Sheet Pan

Brooklyn Blackout Semifreddo Cake

May 30, 2013
3 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
  • Prep time 1 hour
  • Cook time 45 minutes
  • Makes 1 large (10-inch) loaf cake
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!). The cake layer freezes really well and is a simple chocolate sponge cake recipe. —sdebrango

Test Kitchen Notes

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

What You'll Need
  • 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 Vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • The semifreddo:
  • 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
  • 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. Cake and Semifreddo
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. 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!
  6. 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. You do not have to hand whisk you can use a hand held mixer.
  7. Whip together the heavy cream and cream cheese. Fold whipped cream into chocolate mixture, in two additions, until incorporated.
  8. 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.
  1. Ganache and assembling
  2. 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.
  3. Crumble the leftover cake and set aside (I pulsed mine a couple of times in the food processor).
  4. 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!

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Jeannine Doyle
    Jeannine Doyle
  • Beth
  • Pisanella
  • Laurelb
I have loved to cook for as long as I can remember, am self taught learning as I go. I come from a large Italian family and food was at the center of almost every gathering. My grandfather made his own wine and I remember the barrels of wine in the cellar of my grandfathers home, I watched my mother and aunts making homemade pasta and remember how wonderful it was to sit down to a truly amazing dinner. Cooking for me is a way to express myself its my creative outlet. I enjoy making all types of food but especially enjoy baking, I live in Brooklyn, NY, and I share my home with my two dogs Izzy and Nando. I like to collect cookbooks and scour magazines and newspapers for recipes. I hope one day to organize them.

64 Reviews

Laurelb January 5, 2016
Made this tonight and it's tucked away in the freezer. Will be easier the second time to know the right bowls etc to use. Note to self switch from whisk attachment to beater to fold in flour, etc. Used the half sheet but not much cake left over.
Jeannine D. January 5, 2016
I fold in flour mixture with large spatula, works well
Jeannine D. January 4, 2016
A half sheet, 12 x 17". There will be a lot left after you cut the pieces 3 pieces for the loaf pan. Whiz the in the food processor to stick them to the sides of cake using the ganache after it has been frozen and taken out of the loaf pan
Laurelb January 4, 2016
Can you just cut the recipe in half to make a smaller sheet cake?
Laurelb January 4, 2016
Please tell me how wide your loaf pan was. Thanks
Mary L. August 13, 2015
Forgot to mention, additionally, I used a Kahlua sugar syrup to moisten the sponge cake.
Mary L. August 13, 2015
I found the cake on the recipe to be a bit stiff so I substituted a chocolate sponge cake and use the semifreddo--additionally it's lovely from the refrigerator instead of the freezer.
Jeannine D. July 3, 2015
I just finished this with the ganache and crumbs (snuck a piece), hide it by ganache and crumbs. OMG, this is a fantastic cake. I urge everyone to try it!
Lynn M. July 3, 2015
Beth July 2, 2015
It's wonderful
Jeannine D. July 2, 2015
Its in the freezer, will finish tomorrow!!! Hard to wait!
Jeannine D. June 27, 2015
Can this be eaten at room temperature!
Douglas B. August 11, 2014
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.
Douglas B. August 11, 2014
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
Douglas B. August 11, 2014
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 !
Douglas B. August 11, 2014
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.
Douglas B. August 11, 2014
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.
Pisanella August 11, 2014
Thanks guys! In the UK we have something called Carte Noire, so I will use that now I know what it is!
Douglas B. August 11, 2014

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

Pisanella August 11, 2014
What is espresso powder?
Laurelb August 1, 2014
How big a loaf pan did you use? Thanks
Douglas B. June 2, 2014
way WOW. I made it as a birthday cake. And it was delish !