This cake is not not messy. Let me repeat: this cake is NOT not messy. I’m warning you. Your kitchen surfaces will be smeared and covered with chocolate pudding and cake crumbs, and your floor will have a bunch of crumbs all over it, and you are highly advised to wear an apron or some other sort of clothing protection. Like I said, just warning you. The mess and amount of dirty dishes this cake produces makes it more of a special-occasion cake (or an ‘its-sunday-and-the-weather-is-terrible-and-i-have-nothing-to-do’ sort of cake), but the flavor is outstanding. I had never heard of using pudding as a cake filling and frosting, but it’s really excellent. The pudding not only tastes delicious, it keeps the cake amazingly moist and tender. Delicious! You should make this for a chocoholic’s birthday, or just next time you’re stuck home all day. 🙂
In small saucepan, heat margarine and the chocolates over low heat, stirring frequently, until melted and smooth; set aside.
In 3-qt saucepan, with whisk, mix sugar, cornstarch, and cocoa. Gradually add milk, whisking until blended (it’s okay if mixture isn’t smooth). Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture has thickened and boils (this will take 5-10 minutes). Boil, stirring, for 1 minute.
In a small bowl, beat eggs slightly. Whisk small amount of hot milk mixture into eggs until smooth. Gradually pour egg mixture back into the hot milk, whisking rapidly to prevent the eggs from curdling and forming lumps. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until very thick, 2-3 minutes.
Remove saucepan from heat; stir in melted chocolate and vanilla. Pour pudding into a bowl, and cover with plastic wrap, pressing wrap directly on the pudding’s surface to prevent a skin from forming. Refrigerate until cool and set, 3 hours at the least. Yields about 3 cups.
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2/3 cups dark cocoa powder + extra for dusting pans
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cups whole milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans, line bottoms with parchment paper, and grease paper. Dust pans with cocoa powder.
In medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a measuring cup, mix together milk and vanilla.
In a stand mixer’s bowl, at low speed, beat butter and sugar till blended. Increase speed to high and beat for 2 minutes. Reduce speed to medium-low and add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. With mixer at low speed, alternatively add the flour mixture and the milk mixture, starting and finishing with the flour. Beat until batter is smooth, occasionally scraping bowl with a spatula.
Pour batter into prepared pans; spread evenly. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, 25-30 minutes.
Cool cakes in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Run thin knife around edges to loosen cakes from pans, then invert onto wire racks. Remove parchment paper, cool completely.
To assemble cake:
With serrated knife, cut each cake in half horizontally to make 4 layers in all. With knife, trim at least 1/4 in. off side of cakes to make crumbs for decorating. I used a dessert plate smaller than the cake as my guide for making all layers the same. With hand, crumble cake trimmings into small bowl (or get your brother to do it for you. 🙂 )
Place 1 cake layer on cake plate. With whisk, gently stir cooled pudding in bowl to loosen for easier spreading. Spread about 2/3 cups pudding over layer, using a flat metal spatula or icing spreader to get an even coat, all the way to the edges. Repeat with remaining 3 layers, using 2/3 cups pudding per layer, and ending with the pudding. Use some remaining pudding to lightly frost the sides of the cake. Sprinkle reserved cake crumbs on top of the cake, and press onto the sides. If not serving immediately, store in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 2 days.