This is the perfect cake if you are dying for an intense chocolate flavor. It originated as its name suggests in Brooklyn, New York. It was named after the blackouts that were happening in the city during World War II, as practice war drills. Thank God we can enjoy this cake now in more peaceful times. But every time I eat this cake, I think of the millions of soldiers who went and fought war and died for their countries and I pray for them as I enjoy the cake. Try and use the best dark chocolate available.
For the cake
- 140g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
- 100ml vegetable oil
- 140g buttermilk
- 100ml coffee,
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 250g light muscovado sugar
- 250g plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda50g cocoa powder
For the custard filling and covering
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 250g golden caster sugar
- 500ml full-fat milk
- 140g chocolate, 85% cocoa solids, broken into pieces
- 50g cornflour
- 2 tsp espresso powder
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Make the custard first as it needs to be cold before using on cake. Put all the ingredients, except the vanilla, in a large pan and bring gently to the boil, whisking all the time, until the chocolate has melted and you have a thick custard. It will take 5-7 minutes from cold. Stir in the vanilla and a generous pinch of salt, then scrape the custard into a wide, shallow bowl. Let it chill in the fridge for at least 3 hours or until cold and set.
- Heat oven to 180oC/gas 4.
- Grease and line the bottoms of 2 x 20cm sandwich tins. Melt the butter in a pan, then remove from the heat and beat in the oil, buttermilk, coffee and eggs. In a large bowl, whisk the dry ingredients together add 1/4 tsp salt. Then add into the bowl all the wet ingredients and whisk until smooth.
- Divide the batter between the prepared tins and bake for 25-30 mins until risen and a skewer inserted into the middle of the cakes comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes, then transfer to a rack to cool completely.
- Remove the parchment linings from the cakes. Trim the cakes flat if needed and leave one domed for the upper layer.
- Cut each cake across the middle using a large serrated knife.
- Put your least successful layer and any trimmings into a processor and pulse it to crumbs. Tip into a large bowl.
- Sit one layer on a cake plate and spread it with a quarter of the custard. Sandwich the next layer on top, and add another quarter of the custard, then top with the final layer of cake. Spoon the remaining custard on top of the cake, then spread it around the top and down the sides until smooth. Chill for 15 minutes to firm up the custard again.
- Hold the cake over the bowl containing the crumbs, then sprinkle and gently press a layer of crumbs all over the cake. Chill for 3 hours, or longer, before serving, and eat it cold. It can be made up to 2 days ahead. The cake gets fudgier and more enticing the longer you leave it.