Thursday, June 16, 2011

Chocolate Couture Cake

This cake is really a tale of two cakes. A beautiful fairy tale in fact. One where two delicious cakes fell in love, got married and made an amazingly delicious baby. I came up with the idea for this cake last week while making the Chocolate Mousse Crunch Cake from our beloved friends at Our Best Bites. The cake calls for a baked Devil's Food cake, prepared according to the cake mix directions. Well, as soon as I read that, I thought to myself "hmm, this could definitely be better". This is due to the fact that I rarely make cake mixes without adding some "extras" to it. This made my mind think of Becky's Yummy Chocolate Cake recipe that I had also previously made. Ironically, or I'm going to say, by fate's design, Becky blogged about that cake that very day. We came to the conclusion that we needed to take these two awesome cakes to the next level by combining them. So there you have it, the tale of how this cake came to be.

Now, let's do this thing. Here's the rundown.

The Cake:

  • 1 box Devil's Food Cake Mix
  • 1/2 Cup water
  • 1/2 Cup oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 Cup sour cream
  • 1 box instant chocolate pudding
You will mix all these ingredients together in a mixer for 10 minutes. Don't ask why, just do it. Because Becky said so okay?  Divide the batter evenly into two 8" round greased pans. Bake them in an oven preheated to 350 degrees for 25-30 mins. Don't over bake these babies or you'll never forgive yourself. This cake when perfectly baked is moist and dense. 

The Chocolate Mousse:
 (This recipe was doubled to add additional mousse layers but you can choose to only to one mousse layer between 2 layers of cake. You know, if you're a sell out.)

  • 1 tsp. unflavored gelatin
  • 1 Tbsp. cold water
  • 2 Tbsp. boiling water (just heat it in a small bowl in your microwave)
  • 1/2 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 c. whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. vanilla

In a small bowl, combine gelatin and cold water and allow to stand for about 1 minute. While gelatin is softening, bring 2 Tbsp. water to a boil in the microwave. Whisk into the softened gelatin and allow to cool slightly.
In a medium mixing bowl, combine sugar, cocoa powder, whipping cream, and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer until medium-stiff peaks form. Mix in gelatin mixture and refrigerate for 30 minutes.

Ganache Topping:
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
Microwave together for a minute or so until the chocolate and cream are able to be stirred together into a smooth mixture. You may want to let it cool just a bit prior to pouring it over the cake.

Let's put this beauty together!

Begin by slicing your two layers in half, so you have four. Do this with a very sharp bread knife, preferably with the cake already chilled. (also, our layers were already pretty flat and level, but if yours aren't you'll want to level the top first)

Place the first layer, top side down. Spread a layer of mousse onto the layer of cake. I used a cake decorator but that's not necessary, just more fun.

Place the next layer of cake on top of that and repeat the process

And again....

After you place your top layer, you'll pour the ganache on the top.....

 Allow it to run down the sides....
isn't that looking divine?

If that wasn't enough, go ahead and sprinkle the top with Heath Toffee Bits, or crushed up Heath Bar, like we did (this part is optional and the cake is fantastic with or without)
Isn't it almost too pretty to eat?  
Well not as pretty as the layer cake Ashley made at our last meeting, but still pretty :)

 That definitely did not stop us.....

This cake is a great balance of rich and light flavors and textures and is sure to satisfy your chocolate craving! Make it for your foodie friends and they'll be impressed.

Layer Cake

Sorry it's taken so long to post this!
Here are the yummy food pics. 

Here's the recipe I used for the chocolate cake.  The recipe is intense to make, but so good.  I like it because it doesn't dome or sink.  I like the advice of putting a paper towel (or cooking spray) down on the rack when you get them out of the pan.  I made the cake the night before.  Chocolate cake tastes better after it's settled overnight. 

Here's the recipe for the filling and frosting.  The marshmallow cream is so yummy! The frosting, I didn't care for it (a whole pound of butter is too much).  I would use a different chocolate frosting.

Tips & Tricks for Splitting Cakes: from Sweetapolita
1. Always start with a cold cake: refrigerate for about 2 hours or freeze for about 30 minutes
2. With a good quality serrated knife (I only use my favorite Mac 10 1/2″ serrated bread knife–this thing is insanely sharp), trim any doming off the top of each layer.
3. Measure the height of your layer with a ruler, then create a score line on the halfway mark all the way  around the outside of the cake.
4. Lower yourself to almost eye-level to the cake. With a gentle sawing motion, slowly move the knife gradually towards the center of the cake, then turn cake 1/4 turn, and repeat until you have cut through the entire layer.

Also more good tips:
50 Tips for Baking Better Cakes

Recipe for simple syrup you can put on your cake or cupcakes to make them more moist. You brush it very lightly on or spray it on.  This is what the pros do.