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French Chocolate Buttercream Cake

2 large eggs (room temp)
1 1/3 cups sugar
2 oz unsweetened chocolate broken into small pieces
3/4 cup butter, lightly salted, cut into 12 pieces
1/2 cup sour cream
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup milk

Place oven rack in center of oven; heat to 350 degrees F. Butter
and flour bottoms of two 8 inch round cake pans, reserve.

Beat eggs in large mixer bowl at high speed, one minute. Continue
beating, adding sugar very slowly, about 7 minutes.

Melt choclate with 3/4 C butter. Drizzle warm chocolate mixture
into egg mixture, beating at low speed until blended. Add sour
cream and vanilla; beat at low speed until thoroughly blended.

Sift together 1 1/2 cups of flour, the cocoa and baking soda.
While beating at low speed, add dry ingredients, about 1/2 cup at
a time, to the chocolate mixture alternating with the milk, about
1/3 cup at a time. Stop as necessary to clean sides of bowl with
a spatula. Beat until well blended.

Pour half of batter into each reserved pan; place pans in oven
diagonally on same rack. Bake until cake tester or wooden pick
inserted into center of each cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.
Cool cakes in pans on wire racks until just warm; remove from pans
and cool completely on racks.

Prepare Chocolate buttercream. Reserve about 1/2 cup of buttercream
for decorative piping.

To assemble cake, place 1 layer on serving plate; spread top evenly
with 3/4 cup of the firm buttercream. Refrigerate 30 minutes.
Place second layer of cake on top of first layer. Frost sides,
then top of cake completely with buttercream. Pipe reserved
buttercream through pastry bag filled with #4 star tip in a decorative
border around top of cake. Refrigerate cake until thoroughly
chilled; serve cold (keep stored in refrigerator.


CHOCOLATE BUTTERCREAM

6 oz semisweet chocolate, broken into small pieces
1 C unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 large egg (room temp)
4 large egg yolks (room temp)
1/2 C sugar
1/3 C water
1 1/2 tbsp brandy or dark rum

Melt chocolate with 2 tbsp of the butter, reserve.

Place whole egg and egg yolks in medium mixer bowl; beat at high
speed 1 minute, reserve.

Measure sugar and water into 1 quart non aluminum saucepan and stir
well. Cook over low heat until mixture simmers; cover and simmer
5 minutes. Uncover sugar syrup; simmer slowly over low heat until
it reaches the "soft-ball" candy stage.

While beating at high speed, immediately drizzle the sugar syrop
into the reserved egg mixture. Continue beating until bottom of
the bowl is cool to touch. Gradually beat reserved chocolate
mixture and brandy into sugar mixture until thoroughly blended.

Place remaining butter in small mixer bowl; beat at medium speed
until fluffy. While beating chocolate mixture at high speed, add
beaten butter, about 1 tbsp at a time. When all butter has been
added, beat for another 5 minutes. Refrigerate buttercream, stirring
every 10 minutes, until firm enough to spread. Usually takes 30
- 40 minutes.

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