The Best Thing I Ever Made is a popular show on Food Network where acclaimed chefs, cookbook authors and Food Network personalities reveal not only what they love to eat, but what they love to make. From personal family recipes to favorite dishes off their own menus, these food experts share their secrets and show us how to cook what they consider to be “The Best Thing I Ever Made”. Chef Alexandra Guarnaschelli is a celebrity chef at New York City’s Butter restaurant and has appeared on TV shows including Chopped, Iron Chef America, All Star Family Cook-off, and The Best Thing I Ever Ate. She embarked on a culinary journey in France and ended up working in some of the country’s top restaurants. Her premiere cookbook, Old-School Comfort Food: The Way I Learned to Cook, was published in spring 2013. Her Childhood Chocolate Cake is delightfully moist cake which derives its spongy texture from whipped eggs and mayonnaise. I must admit that I was a bit skeptical about adding mayonnaise to cake batter but please do not think to much, just do it. If you do not want to fiddle with the meringue frosting, simply pile on spoonfuls of freshly whipped cream over your finished cake before sprinkling with tons of chocolate shavings.

CHOCOLATE CAKE BY CHEF ALEX

Ingredients:

For the Chocolate Cake

3 eggs, room temperature

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa

2 teaspoons instant coffee

1/2 teaspoon kitchen salt

1 1/4 cups mayonnaise

1 1/3 cups hot water

For the White Frosting

2 egg whites, room temperature

1 1/3 cups granulated sugar

1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Garnish

4 ounces dark chocolate, grated

Method:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Put parchment paper in the bottom of the two 9-inch cake pans.
  • Use nonstick spray or a little butter to thoroughly grease the sides and bottoms. Set the pans aside.

  • In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the eggs and sugar on high speed.
  • Beat until light, fluffy and lemony-colored for about 5 to 8 minutes until it reaches the ribbon stage.

  • In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa powder, coffee and salt.
  • Mix in the mayonnaise, gently whisk in hot water. Fold in egg/sugar mixer from mixer until smooth.

  • Mix until all of the ingredients are thoroughly combined. Pour half of the cake batter into each pan.
  • Place the pans in the center of the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Remove and set aside to cool.

  • For the frosting, make a stovetop water bath by placing a large skillet half-filled with water on stove.
  • Heat till it simmers. Put the egg whites, sugar, cream of tartar, 5 tbs water and corn syrup in a bowl.

  • Place the bowl in the water bath and whisk the whites until they fluff up and reach to 140 degrees F.
  • When the whites reach 140 degrees F, remove the bowl from water bath and add the vanilla extract.

  • Whisk for 1 to 2 additional minutes to cool it off a little. Cover with plastic wrap until ready to frost.
  • To assemble the cake, gently turn the cake rounds out onto a flat surface. Finely grate the chocolate.

  • Sprinkle grated chocolate onto the first layer. Use about one-third of the total frosting on first layer.
  • Let some of it spill over the top to coat the sides and place the other layer squarely on top of the first.

  • Use the remaining frosting to coat the top and sides of cake and sprinkle with more grated chocolate.
  • The grated chocolate creates a nice texture to compliment the soft cake. Makes one 9-inch layer cake.

Happy 4th July, folks!