse: (correcting my pronunciation): Everyone bought cake at Ebinger's.
This looks so fabulous.

3-bizcard

about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you, I wish I had been in Brooklyn when Ebingers was around to taste it, from the research I did everyone thought it was amazing!

Photo_(14)

about 1 year ago foxeslovelemons

Congrats Suzanne! I love cold cake in all forms. Especially frozen cake, but just about any cake I get or make - I put in the fridge, because I love eating it cold! Yours looks unbelievable.

3-bizcard

about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you, me too, I love frozen cake especially ice cream cake.

Img_7818

about 1 year ago EmilyC

I just knew this beauty would be tested and photographed! Can't wait to try it!

3-bizcard

about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much Emily, hope you like it if you give a try.

Dsc_0048b

about 1 year ago healthierkitchen

Congrats!

3-bizcard

about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much!

Ozoz_profile

about 1 year ago Kitchen Butterfly

Yum yum yum yum yum! Love it!

3-bizcard

about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks KB, I really hope I get to meet you when you come to NYC!! Will make for you.

Cristina-014-web-final

about 1 year ago cristinasciarra

Congrats, Suzanne! This really does look sinfully delicious, and I can't wait to try it :)

3-bizcard

about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much Cristina, I am thrilled that it got a CP and photo.

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

about 1 year ago lapadia

Yipee, congratulations!! Wish I could attach an emoticon for the occasion :)

3-bizcard

about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh yes, would love an emoticon!! Thanks so much Linda.

Img_0836-001_(1)

about 1 year ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Yay, Suzanne!!!!!

3-bizcard

about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much Emily!

Img_0001

about 1 year ago Kukla

Congratulations Suzanne on the CP! Just love it and was hoping to see this beauty as a finalist.

3-bizcard

about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much Kukla, I am just so thrilled that the editors tested and photographed my cake.

Cakes

about 1 year ago Bevi

Congrats on the CP, Suzanne! It's a beauty!

3-bizcard

about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh wow, didn't even know until just now. Thanks so much Bevi. I love the photo and am thrilled.

Ozoz_profile

about 1 year ago Kitchen Butterfly

Saved!!! Need I say more?

3-bizcard

about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much!

Dsc_0048b

about 1 year ago healthierkitchen

Wow! This might have to be my daughter's next birthday cake! She is a chocolate fiend. I remember hearing of Ebinger's from my parents who lived in Brooklyn back in the day.

3-bizcard

about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you, yes Ebingers closed in 1972 before I lived in Brooklyn but the legend of the cake lives on. It is a real delight for chocolate fiends.

Img_0001

about 1 year ago Kukla

OMG Susanne! How could I miss this Beauty? In my world, this cake is a Winner already!

3-bizcard

about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks Kukla, you are so kind.

Img_1958

about 1 year ago gingerroot

What an amazing cake, Suzanne!!

3-bizcard

about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much!

Keywest_130511_img_0446_2

about 1 year ago Miachel

Yum! The new mascot of Brooklyn.

3-bizcard

about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

LOL, thank you, Love the idea of a chocolate mascot for Brooklyn!!

Cristina-014-web-final

about 1 year ago cristinasciarra

Oh goodness, this looks AMAZING, Suzanne! Straight to saved recipes!

3-bizcard

about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much Cristina, love making ice cream cakes.

Image

about 1 year ago drbabs

Barbara is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Saving this one for the beach this summer! We're all chocolate lovers!

3-bizcard

about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much drb, I am too!

Me

about 1 year ago TheWimpyVegetarian

I love semifreddo!! Saving this to make this summer. I would love this, Suzanne!!!

3-bizcard

about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much Susan, I hope you like it!

Me

about 1 year ago TheWimpyVegetarian

How could I not ??!! :-)

3-bizcard

about 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

:o)

Gator_cake

over 1 year ago hardlikearmour

hardlikearmour is a trusted home cook.

Spectacular! I'm a chocolate lover, so I know I would LOVE this.

3-bizcard

over 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much, definitely must be a chocolate lover and I am too!

Sausage2

over 1 year ago fiveandspice

Emily is a trusted source on Scandinavian Cuisine.

Ohhhhh. This looks so good. I'm with EmilyC, gotta find some excuse to make it! Maybe I know somebody with a birthday coming up?

3-bizcard

over 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much Emily, I love ice cream cakes. Just right for summer! If you make I hope you like.

036

over 1 year ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Me! I have a BDay soon! Someone get down here and make this for me! :-)

3-bizcard

over 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

If I could figure out how to get there frozen I would send you one! Hmmm... let me check it out. Dry ice maybe!!

Img_7818

over 1 year ago EmilyC

Holy moly this looks amazing! This looks seriously good and I must find a good opportunity to make it!

3-bizcard

over 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much, it's chocolate x3!!

Cimg0737

over 1 year ago cookinginvictoria

Wow, this is a real showstopper dessert after my own heart. I love chocolate, and this recipe looks and sounds so scrumptious! Saved -- I intend to make this next time I need a special occasion dessert.

3-bizcard

over 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much, despite the long list of ingredients and directions it's really so simple, I made the cake and semifreddo in one day, stuck in the freezer for 2 days then the quick ganache and crumbs. Comes together really quite simply. I hope you like it if you make it. Thank you again.

Massimo's_deck_reflection_10_27_13

over 1 year ago lapadia

WOW...I love chocolate, this is the Ultimate Chocolate Cake!

3-bizcard

over 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks Linda, it is a must love chocolate cake for sure.

Img_0836-001_(1)

over 1 year ago em-i-lis

Emily is a trusted source on General Cooking.

This looks fab, Suzanne! I wish I lived by you as I'd come and barter for a piece. :)

3-bizcard

over 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

You wouldn't have to barter, I can't even eat this, not on my diet. I have to give it away I can't stand the temptation. Thanks so much.

Lobster_001

over 1 year ago nannydeb

Oh how wonderful! Can't wait to try it!

3-bizcard

over 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much nannydeb, If you do try I hope you like! Thanks again.

Default-small

over 1 year ago Tarragon

Unbelievable - I loved blackout cake although haven't had it in years, I love semifreddo, and I love chocolate - can't wait to try!

3-bizcard

over 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thank you so much, it's been years since I have had one, but they are one of my favorites.

036

over 1 year ago aargersi

Abbie is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Oh yum on this - if there is one thing I know it is to try your cakes because they are delicious!!! This one looks amazing. So I will try it!

3-bizcard

over 1 year ago sdebrango

Suzanne is a trusted source on General Cooking.

Thanks so much Abbie, you make me blush!