Chocoholic: Fudgy Chocolate Pretzel Cake
This cake is inspired by one of my favorite chocolate cakes of all time. Pulled off the internet when I worked as a pastry chef at an old country inn in Connecticut, I fell in love with the Double Chocolate Layer Cake from Engine Co. No. 28 at first bake. The recipe produces a generous volume of batter which creates a tall and luscious cake. The crumb is moist from oil and the flavor super rich from a combination of coffee, melted chocolate, and loads of cocoa. Though I adore the original, I've also been inspired by the recipe, adapting or tweaking it into endless variations.
This week I took to creating a pretzel variation simply because I wanted a proper dinner. My husband was set on crunching through an entire bag—which can equate to a meal for him—so I snatched the bag away and said that I needed it for a cake. I had to follow through, but that was fine. At least we'd go out for dinner, and there'd be dessert waiting on the other end of it.
For my cake, I adapted my favorite recipe to include rich sour cream, brown sugar, and a special dark cocoa that I had in the pantry (though regular natural cocoa is just as delicious). For the frosting, I whipped up a light and creamy sour cream-chocolate frosting, sprinkling crushed pretzels in between the layers and all over the top. The pretzels add terrific texture, a hint of smokiness, and a salty kick—a fine pairing for chocolate as always, and an easy way to elevate a chocolate cake into something unexpected.
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About the Author: Yvonne Ruperti is a food writer, recipe developer, former bakery owner, and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide To Easy Artisan Bread. You can also watch her culinary stylings on the America's Test Kitchen television show. She presently lives in Singapore working on her new baking cookbook, and as a recipe developer for HungryGoWhere Singapore. Check out her blog: shophousecook.com . Follow Yvonne on Twitter.