Ummm you guys, I’m not sure how I haven’t come across this idea earlier of filling a chocolate cake with chocolate pudding but we’re rectifying that right this second! This epic, moist, dark, chocolatey cake is called a Blackout Cake and it gets its name from blackout drills in Brooklyn during World War II. It originated in New York’s Ebinger Baking Company (sadly doesn’t exist now) and though it doesn’t seem to be as popular anymore, the internet is still filled with versions and stories of it.
Each slice is super decadent and traditionally, the cake is decorated with its own crumbs. Which means for once, all those scraps you end up with while levelling the domed tops of layer cakes, are going to come in handy! Seriously, this is not a cake to be taken lightly. It’s soooo delicious but really not much effort at all!
I saw some recipes that used cream cheese frosting, but been there, done that. Since the original one actually fills the cake with chocolate pudding, I couldn’t get that idea out of my mind. For the cake itself, this Food Network recipe worked well. I swapped the sour cream for plain yoghurt and it’s what I always do, so there’s no need to go buy sour cream just for this recipe.
For the pudding however, I relied on my favourite recipe that doesn’t need eggs. Typically, the pudding is only on the inside of the cake, the outside is frosted with a chocolate ganache. I chose to skip this and just use the pudding everywhere, and if you would like thicker layers of it, simply double that pudding recipe. I don’t like large quantities of frosting so I tend to proceed a bit cautiously. For the sides of the cake, I used just enough to create the naked cake look and hold those yummy crumbs!
Together, it is a ridonculously silky frosting complementing a tender cake crumb. Just so good, I can’t even put this into words. For that dark colour in the cake, use a dark cocoa, either Hershey’s Special Dark, or your favourite Dutch-process cocoa. This is after all, a decadent, intensely chocolatey cake! You can also use a regular cocoa, but the flavour will be milder and the colour much lighter. Here’s the difference between the types of cocoa.
The cake is quite large and the recipe notes have some tips on cutting it down if you’d like. Both the cake and the pudding should be made the day before, giving them enough time cool completely (the pudding is best when chilled overnight to thicken enough to become the consistency of frosting). Once assembled, it needs another 30 minutes of chilling at least so that you can slice it easily and neatly. So plan ahead! Let’s bake 🙂
Please read the recipe notes before beginning.
- For the cake
- 1 and ½ cups freshly boiled water
- 1 cup cocoa powder (Hershey's Special Dark or any Dutch-process cocoa work best)
- 2 and ½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 and ½ tsps baking powder
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp salt
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups caster sugar
- 3 eggs, at room temp
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- ½ cup plain yoghurt/curd, at room temp
- For the chocolate pudding
- ⅛ cup cornflour
- ¼ cup caster sugar
- A pinch of salt
- 1 and ½ cups milk
- 85 gms dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- First, make the cake. Combine the hot water and cocoa in a bowl and stir well till the cocoa has dissolved. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- Grease a 9" springform tin with sides that are at least 3 inches high (see notes). Preheat the oven to 175 C.
- Now in a large, deep mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the oil and sugar until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, along with the vanilla and beat slowly to combine.
- Add the yoghurt, and then gradually add the flour mixture, stirring or beating slowly. If you have a stand mixer, let it run on low speed while you add the flour.
- Once you have a thick, smooth batter, pour in the cocoa+water mixture, slowly. Beat to combine. You will now have a fairly runny batter which is why it's important to start with a large mixing bowl, so that there's not much splattering.
- Pour into the prepared cake tin. This is a large batter and will fill the cake tin almost to the top.
- Bake for 45 minutes, then turn the tin around and continue baking for another 20 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs. Because this is such a large cake, it will take a while to bake. Depending on your oven, this may get done sooner or later, so check for doneness 2 to 3 times as it bakes.
- Set the cake aside to cool completely at room temperature. Cover with foil and let it sit out overnight.
- Now, make the pudding. In a medium saucepan, mix the cornflour, sugar and salt. Pour in ½ cup milk in a thin stream, stirring as you go, till the cornflour has dissolved completely. Pour in the rest of the milk and mix well.
- Place the saucepan on low heat, stirring occasionally. Scrape the sides and bottom to ensure there are no lumps and the milk isn't burning. Stir till it begins to thicken enough to coat the back of the spoon. The milk should have just begun to simmer.
- Add the chocolate and stir till it is completely incorporated and the mixture thickens much more. Remove any lumps in the pudding with a spoon or strain through a sieve into a bowl.
- Let the pudding cool at room temperature for 30 minutes, then place in the fridge uncovered, preferably overnight but at least 4 hours. It needs to thicken to the consistency of a frosting.
- When you're ready to assemble the cake, open up the sides of the springform tin and slice off the domed top of the cake. Set the scraps aside, you'll use them for decoration!
- Slice the cake in half horizontally and spoon half of the chilled pudding onto the center of the lower half. Spread out in an even layer, then top with the second half of the cake and spread the remaining pudding on it and on the sides. I like lesser frosting on the sides for a 'naked' look, just enough to hold the cake crumbs.
- Crumble up the cake scraps and stick them onto the sides and top of the cake.
- Let the cake chill for 30 minutes before you slice into it. It needs to be stored in the fridge once the pudding has been spread onto it, and will keep for a week. I suspect it can also be frozen. Happy baking!
*The pudding recipe as written doesn't make very thick layers of the filling, so feel free to double it if you're really into lots of filling. You can also use all the pudding only in the center of the cake, and frost the top with a whipped chocolate ganache (search for my chocolate olive oil cake that uses it).
*I have not tried making this cake without eggs. I suspect without the eggs, it will turn out a little dense, but you can use about ½ cup of milk to make a fairly runny batter and the yoghurt already in the recipe should help keep it moist and tender. I can't guarantee the same results using milk, but do report back if you try it.
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