I grew up on the "real deal" as there was an Ebinger's near my home. Here's the recipe for authentic Ebinger's Blackout Cake (crumbs essential). I made it once with my mother.
Ebinger’s All-Chocolate Blackout Cake
New York Cookbook:
From Pelham Bay to Park Avenue,
Firehouses to Four Star Restaurants...
by Molly O’Neill, 1992, Workman Publishing
Makes 10 to 12 servings
1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
2 tablespoons boiling water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup milk
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened slightly
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs, separated
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 3/4 teaspoons unsweetened Dutch-process
2 cups boiling water
3/4 cup plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 [to 4] tablespoons cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon
cold water [see note]
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1/2 cup hot water
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter and lightly flour two (8-inch) round cake pans.
2. Make the cake: Place cocoa in a small bowl and whisk in boiling water
to form a paste.
3. Combine the chocolate and milk in saucepan over medium heat. Stir frequently until the chocolate melts, about 3 minutes. Remove from the
heat. Whisk a small amount of the hot chocolate milk into the cocoa paste
to warm it. Whisk the cocoa mixture into the milk mixture. Return the pan
to medium heat and stir for one minute. Remove and set aside to cool
4. In the bowl of a mixer, cream the butter and sugar together. Beat in the
egg yolks, one at a time, and the vanilla. Slowly stir in the chocolate mixture.
5. Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Using a spatula
or a wooden spoon, slowly add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture. Fold in until just mixed.
6. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Using a spatula, gently fold the egg whites into the batter. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 45 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pans on rack for 15 minutes.
Gently remove the cakes from the pans and continue to cool.
7. While the cake is baking, make the filling: Combine the cocoa and boiling water in a small saucepan over low heat. Stir in the sugar and chocolate.
Add the dissolved cornstarch paste and salt to the pan and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil for one minute. Remove from heat and whisk in vanilla and butter. Transfer the mixture to a bowl, cover and refrigerate
8. Make the frosting: Melt the chocolate in a double boiler over hot, not simmering, water, stirring until smooth. Remove the top of the double
boiler from the heat and whisk in the butter, 1 tablespoon at a time.
Return the top to the heat, if necessary, to melt the butter.
9. Whisk in the hot water all at once and whisk until smooth. Whisk in
the corn syrup and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate for up to 15 minutes
prior to using.
10. Assemble the cake: Use a sharp serrated knife to slice each cake layer horizontally in half to form 4 layers. Set 1 layer aside. Place 1 layer on a
cake round or plate. Generously swath the layer with one-third of the filling. Add the second layer and repeat. Set the third layer on top. Quickly apply a layer of frosting to the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
11. Meanwhile, crumble the remaining cake layer. Apply the remaining frosting to the cake. Sprinkle it liberally with the cake crumbs. Serve the
cake within 24 hours. Store in a cool place.
Note: Please note that these ingredients make a very runny filling that pleased the 12 devout Ebingerists who taste-tested different versions of this cake. Those who desire a less syrupy consistency can stir in an additional 1 to 2 tablespoons cornstarch.
[The now-defunct McKenzie’s Bakery of New Orleans baked a
dearly-beloved version of the Blackout Cake. We understand from local
aficionados that the filling in the McKenzie version was firmer, more like
pudding, therefore requiring 4 tablespoons of cornstarch.]
Some days I pray for Silence, Some days I pray for Soul,
Some days I just pray to the God of Sex and Drums and Rock 'N' Roll.