Happy birthday to me! Today is my birthday! We're invited to a dinner party and I offered to bring dessert. (Don't be horrified. Most of my friends don't bake, or if they do, they use a mix. I love to bake, and I'm kind of a snob about it. This was fun for me.) Cake and ice cream--what else? This is a single-layer, rich dark chocolate cake that I adapted from Gourmet--I increased the chocolate, and added the orange. It's covered with ganache and sprinkles! The cake is really sophisticated and the sprinkles add a bit of fun. —drbabs
1 9" cake
FOR THE CAKE
all purpose flour
Dutch-process cocoa powder
butter (1 stick), room temperature
large eggs, room temperature
fresh-squeezed orange juice
FOR THE GANACHE
best quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine
Preheat oven to 350°F with rack in middle. Butter bottom and side of 9 inch cake pan (I used a springform pan.), then line bottom with a round of parchment.
Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, powdered espresso and salt into a bowl.
With an electric mixer, beat butter and brown sugar in a large bowl at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla and orange juice and zest. Reduce speed to low and stir in flour mixture and milk alternating between the two. Don't over- beat. The batter may look curdled. It's OK.
Pour batter into cake pan and smooth top. Bake until cake begins to pull away from side of pan and a wooden pick inserted into center comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool cake in pan 5 minutes, then invert onto a rack and cool completely, about 1 hour.
When cake is cool, make the ganache. Bring cream to a simmer in a small heavy saucepan over medium heat, then pour over chocolate in a bowl and let stand 1 minute. Gently whisk until chocolate is completely melted and blended with the cream, and the ganache is smooth, shiny and creamy.
Ice the top of the cake with the ganache, and decorate with sprinkles. Have a happy birthday!