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Chocolate Eggnog Layer Cake

The eggnog is not the predominant flavor here -- it's hard to have another predominant flavor when chocolate is involved -- but it lends a rich sweetness to this old-fashioned layer cake.

2 cups cake flour
3/4 cup cocoa, plus about 3 tablespoons extra set aside for the pans
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs plus 2 large egg yolks
4 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
1 cup strong brewed coffee, cooled
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup dairy eggnog

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and set oven rack at upper middle level. Lightly grease 2 9-inch springform pans. Dust pans with the extra cocoa and shake out excess.

Beat together sugar and oil. Add eggs and yolks, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in melted chocolate and coffee.

Add vanilla extract to eggnog. Beat flour mixture and eggnog mixture into chocolate mixture a little bit at a time, alternating between the two until both are completely incorporated. Scrape down sides of bowl and beat again, briefly.

Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake in the middle of the oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until cake springs back when lightly pressed in the center. Cake will look almost black and very glossy.

Remove pans from oven and allow to cool on wire racks for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove cake from pans and allow to cool completely before frosting with . . .

Chocolate Eggnog Icing:
2 cups unsweetened cocoa
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 8-ounce brick cream cheese, room temperature
2 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted and slightly cooled
3/4 cup dairy eggnog
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Sift together the cocoa and powdered sugar. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP or you will end up with unappetizing little lumps in your frosting. Set aside.

Cream together all other ingredients. Add cocoa mixture a little at a time. Beat on highest mixer setting for several minutes, pausing to scrape down sides of bowl occasionally. Ice the cake and serve.

Frosting is enough to generously frost 2 9-inch or 10-inch cake layers. Cake serves 12 to 16.

Thursday, December 14, 2000

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