Groundhog Cake for Groundhog Day!!



    Happy Groundhog Day everyone!  I guess old Punxsutawney Phil didn’t see his shadow so, according to this “expert”, we can look forward to an early spring.  Well, that remains to be seen.  For now, let’s just celebrate with a nice piece of cake! 
    First of all, let me say that I have absolutely no idea why this cake is called “Groundhog Cake”.  I came across the recipe years ago on the Food Network.  The original recipe was a loaf cake, baked in a 9×13″ pan.  I decided I wanted to make it a little more special, so I baked it as a layer cake and added some chocolate ganache underneath the espresso frosting.  The cake has a bit of a chewy texture from oatmeal that’s baked in the batter.  And the espresso frosting, well….what can I say.  It’s the same frosting I use on my Italian Espresso, Chocolate, and Cinnamon Brownies.  FANTASTIC!!!  It tastes like espresso fudge!!
So, friends, here’s the first chocolate dessert for February.  ENJOY!!

Groundhog Cake

1 cup quick or old-fashioned oats (I used quick)
1 1/2 cups boiling water
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking soda

Espresso Frosting
1 tblsp. instant espresso powder
1/4 cup plus 2 tblsp. cream or whole milk
3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. salt
6 cups powdered sugar

Chocolate Ganache
2/3 cup heavy cream
6 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips

    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Then stir the oats into the boiling water.  Add the chocolate chips on top, but don’t stir.  Let it stand for 20 minutes.

Cream the butter and then, gradually, beat in the sugars.
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  Beat in the eggs, one at a time.
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Stir the oat and chocolate mixture and add it to the bowl with the other ingredients.  Mix well.


Mix the flour, salt, and baking soda together and add to the bowl.  Mix everything thoroughly.
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Grease two 8″ round cake pans, line the bottoms with waxed paper or parchment, and grease bottom again.  Dump in some cocoa powder and swirl around to cover bottom and sides of pans.  Then pour in the batter.
Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the cake starts to leave sides of the pan and springs back.  Cool them for about 15 minutes in the pans.  Then remove them, peel off the parchment, and cool completely on racks.
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While the cake is cooling, make the ganache.  Combine the heavy cream and chocolate chips in a small saucepan over med.-low heat.  Stir until it’s completely melted and smooth.  Then set aside to cool some.  After it’s cooled down, place in the refrigerator to set up enough to spread, stirring occasionally.  Take out and set aside when it reaches the right thickness.

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Now it’s time to make the frosting…..
First thing to do is dissolve the instant espresso in the milk or cream.
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Place the softened butter in the mixing bowl.  Add 3 cups of the powdered sugar, the espresso and milk mixture, and the vanilla extract.  Beat until smooth and creamy.  Gradually add the remaining 3 cups of powdered sugar, one cup at a time, until a good spreading consistency.
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Now place one cake layer on your serving plate. (I like to place strips of waxed paper underneath to keep the plate clean while I’m frosting)  Spread half of the ganache over the top, then top with 2/3 cup of the frosting.  Place the other cake layer on top and then spread the other half of the ganache over it.
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Now, spread a crumb coat around the sides of the cake. (That’s just a thin coating to keep all the crumbs intact when you put the final layer of frosting on)  Place the cake in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or so to set the frosting.  Then finish frosting the cake as you desire.



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