This recipe is one deep cut of another sort and much like the Indie, now-famous band it was created for, Arcade Fire, it's fabulous and unique. Of course, everyone knows Arcade Fire now, especially with their best album of the year at the recent Grammys 2011. But I first learned about them when I put my old piano up for sale on Craigslist a few years back. This person called Will Butler (who told me he just was a musician) came to buy what he called my 'black beast' (an ancient Heinzman piano). He shared cookies and challah (I was test baking as always) the next day while we waited for the piano mover to transfer the piano from my house to Arcade Fire's practise premises. Of course, the rest is history. Like everything, I honored the occasion by creating a cake. This is my Arcade Fire Cake. Imagine a dark, dense chocolate cake – a great big hunk of cake, all topped with an old-fashioned thick white, butter-based icing like Woolworths and diners used to sell. Don’t bother washing the knife you cut this with; just leave it in the cake pan. It's going to be getting alot of action.
1 cup corn oil
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup cocoa
2 ¾ cups sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon butter extract * optional
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup sour cream
White Lightening Frosting
3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar
½ cup unsalted butter
2 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon butter extract * optional
Half-and-half, as required
½ cup marshmallow fluff * warmed
* Butter extract is available from www.SpicesEtc.com . It adds that perfect taste to icings and imparts a buttery taste in cakes using oil as the fat.
* Alternatively you can use melted white chocolate
Preheat oven to 350 F. Generously spray a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
In a mixer or very large food processor, blend the oil, butter and sugar well. Blend in the eggs and extracts. Fold in the flour, cocoa, soda, baking powder, salt, buttermilk and sour cream and blend well making sure nothing is sticking on the sides or bottom of the work bowl. Place in oven and bake 1 hour, 20-30 minutes, lowering oven temperature to 325 F for the last 25 minutes of baking. Cake will have a crack; that is fine.
For the icing, place the ingredients in the food processor and whip, adding in more half-and-half as required for a soft icing. Ice cake and cover icing with shavings of dark chocolate. Warm about ½ cup of marshmallow fluff (over hot water or briefly, in microwave). Drizzle this on top of chocolate shavings.
Cakes serves 12-20, freezes well.
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