November 15, 2015

Wellesley Fudge Cake

I may not have had the GPA or SAT scores to get in to Wellesley, the private women's liberal arts college in Massachusetts, but I will be bold and say that I possess enough of a culinary IQ to conquer their eponymous chocolate cake.   

Have you ever heard of Wellesley Fudge Cake?  I sure didn't until my search for an atypical chocolate cake lead me to this recipe on Cook's Country.  Who would have thought that this bastion of higher learning was also the origin for some impressive fudge?  

Bloomed Dutch-processed cocoa gives the cake its deep chocolate flavor and buttermilk makes it super moist.  Similar to how traditional fudge is made, the frosting is cooked on the stove top.   Even better, when the frosting cools completely on the cake it forms a really lovely crust.  With all that fudge you would assume this cake was overly sweet.  Fear not, it's far from it.  

So while my undergraduate degree may not bear the name of a famed Seven Sister at least my dessert will!

Wellesley Fudge Cake

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup hot water
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder (natural cocoa can also be used)
16 tablespoons (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 16 pieces and softened
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut in half, and softened
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup evaporated milk
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted 

Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8-inch-square cake pans. 

Combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in bowl; set aside. In a small bowl, whisk hot water with cocoa powder until smooth; set aside. With electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and granulated sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. 

Add eggs, 1 at a time, and mix until incorporated. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with 2 additions of buttermilk, until combined. Reduce speed to low and slowly add cocoa mixture and vanilla until incorporated. 

Scrape equal amounts of batter into prepared pans and bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool cakes in pans 15 minutes, then turn out onto wire rack. Cool completely, about 1 hour. (Cooled, wrapped cakes can be stored at room temperature for 2 days.)

Heat 4 tablespoons butter, brown sugar, salt, and ½ cup evaporated milk in large saucepan over medium heat until small bubbles appear around perimeter of pan, 4 to 8 minutes. Reduce heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has thickened and turned deep golden brown, about 6 minutes. Transfer to large bowl. Slice remaining butter into 4 pieces and stir in with remaining evaporated milk until mixture is slightly cool. Add chocolate and vanilla and stir until smooth. Whisk in confectioners’ sugar until incorporated. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.

Place 1 cake square on serving platter. Spread 1 cup frosting over cake, then top with second cake square. Generously spread remaining frosting evenly over top and sides of cake. Refrigerate cake until frosting is set, about 1 hour. Serve. (Cake can be refrigerated, covered, for 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.)


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