Very Best Chocolate Cake

J. Alexander's Restaurant Recipe

2 tablespoons softened butter
12 ounces Hershey's chocolate bars, coarsely chopped
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 (16 oz.) can Hershey's chocolate syrup (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon vanilla
hot fudge sauce (your favorite brand), warmed
vanilla ice cream

Generously grease inside and top edges of a 15 cup capacity bundt pan with softened butter. Melt the chopped chocolate bars and cool to around body temperature. Melt the butter and cool, about 15 minutes. While the chocolate and butter are cooling, sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, mix cooled butter and sugar with the paddle attachment on medium speed, 1 minute. Add eggs, one at a time, beating 10 seconds after each addition. Add chocolate syrup, mixing well. Reduce speed to low and add flour mixture along with the buttermilk. Mix well, about 30 seconds. Do not overbeat. Add vanilla and melted chocolate bars, mixing well. Turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Finish combining the batter by hand by folding with a large spatula. Pour into the prepared pan and transfer to a sheet pan to catch any drips.

Bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes or until cake reaches an internal temperature of 195 degrees on an instant-read thermometer. Remove from oven. When cool enough to touch, gently push down toward the cake any edges of cake that remain at the top of the pan. Cool completely, preferably overnight. Note: Cake will fall in slightly on itself.

To release the cake, place the pan in a 250 degree oven for several minutes. Remove from the oven, place a large plate or cutting board over the cake and flip the cake over, releasing it from the pan. Cut desired number of slices. Serve warm cake topped with warm hot fudge sauce and a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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