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Chocolate truffle cake wows on Valentine's Day

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If, as Ogden Nash stated, "candy is dandy, but liquor is quicker," then this delightfully decadent chocolate truffle cake covers all of the bases on Valentine's Day. The amazing combination of chocolate and a good quality Kentucky bourbon create an enticing flavor combination that is certain to please. If bourbon isn't to your liking, then substitute rum or even orange liqueur for the alcohol; either of these compliment chocolate very well. A ganache icing made of semisweet chocolate and cream complete this ensemble.

Chocolate Truffle Cake
2 c. all purpose flour
15 tbsp. baking cocoa
1 pk. (3.2 oz) chocolate or chocolate fudge instant pudding mix
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 c. vegetable oil
1 3/4 c. black coffee
1/4 c. bourbon, rum or liqueur
1 tsp. vanilla extract

In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, pudding mix, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In a large measuring cup, combine coffee, bourbon and vanilla extract.

Place sugars and vegetable oil in a large mixing bowl, and cream together until sugars are dissolved. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until mixture is thick and lemon colored.

Alternate addition of wet and dry ingredients, beating well after each addition. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl, as batter will become thick. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes once all ingredients have been added.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 10" Bundt or tube pan. Pour in cake batter, making certain to smooth out so that batter is evenly distributed. Bake for 45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean.

Allow to cool 15 minutes before removing from pan, then flip onto cake plate so the decorative side is up. Allow to cool an additional 30 minutes before icing.

Ganache icing
4 oz. semisweet or dark chocolate
2 tbsp. whipping cream
1 tbsp. bourbon, rum or liqueur
2 c. confectioners sugar

Place chocolate and cream in microwave-safe bowl. Heat for 45 seconds in microwave at 100% power; remove and stir chocolate into cream until smooth. Add bourbon. Stir in confectioners sugar until mixture thickens but remains glossy.

To assemble:

Using a sharp knife, cut cake into two layers. Place top aside; spread a thin layer of ganache evenly onto the bottom layer. Replace top, and spread ganache thickly over the top. Decorate with candied red cherries or Valentine sprinkles if desired. Serves 10.

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