* 2-1/2 cups 2% milk
* 1 cup butter, cubed
* 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
* 3 eggs
* 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
* 2-2/3 cups all-purpose flour
* 2 cups sugar
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 6 tablespoons butter, cubed
* 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
* 2-1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
* 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
* 10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
* 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
* In a large saucepan, cook the milk, butter and chocolate over low heat until melted. Remove from the heat; let stand for 10 minutes.
* In a large bowl, beat eggs and vanilla; stir in chocolate mixture until smooth. Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda and salt; gradually beat into the mixture (batter will be thin). Transfer to three greased and floured 9-in. round baking pans. Bake at 325° for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.
* For filling, in a small saucepan, melt butter and chocolate. Stir in confectioners' sugar and cream until smooth.
* For ganache, place chocolate in a small bowl. In a small saucepan, bring cream just to a boil. Pour over chocolate; whisk until smooth. Cool, stirring occasionally, until ganache reaches a spreading consistency.
* Set aside 1/2 cup filling for garnish. Place one cake layer on a serving plate; spread with half of the remaining filling. Repeat layers. Top with remaining cake layer. Spread ganache over top and sides of cake. Decorate with reserved filling. Store in the refrigerator.
Yield: 16 servings.
~~Taste of Home December/January 2010 ~~