Throwing a Galentine's Day Party? You've found your star dessert. These chocolate cake sandwiches are a throwback to one of my favorite treats from childhood, made into a grown-up dessert by the genius gals of Liddabit Sweets. I like them as is, two layers of chocolate cake with chocolate frosting in between, but if you want to get fancy, you can enrobe the entire thing in yet more chocolate. For the best success, make sure you have plenty of cookie sheets and parchment paper, as well as a boatload of hungry friends: The recipe makes 30 to 40 dogs.
Recipe from Jennifer King, Liddabit Sweets
1. TO MAKE THE SOUR-CREAM CHOCOLATE CAKE. One hour ahead of time, preheat the oven to 350°F (177°C).
Grease two 13- × 18-inch sheet cake pans and line them with parchment paper.
Sift the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl. Stir with a whisk until just combined.
In a separate bowl, combine the oil, sour cream, vinegar, and vanilla, and blend until smooth.
Pour the wet mixture into the dry mixture and stir gently with the whisk until just barely combined.
Whisk the eggs in a small bowl and then add them to the mixture. Stir until they are well blended, making sure there are no lumps or errant clumps of flour.
Divide the batter equally between the prepared pans so that it fills them in an even layer, all the way to the corners, if possible.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans.
2. TO MAKE THE CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM FROSTING. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or microwave (in short intervals), then set aside to cool slightly.
Remove the metal bowl of a stand mixer. Combine the sugar and egg whites in the bowl and set it over a pan of simmering water, like a double boiler setup. Make sure that the bottom of the bowl is not touching the water.
Heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture is warm and the sugar is dissolved.
Attach the bowl to a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and continue whisking until the mixture is cooled and stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes. (For you pastry nerds, this is called a Swiss meringue.)
With the mixer running, add the butter one piece at a time, mixing until each piece is completely incorporated.
Continue whisking until a light, fluffy cream forms.
Stir in the chocolate until well combined.
3. TO ASSEMBLE THE DEVIL DOGS. Remove both cakes from their pans: Run a knife around the edge of the cake and put a cutting board or an unrimmed cookie sheet on top of it. Hold on to the parchment paper and the cutting board as you flip the tray in one swift movement.
Peel the parchment paper off both cakes and set one of the cakes in the freezer to chill for 15 minutes.
Spread the buttercream onto the second cake so that you have a 1/2-inch-thick layer of frosting.
Remove the first cake from the freezer and lay it on top of the buttercream.
Freeze for at least 4 hours and up to overnight.
Using a sharp knife, cut the cake into individual-size rectangles.
Serve immediately; leftovers will keep for 2 days at room temperature. Or, for an added chocolate bonus, try the variation below.
4. CHOCOLATE-COVERED DEVIL DOGS. After assembling the devil dogs, place them on a wire rack 1 inch apart. Set the rack over a tray. Refrigerate until the cakes are firm.
Temper 2 pounds of chocolate (60 to 72 percent cocoa).
Remove the cakes from the refrigerator. Pour the warm chocolate over them, leaving the bottoms uncoated. Let the cakes sit for an hour or so, until the chocolate is fully set; if you’re in a hurry to finally eat these delicious treats, place them in the fridge to speed things up.
Store any leftovers in the refrigerator, where they will keep for up to 3 days.