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Blackout Cake

1 1/4 C. softened butter
3 C. sugar
3 eggs
2 t. vanilla extract
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
3 C. flour
3 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
3/4 C. buttermilk
1 1/3 C. boiling water
3/4 to 1 C. diced roasted almonds

18 oz (3 C) semisweet choc chips or chopped semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate
1 1/2 C. heavy cream
2 T. butter, cut up
1 t. vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9" round pans.
Tap out excess flour. In lg. bowl, beat together butter and sugar
on med. speed till light and fluffy, 1-2 min. Add eggs and vanilla
and beat till well blended.

Add chocolate and beat 1-2 min. Mix together flour, baking soda
and salt. Add to chocolate mixture in two additions alternately
with buttermilk. Beat till well blended. On low speed, add boiling
water and beat till smooth. (Batter will be thin) Pour into prepared
pans. Bake 35-40 min. till tester inserted in center comes out
clean. Let cool in pans 10-15 min. then turn onto racks to cool
completely.

Melt chocolate chips and cream together, stirring till smooth. Stir
in butter and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate 1-1 1/2 hr., or till
ganache holds its shape and is thick enough to spread on cake.
Cover one cake layer with a little more than 1/3 of ganache. Set
second layer on top. Frost top and sides of cake with remaining
ganache. Press almonds into sides of cake. Refrigerate 3-4 hr. or
till ganache is firm before serving.

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