Black Chocolate Zinger Cake
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarse chopped
3 tablespoons honey
2 cups sifted flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut 1" pieces, softened
1/4 cup solid vegetable shortening
2 cups superfine sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 cup ice water
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
6 ounces heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier or dark rum
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon hot water, if needed
MAKE THE CAKE: Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350ºF. Butter a 12 cup fluted tube pan. Dust with flour and tap out the excess. In a small saucepan, bring the 3/4 cup water to a boil. Immediately remove from the heat and stir in the coffee until dissolved. Add the chocolate and honey and whisk until the chocolate is melted and the mixture thickens. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes, until tepid.
In a medium bowl, using a wire whisk, stir together the flour, baking soda, salt and pepper, until thoroughly blended. In a 4 1/2 quart bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer using the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed for 30 to 45 seconds, until creamy and smooth. Add the vegetable shortening. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for 30 seconds longer. Add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at a time, taking 8 to 10 minutes to blend well. If using a hand mixer, take at least 15 minutes to blend well. Scrape the sides of the bowl occasionally.
Add the eggs, one at a time at 1 minute intervals. Reduce the speed to medium. Stir the chocolate/honey mixture once or twice, then add to the batter along with the vanilla, scraping the side of the bowl as necessary. Beat 30 seconds longer. At low speed, one-third at a time, beat in the flour mixture alternately with the ice water. Mix briefly just until each addition is barely incorporated into the batter. Scrape down the side of the bowl and mix the batter 10 more seconds.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with the back of a spoon. Center the pan on the rack and bake for 65 to 75 minutes, until the cake begins to come away from the side of the pan and a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Set the cake onto a wire rack to cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and remove the pan. Cool completely.
MAKE THE GANACHE GLAZE: Break the chocolate bars into 1-inch pieces and place them in a food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade. Process for 15 to 25 seconds, until finely chopped. Empty the chocolate into a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, heat the cream and corn syrup on low heat until it comes to a gentle boil. Immediately pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let the mixture stand for 30 seconds to melt the chocolate. Gently whisk until smooth. Stir in the liqueur or rum and vanilla. If the surface is oily, stir in 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of hot water.
Put the wire rack with the cake over a baking sheet. Pour the chocolate glaze over the top of the cake. Let the glaze drip down the sides of the cake without coating it completely. Lift up the rack with the cake and transfer it to another baking sheet. Put the baking sheet with the cake in the refrigerator to chill for 5 to 10 minutes to set the glaze. Store the cake at room temperature under a glass cover or in an airtight container for up to 5 days.