For the past few years I have made a special cake on Christmas Eve. I pick a bit more complicated recipe than I typically would as I enjoy dedicating much of the day to this labor of love. Last year was Martha's Candy Bar Cake and this year I went with a Southern Living selection. Both cakes have been very well recived amongst my family and I am already on the hunt for next year's creation.
Chocolate Gingerbread Toffee Cake
YIELD: 10 to 12 servings
TOTAL:9 Hours, 5 Minutes
Ginger Whipped Cream
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
1 (16-oz.) package light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
3 large eggs
2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground ginger
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
1 (8-oz.) container sour cream
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup toffee bits
Gingerbread Cookies (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare Ginger Whipped Cream as directed in Step 1 of recipe (through chilling).
2. Microwave chocolate morsels in a microwave-safe bowl at high 1 to 1 1/2 minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30-second intervals.
3. Beat brown sugar and butter at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add melted chocolate, beating just until blended.
4. Sift together flour and next 5 ingredients. Gradually add to chocolate mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until blended after each addition. Stir together hot water and next 2 ingredients. (Mixture will foam.) Gradually stir molasses mixture and vanilla into chocolate mixture just until blended. Spoon batter into 3 greased and floured 8-inch round cake pans.
5. Bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks, and cool completely (about 1 hour).
6. Meanwhile, prepare Silky Ganache. Place 1 cake layer on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread with half of ganache; sprinkle with 1/2 cup toffee bits. Top with second cake layer; spread with remaining ganache, and sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup toffee bits. Top with remaining cake layer. Cover and chill 2 to 8 hours.
7. Finish preparing Ginger Whipped Cream as directed in Step 2 of recipe. Spread top and sides of cake with whipped cream just before serving. Garnish, if desired.
Southern Living DECEMBER 2011