Raise your hand out there if you watch Gossip Girls, The Hills, or the new 90210? Don’t worry, I won’t call you out for it, especially since my hand is raised as well. I can’t lie, I happen to to tune in to The Hills every Monday night (except this past week as I was watching HBO’s True Blood). But that’s why they are called GUILTY pleasures. You can’t help but laugh at the audacious characters and ridiculous settings. I mean, who here went to a high school that puts our nation’s capitol to shame? And who here went to Crillion Balls or cotillions wearing Chanel dresses? Yah, right.
You see, I was one of the good girls. You know, the ones who prefer to have massive sleepovers with their friends, consisting of S’Mores, Clueless, and one or two prank calls to boys. I should mass-market shirts and decals proclaiming that. High school was a little rough due to that characteristic but looking back, I wouldn’t change it for the world. I left the slutty endeavors to the girls who have no dropped out of high school and are married to lazy ass ex-football jocks. I didn’t have any labels on my clothes nor did I even own a cellphone until I was 16. Even today, I don’t have a badass bone in my body. You are more likely to find me roaming around town with my camera, at home reading another good book, drinking my one glass of champagne with a friend, or baking a chocolate cake at home just for fun.
One of my favorite bloggers, Molly from Les Cadeux, a fellow “good girl” who writes beautifully and makes me laugh, wrote “Call me square, but some things – things like cleavage and status handbags – need to be earned, and there is not a 16-year old out there who can convince me she’s earned them.” I totally agree with her. The worst part about a show like Gossip Girl is that those characters exist in some parts of the world. I see it on the streets where I live, in the places I visit. In malls across town, there are teen girls barely old enough to afford a brand new car yet somehow have the keys to a new BMW on their keychain. I drove by my old high school a couple of days ago and saw two young girls wearing LEATHER leggings with a tank top. L-E-A-T-H-E-R. Where were they from, their local S & M chapter?
If I could back in time, I’d tell my teenage-self to not stress about fitting in, buying shirts from Abercombie and Fitch is overrated, and that having a 12 a.m. curfew is NOT a big deal. I wasn’t that girl who had it all together, who had more guy friends than girls, who had one-night-stands and not shed a tear when he didn’t call, who blew off studying for a test because school didn’t matter, who went to parties and became the token drunk girl. I tell you what I was and what I still am. I was 16 years old the first time I tasted alcohol and it was in the company of my best friends. I can still laugh, looking back at that night as we all ended up giggling continuously on my friend’s kitchen floor (I don’t think we ever got off the floor actually). I didn’t have my first kiss until I was 19 and it was with a guy who I lusted after but he was TOTALLY not worth my time since he ended up sleeping with one of my friends later. I drove a beat-up old Volvo to school every day, and after school me and my friends would drive around, hitting garbage cans and laughing to the point of tears. (Don’t worry, we always went back to pick them up.)
I’m the good girl who dotes every I, crosses every t, works her butt of at work and school and enjoys sleeping instead of hitting random parties with frat guys. I also happen to be a MAGICIAN in the kitchen. Which brings us to this massively decadent double chocolate layer cake. In honor of my good girl status, I rewarded myself with a top-rated chocolate cake from Epicurious. Seriously, hundreds of people have made and approved this cake, making it one of the top rated recipes on their site. I brought it over to a friends house where we ate it straight out of the Tupperware while watching Pride & Prejudice (the old one, with Colin Firth. Yum.)
This cake is hands down my favorite chocolate layer cake. Yup, it’s official. Move over Devil’s Food Cake, this one outranks you. It is sturdy enough to last a couple of days, chocolatey enough to make your toes curl, yet not too sugary as to leave you in a sugar-induced coma. Because I was lazy, I just used a store-bought cream cheese frosting which tasted artifical and totally didn’t do the cake justice but oh well.
I dedicate this double chocolate cake to all the good girls out there. We are one of a kind and deserve more kudos. Trust me, in the end, the square good girls ALWAYS rule. Look at Oprah, or Tina Fey. They got the world in their hands and I bet they had to fight for every luxury they had.
Double Chocolate Layer Cake
Origin: Gourmet- March 1999
Yield: 12 to 14 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Inactive Prep Time: 2 hours
For cake layers:
● 3 oz. fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
● 1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
● 3 cups sugar
● 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
● 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
● 2 tsp. baking soda
● 3/4 tsp. baking powder
● 1 1/4 tsp. salt
● 3 large eggs
● 3/4 cup vegetable oil
● 1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
● 3/4 tsp. vanilla
For ganache frosting:
● 1 lb. fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
● 1 cup heavy cream
● 2 tbsp. sugar
● 2 tbsp. light corn syrup
● 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
● Special equipment
● two 10- by 2-inch round cake pans
Make cake layers:
Preheat oven to 300°F. and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.
Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well. Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.
Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.
Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency).
Spread frosting between cake layers and over top and sides. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.