Foods

Blackout Cake – InfowayTechnologies

According to legend (a.k.a. the Internet), Brooklyn Blackout Cake was created by Ebinger’s bakery, a Flatbush-based storefront that once had outposts across New York’s boroughs, but eventually shuttered in 1972. Comprising three layers of very moist, tender devil’s food cake sandwiching a lush milk chocolate pudding and enrobed in a dark chocolate ganache-style frosting, Ebinger’s first called the dessert simply “chocolate fudge cake.” During World War II, when the military began conducting controlled power outages along the Brooklyn waterfront, so that battleships could leave the Brooklyn Navy Yard undetected, a new name took hold. Notifications for these “blackout drills” were posted all over the borough—shortly thereafter, the fudgy dark-crumbed cake got its new moniker.

When the bakery closed, Ebinger’s original Brooklyn Blackout Cake recipe disappeared too. I wasn’t alive to have tried it, but—as any good chocolate cake fanatic would—I have a strong idea of what a cake named blackout should taste like: rich, dark, moist, decadent…I could keep going, but you know what I’m talking about.

Because assembling this cake is a little time-consuming, I wanted to make the sponge as easy as possible. You don’t need a stand mixer—or any other appliance. It’s just one bowl, dump, stir, and bake. My recipe starts with a simple chocolate cake enriched with Dutch-process cocoa powder and dark brown sugar (okay, so you’ll want to sift the dry ingredients since Dutch cocoa can be notoriously lumpy). It also has sour cream for richness—and to lift the chocolate flavor with its tang.

The pudding filling is my favorite part of the recipe. It tastes like a richer, more chocolaty version of the pudding cups you might’ve found in your lunchbox as a kid. I’d make it as a stand-alone dessert anytime I need a quick chocolate fix. Because the cake and pudding are pretty sweet, I kept the frosting dark and moody. All you do is melt chocolate, stir in some cream, and let it thicken as it cools to room temperature. A dollop of sour cream adds just enough brightness for balance, while golden syrup gives the frosting a glossy sheen. The syrup, a key component of Anzac biscuits, can be hard to find in American grocery stores; swap it out for dark corn syrup if you must.

Another important component of Brooklyn Blackout Cake is its garnish. You’ll bake the cake in two layers, then split each in half. Three of those layers are stacked with the pudding, but the fourth is crumbled and pressed into the sides of the cake for an arresting presentation that makes the dessert immediately identifiable. Putting the cake together can be a little messy: The pudding will smoosh out of the sides if you press down too hard or if it isn’t adequately chilled. But that’s the genius of the crumb coating. Once assembled, it’ll hide any and all flaws and no one will ever know what a crazy, oozy mess your naked cake looked like.


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