I love making everyone's birthday dessert wishes come true. For my friend Robin she said she wanted anything chocolate and joked about a many layered chocolate cake from Le Bernardin. I found Eric Ripert's recipe for a molten cake but it had parameters on how far in advance of baking it could be made, so that was out. Then I think I googled "best chocolate cake" and found Ina Garden's recipe for what she says is "the best chocolate cake that [she] has ever made." How could I not try making that!???
The recipe called for oil instead of butter so I was suspicious but soldiered on, because it's Ina. Ina is never wrong.
Well, Robin was very happy. So that is ALL that matters. End of story....with one teeny tiny footnote.
I'm going to tell you why it wasn't my very favorite chocolate cake ever, while still encouraging you to make it. If you like cakes that are a little more spongy in texture, i.e., more big holes to be seen, then you will love it. You push down on it with a fork and it bounces up very quickly. I prefer cakes that are more cakey, i.e., a bit smaller holes. They are not in any way heavy but they bounce back a wee bit more slowly.
And, yes it was still an awesome cake and I totally get Ina's adoration for it. What I loved about it: it's light, very dark chocolatey, and super duper easy to make. It doesn't even require cake flour.
It is a lazy fancy cake to make because -- I'm not kidding you -- you can't screw it up and it's fast to throw together. Not all cake recipes are this forgiving or carefree to assemble.
NOTE: Make 1.5 times the frosting recipe. Just trust me, even though it's insane because that means you are going to use 3/4 of a pound of butter. But one recipe's worth does not make a great looking cake -- unless perhaps you are a professional baker. Even then, though, the coverage is thin with one recipe.
I always decorate my cakes with fresh flowers and signs but I added extra lavender to obscure the not-so-beautiful-cause-there-wasn't-enough frosting coverage.
Still. Make it. It's deeeeeescruptious.
Ina's recipe: http://bit.ly/1bWQXGf