I love chocolate cake!!!!
Oh…and WARNING…really lame word pun approaching.
Chocolate cake reminds me of a book on anti-gravity, because when it’s around, I just can’t put it down!
In fact, I made what must of been my 1,789th chocolate cake just last week. I took great pleasure in mixing up the ingredients, baking it in the oven and icing it with surgical-like precision. Then, instead of using holy water, I baptised it with a sprinkling of multi-coloured hundreds-and-thousands. I even made little fondant stars sprinkled with edible glitter to poke from the top…go me! Honestly, I don’t need God to have a religious awakening, because I have chocolate cake…Amen.
You know I once stood and admired the works of Leonardo Devinci and Monet at The Lourve in Paris? And let me tell you, every time I gaze upon a chocolate cake, I am reminded of that experience.
You have to be really careful with chocolate cake though, because it is known to disappear as soon as you turn your back on it. And disappear is just what my cake did. I’d just finished baptising my cake with the hundreds-and-thousands when…
(Oh, let’s bring in Triple J here)
“Noooooooo, dam you disappearing chocolate cake,” Triple J howled as she ran through the house in a frenzied panic looking for the cake. She looked everywhere: behind the TV, under the bed, in the washing machine (that’s where she found it last time), in the freezer (ahhhh so that’s where she’d left her car keys…not a chocolate cake, but still a decent find), in the kitty litter, the washing basket, under the table, etc. Nowhere.
Triple J stepped outside for some air. She needed the wind to dry her face, her tears of misery had drenched her chubby cheeks. “Oh woe me,” Triple J sobbed. She collapsed down on the garden bench; shoulder’s slumped, head down, heart heavy. She recalled a declaration from Romeo in the famous Shakespearean play Romeo and Juliet,
“Oh, I am fortune’s fool!” Romeo had professed.
And that exactly, was what Triple J was; fortune’s fool. She should have learnt her lesson the last time her chocolate cake disappeared, and the time before that, and the time before that, and the time before that…
Could it be?
Over by the box hedge?
Was that her cake?
She thought she could see a glittery fondant star playing peek-a-boo with the sun.
Triple J slowly arose from the bench and approached the hedge. The closer she got, the brighter the sparkle. And then she stopped. The sparkle was blinding, Triple J was hypnotised by the shine, like a kangaroo stunned immobile by oncoming headlights.
(oh and not slam as in kangaroo road kill..but SLAM as in slam dunk, pull my t-shirt over my face, and run around high-fivin’ my homeys…that type of slam)
…there was her cake, just sitting on the deck, hanging out next to the box hedge. Why? Why was her cake outside?
“What are you doing outside chocolate cake?” Triple J asked.
But Chocolate Cake didn’t answer, and I don’t know why she expected it too, because everyone knows chocolate cakes don’t speak English (I think they actually speak Finnish, but I’ll have to Google that and get back to you). And then the answer occured to her; Triple J’s cake was standing outside, because Chocolate cake is, and always will be,
So my friends, there’s a lesson to be learned here…
If one day, you’ve baked a chocolate cake and it disappears, wander out into your back-yard and I guarantee you’ll find your outstanding chocolate cake loitering around somewhere.
P.S. – A word of advice…chocolate cakes like to be around nature, so they’re more likely to be in your garden bed, rather than hanging out near your tool shed. I found another chocolate cake just recently chilling out amongst my agapanthas. Score…I didn’t even make the darn thing! Some other fool must have turned their back on their cake and lucky me, the cake decided to hide-out in my garden. I actually make it a point now, when walking around outside, to look in people’s garden beds. You never know when or where you’re going to find an “out-standing” chocolate cake.
P.P.S.S. – take some kids with you on your walk, they’re more accurate at finding sugar laden foods then a sniffer dog is at finding drugs at the airport.
RECIPE – Double Chocolate Cake with Coconut and Strawberry Mousse and Choc Ganache
The chocolate cake recipe that follows, along with the mousses and ganache, are from the Miette cook book. You can purchase the book here if you like…I totally recommend it. Now this is a divine chocolate cake that pairs exceptionally well with any type of icing you like. If you don’t want to go to all the trouble I did in making the mousses, just layer it up with chocolate ganache and be done with it! If you don’t have 6 inch cake pans, the cake mixture will nicely make two 8/9 inch cakes.
Chocolate Cake Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cups (7 1/2 ounces or 210g) plain flour
- 1 1/4 cups (4 1/2 ounces or 125 g) natural unsweetened cocoa powder (I use Callebaut)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 55g (2 ounces) 70% chocolate coarsely chopped
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs at room temp
- 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
- 2 1/2 cups (15 ounces or 425 g) sugar
- One quantity of coconut moussee (recipe to follow)
- One quantity of strawberry mousse (recipe to follow)
- One quantity of chocolate ganache (recipe to follow)
- Liberally butter 3, 6 inch round cake pans. Line the base with parchment paper and dust the edges with cocoa powder to prevent sticking.
- Prehead the oven to 180 degree celcius or 350 degrees fahrenheit.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a bowl and set aside.
- Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Whisk until the chocolate is melted. Let the mixture cool to room temperature for 15 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, whicsk together the buttermilk and vanilla. Set aside.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the eggs on high speed until foamy, about 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and slowly pour in the oil, whisking until combined, about 30 seconds. Raise the speed to medium and whisk untl fully incorporated, about 30 seconds longer.
- Reduce the speed to low and slowly pour the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. Slowly our in the buttermilk and vanilla mixture. Add the sugar and whisk until the batter s smooth and liquid, about 2 minutes.
- Stop the mixer. Remove the bowl and add the sifted dry ingredients and mix until just incorporated, preferably by hand, lifting and folding in from the bottom centre. Using a rubber spatula, scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again just briefly by hand. The batter may still look a little lumpy, but stop mixing.
- Pour the batter through a sieve into a large measuring cup or bowl to remove any lumps. Press against the solids in the sieve with a rubber spatula to push through as much batter as possible, then discard the lumps. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake until the tops spring back when lightly pressed and a tester inserted in the cake centres comes out clean. About 45 minutes for 3 cakes, or up to an hour for 2 cakes.
- Transfer baked cakes to wire racks and let cool in the pans for about 20 minutes. When the cakes are cooled enough to handle the pans but still a tad warm to the touch, carefully run an offset spatula around the edges of the pans to loosen the cakes, then invert the cakes onto the racks and remove the pans. Let the cakes cool to room temperature on the bench, or alternatively, wait another 20 mins, then wrap cakes in cling-wrap and place in the fridge to speed up the process. To freeze, wrap cakes in two layers of cling-wrap and store in freezer for up to 2 months.
- Set a revolving cake stand on a clean, dry work surface and place one of the cakes, top-side up, on the stand. Using a serrated knife and holding the blade perfectly horizontal, remove any dome from the top of the cake to level it. While you saw gently with the knife, use your other hand to rotate the stand gradually and bring the cake toward you. Get eye level to the cake as needed to make sure you are holding the knife exactly level. Repeat with remaining cake/s.
- Arrange all the cake layers on the work surface. Using your hands, tap off and brush away excess crumbs.
- Line a clean 6 inch cake pan (depending on the sized tin you used to bake the cakes) with plastic wrap, leaving about 3 inches of overhang all around the sides to use later as a handle. Take a cake and place levelled side down in the lined pan. Scoop some strawberry mousse on top (I used about 1/2 of the mousse, but you could easily use more then this if you want). Use an offset spatula to level the mousse. Top with the second cake and press down lightly seal and secure. Repeat the process with the coconut mousse. Place the last cake on top (levelled side down, flat-dark-side on top). Cover with plastic wrap and carefully transfer the cake to the refrigerator. Let set for a least 3 hours and up to 2 days. You should have some coconut and strawberry mousse left over. Pour this into ramekins, put into the fridge to set for a few hours and then eat later with fresh berries and cream…yummo.
- To unmold the mousse cake, wrap a hot towel around the pan for 1 minute and gently shake to loosen the cake. Invert the pan onto a cake board on a clean work surface, then gently lift off the pan. If it resists, give a little tug on the plastic wrap “handle”. When the pan is off, peel the plastic wrap lining from the cake. Transfer the cake on its board onto the revolving cake stand, with a nonslip pad or damp tea towel underneath.
- This cake requires only one coat of icing. Using an offset spatula, apply a generous scoop of the icing on one side of the cake. Keeping the spatula in front of you, rotate the cake stand to spread the icing in a smooth coat about 1 inch thick. Add more icing as you go, ut do not back track! As you frost the sides, push the icing up over the top edge of the cake to make sure the coverage is complete, then use the excess to frost the top, using the spatula to pull the icing across the cake toward the centre. There should be enough icing from the sides to cover the top, but if necessary, add another small scoop.
RECIPE – Coconut Mousse
- 1 1/2 cups desicated coconut
- 2 tabs castor sugar
- 1 1/2 cups boiling water
- 2 tsp unflavoured genatin
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces or 55 grams) sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- Stir together the coconut and sugar in a bowl then pour over boiling water. Let it sit for up to at least 2 hours and then blend in the blender or a burr grinder. At this stage you can strain the liquid if you want a smooth textured mousse, or keep as is if you want a thicker, chunkier mousse. (Alternatively, I’ve read that you could skip this step all together and just use 1 1/2 cups of coconut cream or milk, but I am unsure as to the results of this in regards to how it will taste or how it will effect the recipe)
- Pour 3/4 cup of the puree into a small bowl and gently stir in the gelatine.
- In a small saucepan, heat 3/4 cup of the puree and the sugar over a low heat until the sugar dissolves. Stir in the softened gelatin mixture into the warm puree and stir to dissolve the gelatine. If lumps remain, put the pan over low heat and stir just until the lumps dissolve. Pour the mixture through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Let the mixture cool to room temp. You can place it in the fridge if you want to speed up the process.
- In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until it holds medium peaks. Fold one-third of it into the coconut mixture. Fold in the remaining whipped cream until no streaks remain.
RECIPE – Strawberry Mousse
- 5 cups (25 ounces or 700g) strawberries, hulled and quartered
- 1/2 cup (2 1/2 ounces or 70g) sugar
- 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tabs water
- 2 tsp unflavoured gelatine powder
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- In a small saucepan over very low heat, cook the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice and water until very liquid, about 30 minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve and let cool completely. You should have 1 1/4 cups of strawberry juice.
- Pour 3/4 cup of the juice into a small bowl and gently stir in the gelatine.
- Reheat the remaining juice until it is warm to the touch. Add the softened gelatin mixure to the warm juice and whisk until the gelatin has completely dissolved.
- In a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the cream until it holds medium peaks. Fold one-third of it into the strawberry mixture. Gently fold in the remaining whipped cream until no streaks remain.
RECIPE – Chocolate Ganache
- 280g or 10 ounces 62% chocolate, chopped
- 2/3 cup (2 1/2 ounces or 70g) sifted powdered/icing sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 1 tab heavy cream
- 2 large egg yolks
- 3 tabs unsalted butter at room temp
- Combine the chocolate and powdered sugar in a heatproof bowl.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, bring the cream to a gentle simmer. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Nest the bowl over a pan of simmering water to make a bain-marie. Heat, stirring, until all of the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat.
- Whisk the egg yolks in a small heatproof bowl. Pour about 1/2 cup of the melted chocolate mixture into the yolks while whisking, to temper them. Pour the tempered mixture back into the pan of chocolate and whisk to combine. Add the butter and stir until smooth.
- You can use the ganach immediately to create a smooth, shiny glaze for the cake if you wish. Alternatively, you can do what I did and wait til the ganache cools, then whip for a about 5 mins in your mix master. This creates a fluffy, more marshmallow type icing.
- You can refrigerate the ganache and keep it in the fridge for up to two weeks. You will need to let it come to room temp before you use it however. Ganache does not freeze well.