This is the recipe I wound up with this weekend -- Shannon found it here. It turned out really well. The frosting was a little too runny, but I think it would have been OK if it hadn't been 80 zillion degrees in the kitchen where I was baking. Or if I'd thought to refrigerate it for a while first.
But the cake was delicious, with a really rich texture. The bittersweet chocolate also made it very chocolatey without being overly sweet.
2 1/2 cups cake flour (I used all-purpose)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 1/2 ounces semisweet or bittersweet dark chocolate, melted and cooled
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups cold water
Chambourd raspberry liqueur, for drizzling (I skipped this)
Chocolate Chip Butter Cream, recipe follows
Dark chocolate shavings, for decoration
Position an oven rack in the center of the oven and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the cooled chocolate and vanilla and beat for 3 minutes to incorporate. Beat in the eggs one at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat for another 3 minutes. Gradually mix in the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the cold water. Beat for 1 minute after each addition to incorporate the ingredients. Mix until the batter is smooth.
Coat 2 (9-inch) round cake pans with non-stick cooking spray. Cut 2 circles of parchment paper to fit the pan bottoms and place them inside the pans; then spray the paper for added non-stick insurance. Pour batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface with a spatula; the pans should be 2/3 full. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, see Cook's note*.
Leave to cool for 40 minutes. Turn the cakes out of the pans and remove the paper. Drizzle them with a few tablespoons of Chambourd. With a metal spatula, spread 1/2 cup butter cream on top 1 of the layers. Start in the center and work your way out. Carefully place the second layer on top. Smooth the sides with butter cream, then spread the rest over the top so that the cake is completely covered. Refrigerate for 5 minutes before decorating or cutting.
With a large knife scrape some shavings from a block of dark chocolate. Scatter shavings over cake.
*Cook's note. The cake is cooked when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean and the cake springs back when touched
Chocolate Chip Butter Cream:
3 cups powdered sugar
7 tablespoons hot water
4 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/4 cup semisweet dark chocolate, finely chopped
In the bowl of an electric mixer, dissolve the sugar and water at low speed. Beat in the dark chocolate and vanilla. Add butter gradually in small bits. Mix until everything is completely incorporated. Using a spatula, fold in the chopped chocolate and give a final quick spin.