Thursday, April 1, 2010

Deep Chocolate Ganache Cake

I did an order for a birthday party a few months back and this was one of the 4 cakes I made. It was a fun job because I basically got to pick what I wanted to make, the buyer just told me she wanted 4 cakes that would feed about 60 people. I knew I wanted at least one chocolate. This was actually the first chocolate cake I had ever made. I had done plenty of variations of chocolate cupcakes before, but never a cake. I knew it had to be layered because it would have to feed a good amount of people. Paula Deen's chocolate mousse instantly came to mind. I had made it plenty of times before and knew it would taste great layered in between cake. I really wanted this cake to explode with chocolate flavor. I feel like too many times I try chocolate cake from a restaurant or bakery and it's really bland. This was not going to be the case here! I debated on what to use as the "frosting," and came to the decision that a dark chocolate ganache would be preferred over a more traditional buttercream or frosting. Now all I needed was the cake recipe. I scoured and searched for hours online trying to find the best looking chocolate cake recipe, and ended up using bits and pieces of multiple recipes with my added touches here and there. The end result of it all in one cake? I have no idea. I didn't actually get to try the cake, it would look pretty funny if I delivered it with a slice missing.:) But the look of it was absolutely sexy. Hand carved flakes of dark chocolate adorning the top of dual layers of silky chocolate cake covered in deep chocolate gancahe. That's a mouthful. Hopefully it was a yummy mouthful :)

Here's the recipe. I will definitely have to make this again for a family event or maybe even for easter so I can let you know how it tastes. Or you can make it and let me know! Enjoy.

Chocolate Cake
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cups cocoa
1 tsp. instant coffee powder (or espresso powder)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp.salt
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. vanilla
1 tbsp. Kahlua
2/3-3/4 cups boiling water

Sift together dry ingredients and add to a medium sized bowl fitted to a paddle attachment, stir. Add eggs one at a time until mixed well. Add milk, oil, and vanilla, and Kahlua and beat on medium for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water. Divide in half and pour into 2-8 inch round cake pans that have been buttered and floured. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean. While cakes are still hot, use a pastry brush to brush tops with additional Kahlua. Cool.

Paula Deen's Chocolate Mousse
Original recipe here.

6 (4 oz.) bars bittersweet chocolate chopped ( I've used both bittersweet and dark, either work great)
2/3 cups extra strong black coffee (you can use instant espresso powder as well or if you don't drink coffee try using a dark hot chocolate powder mix)
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar + 1/2 cup
2 cups heavy cream

Melt chocolate over a double broiler. When close to being melted add coffee and stir together. In a separate bowl beat 3 egg yolks and 1 cup sugar mixing well. Add mixture to melted chocolate and cook over heat. Stir well until sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from heat, cool. Using hand held mixer beat 4 egg whites until stiff peaks. Fold into chocolate mixture.

Chocolate Ganache

1 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp. light corn syrup
8 oz. semisweet chocolate chopped (or 1/2 semisweet 1/2 dark)
dash salt

In a small saucepan heat cream, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Remove from the heat and add chopped chocolate, let stand for 3 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, stir mixture until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth. Let cool to room temperature and use right away.
(can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Soften glaze with a double broiler.)

Place one cake (top side down) on a cake decorator or baking sheet. Grab a heaping spoonful of chocolate mousse and place in center of cake. Using a cake spatula or back of spoon, spread mousse evenly starting in the center and working your way outwards until mousse almost touches edges (leave about 1 cm.) Carve the top off of the 2nd cake to make sure you have a smooth surface. Place on top of 1st layer. Using the same technique, spoon chocolate ganache on top and on sides until your cake is fully covered and you have worked out any "blemishes."

For the Chocolate Flakes:
Using whatever chocolate you would like, melt over double broiler. (You will need about 8 oz.) Pour melted chocolate onto a large baking sheet and smooth over with the back of a spatula or spoon. Place in fridge or freezer to harden, about 10-15 minutes. Using a large and very sharp kitchen knife, pull on the chocolate until you reach the desired chocolate flake (or curl) size. To be more specific: one hand is holding the knife handle and the other is gripping the top of the non cutting edge of the knife. You are pulling towards your body so you have to be very careful, the knife could slip. If chocolate becomes temperamental, stick back in freezer for a few minutes to harden again.

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