Friday, March 4, 2011

Bravo Baking

Friends, take note: If your birthday falls during Top Chef season, do what you can to push the festivities to the Thursday-Saturday window. 'Cuz there's something about Bravo that makes me get a little antsy in the kitchen, and you might just end up with a devil's food cake dressed in chocolate ganache and studded with chocolate shards.

Then again, I do watch Bravo constantly, but there's no way a cake inspired by the Millionaire Matchmaker is going to look this classy.

Mini Too Much Chocolate Cake
Slightly modified from 
1/4 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1/4 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1/4 cup reduced fat sour cream
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp unsweetened applesauce
1 eggs
2 tablespoons + 1 tsp warm water
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
  • In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into a small round pan
  • Bake for 50-60 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly in pan at least an hour and a half before inverting onto a plate.
 Notes for the Naked: 
  • Ganache: That luxuriant name says it all. Ganache is chocolate and cream melted into a fudgy drape for all manner of baked treats. It's both easy and elegant, and tastes as great as it sounds.
  • Since sour cream is not a popular ingredient in the Clothed Cook's household, I used the rest up with this ganache recipe, modified with a little more chocolate and a little sugar to cut the tartness of the cream. A ganache with heavy cream is probably even better. According to the 2,765 positive reviews on Allrecipes, this cake also tastes great naked. 
  • Chocolate shards are a really easy and cool-looking garnish for cakes, brownies, and cupcakes. Directions are here.
  • Tips for melting chocolate: You can use the microwave, but I find it's easier to set up a mock double boiler, since the chocolate is less likely to burn and you can keep it hot for a long time if you're not perfectly poised to use the chocolate the second it's melted. Make sure the bowl is totally dry or the chocolate will seize.


  1. So jealous of whoever got this delicious birthday cake...!

    It's my half-birthday on the 15th. Sounds like the perfect occasion for half a cake, doesn't it? :)

    How did you make the chocolate shards? Did they just stick naturally to the Ganache? I realize that may be a silly question...

  2. The shards are really easy actually--just spread melted chocolate on parchment paper, roll up, and freeze for 20 minutes. There's a detailed guide linked to in the "Notes for the Naked" section. They stick beautifully to the ganache when it's still soft, and when it firms up it holds them in place.