Thursday, 20 February 2014

Dark Chocolate Cake with Mocha Buttercream

I have a paper that I should be writing so naturally, I'm choosing to watch the Canada v. USA Women's hockey game and write a blog post instead.


I made this delicious and elaborate cake for one of my housemate's birthday a couple weeks ago, right before the start of the olympics. Whenever I'm making a cake (or any recipe for that matter), I always pick a recipe without really reading it and when it comes time to make it I realize it takes hours to make and there is tons of prep involved.

I really need to learn not to do that... :|

I spent most of the day making this cake, and finished it JUST in time for dinner. Since the olympics were just starting, I decided to make some olympic-themed decorations. My lovely housemate is from Sweden so naturally, we had to have some swedish representation on the cake too :)

Happy Birthday to my favorite Swede!

Dark Chocolate Cake with Mocha Buttercream
Prep Time: 2 hours         Bake time: 35 mins            Yields: One 9-inch, 4-layer cake
**Note: If possible, I would suggest making the cake the day before. It will save you a lot of time in the preparation and assembly of the cake!

1/2 cup cocoa
1 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup boiling water
1 3/4 cups + 2 Tbsps cake flour
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup creme fraiche
2 eggs
2 egg yolks

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 Tbsps cocoa
3 Tbsps instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups half-&-half
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups icing sugar
2 tsps vanilla extract

2 Tbsps instant espresso powder
1 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 cup hot water
12 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups heavy cream
1 Tbsp unsalted butter
Skor bars, chopped (to garnish)

1) Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease, flour, and line the bottoms of two 9-inch pans with parchment paper. Set aside.
2) Combine cocoa powder and unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl. Pour boiling water over top and whisk until smooth. Place bowl in fridge for 45 minutes to cool, whisking every 15 minutes or so.
3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine flour, salt, baking soda, and brown sugar, mixing until combined. Add butter and beat on a low speed for 30-40 seconds until mixture is blended and resembles dough.
4) In a separate bowl, whisk together creme fraiche, eggs and egg yolks. Slowly, with the mixer on low speed, pour the egg mixture into the dry mixture, beating until combined. Turn the mixer to high speed and beat for about 2 minutes, until light and fluffy.
5) Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the chocolate mixture and beat until chocolate is evenly incorporated.
6) Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans. Bake for 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean. Cool cakes completely on a wire rack. Once cooled, remove cakes from pans.

1) In a small saucepan, whisk together flour, cocoa, espresso powder, and half & half. Whisk constantly over a medium heat for about 5 minutes, until mixture begins to thicken (it will resemble pudding).
2) Remove from heat, cover with plastic wrap so that the wrap is laying on the surface of the mixture (to avoid it forming a skin). Set aside and allow to cool for 45 minutes.
3) In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Slowly add the cooled cocoa mixture and beat until completely combined.
4) Add the vanilla and beat for 20 seconds on high. At this point, the mixture should resemble whipped cream.

1) In a small bowl, combine the espresso and sugar. Pour the hot water over top and whisk to combine. Set aside.
2) In a medium saucepan, heat the cream until just boiling. Remove from heat. Pour the cream over top of the chocolate in a medium bowl and stir until completely combined, and the chocolate has fully melted. Stir in the butter and 3 tablespoons of the espresso mixture (discard the rest of the espresso).
3) Allow the ganache to stand at room temperature until cooled completely and thickened. Ganache should be a spreadable consistency.

1) Cut the two cakes horizontally in half so that you have four layers. Place one layer on the cake stand, then put just enough ganache on it to cover it in a thin layer. Then place 1/3 of the buttercream on the layer and spread evenly.
2) Repeat this process two more times and end with an unfrosted layer on top. Pour ganache on top of the cake and spread evenly over top and sides of cake.
3) Decorate with chopped skor bars, or as desired. Store covered and in the fridge.

(Recipe adapted from Kitchie Coo)

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