Pastry Cream Filling:
I like to make my pastry cream before I start the cake so it can be chilling while the cake is baking and cooling. To ensure a nice solid cake make sure you cool the pastry cream thoroughly before assembling cake.The custard can be made up to 24 hours in advance.
• 1 2/3 cups milk
• 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla paste
• 4 egg yolks
• 1/2 cup granulated sugar
• 1/8 cup plus 2 teaspoons cornstarch
• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
In a medium saucepan, heat the milk and vanilla bean to a boil over medium heat. Immediately turn off the heat and set aside to infuse for 10 minutes.
In a bowl, whisk the egg yolks and granulated sugar until light and fluffy.
Add the cornstarch and whisk vigorously until no lumps remain.
Very slowly and at a steady stream whisk in 1/2 cup of the hot milk mixture until incorporated. Whisk in the remaining hot milk mixture, reserving the empty saucepan.
Pour the mixture through a strainer back into the saucepan.
Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until thickened and just boiling.
Remove from the heat, pour into a clean bowl and let sit for 15 minutes.
Stir in the butter.
Cover with plastic wrap, lightly pressing the plastic against the surface to prevent a skin from forming. Chill at least 2 hours
Grease and flour two 8-inch cake pans.
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
1 + 1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Sift flour and sugar, baking powder and salt in the bowl of kitchen aid mixer.
Add butter, milk and vanilla.
Beat to incorporate.
Add eggs and mix well. Be mindful not to over mix.
Pour batter into prepared pans, dividing equally among both.
Bake 30 to 35 minutes
Cool in pans for 15 minutes then remove from pans.
Cool cakes thoroughly on wire racks.
12 oz. bittersweet chocolate
12 oz. heavy cream
1 oz. cognac or other liqueur-optional
Chop chocolate into fine pieces and place in bowl.
Heat cream to a scald.
Pour hot cream over chocolate and let stand one minute.
Whisk cream and chocolate until smooth.
Set aside to cool a bit but still pourable (20 minutes)
The longer you leave it out the thicker it will become so make sure it is still pourable.You want it pourable but not too warm that it melts the cream.
Place one layer (upside down )on your cake plate (so you have a flat surface for the cream)
-top with cream
-top with remaining layer(rightside up) of cake.
Slowly pour your ganache over cake in one pour starting in the center of the top for a smooth finished cake.