[Photograph: Eric Isaac]

Ebinger's Bakery was the bakery in mid-century Brooklyn, and the cake they were most known for was a layered chocolate cake aptly named the Blackout Cake. Ebinger's folded in the seventies, but not before attaining legendary status in the hearts and minds of Brooklynites, the Robicellis included. Robicelli's: A Love Story, with Cupcakes presents their take on the Ebinger classic: chocolate cupcakes topped with chocolate custard buttercream, dredged in fudge glazed and garnished with chocolate cake crumbs, just like the original. Ebinger's is long gone, but the deeply dark, dense chocolate flavor their cake was known for lives on, in cupcake form.

Tips: Anyone who has ever attempted making their own Blackout Cake can attest to the fact that it's a pain in the butt. There are several components that need to be prepared separately, and the entire thing doesn't keep for very long. Similarly, these cupcakes are made of three main parts: the cake, the buttercream, and the fudge glaze.

The custard buttercream is far and away the most tedious part; it requires preparing a chocolate custard, setting it aside, then a French buttercream, finally incorporating the custard into the buttercream. Nothing about it is rocket science; preparedness is what's needed in order to pull this off. Make sure all your ingredients are set out beforehand, and everything is at the proper temperature (e.g. fridge-cold eggs will make a hot custard seize, creating lumps). Happily, the fudge glaze is almost totally hands-free and comes together in the microwave.

Tweaks: We found no need to detach and reattach the mixer paddle in order to scrape ingredients off the side of the mixer bowl. This may have been due to a larger bowl, a more flexible spatula (silicone, in our case, a definite must-have), or a smaller paddle. Your mileage may vary. Also, the custard may not need to be run through a food processor if it stays smooth once it's cooled. If it isn't smooth, wait before pouring hot, lumpy custard into a food processor.

As always with our Bake the Book feature, we have five (5) copies of Robicelli's: A Love Story, with Cupcakes to give away.


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