I’m back from my 3-year hiatus from my baking blog. It’s not that I haven’t baked, but I just haven’t had it in me to focus on blogging. I was married, I lost my brother to cancer and my husband and I bought a house that is not what HGTV would call “move-in ready.” Plus, there was a time where I couldn’t access the blog’s dashboard because I had to upgrade something and didn’t have the patience to figure it out – until last Christmas break. I not only updated the software but also found a new wordpress template and began updating past posts to fit the new template. Voila! We are back in business.
A co-worker recently brought in a chocolate cake that was made with coffee. “Oh, no thank you,” I said. “I don’t drink coffee and don’t like desserts with coffee in them.” He replied, “You will not taste the coffee in this cake – it enhances the chocolate flavor.” I’ve heard this before, but was very skeptical. I tried the cake… I tried a little more… and he was right. No coffee taste!
For my first post after such a long break, I wanted to share something deliciously decadent for the upcoming Love Day. It was also my birthday weekend when baking this so it had to be chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate! I scoured my resources and came up with a combination of recipes to give you this yummy chocolate mousse cake. Both the cake and the mousse include a form of coffee and you can’t even taste it.
Before starting the cake, I recommend getting the chocolate mousse created first and in the fridge. I used this recipe from the Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro. I doubled his dad’s chocolate mousse recipe (that includes Kahlua!) to fill and cover the cake.
4 cups heavy cream (2 pints)
½ cup sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (I used Ghirardelli)
1 tablespoon Kahlua or coffee liqueur
I have wanted to try this Food Network magazine’s chocolate cake recipe from (eek) March 2012. I’ve saved it all this time and never tried any of the chocolate recipes inside! The cake requires 2 cups of coffee, which is one of the reasons why this recipe has been on the back burner. And since we are living in the past for this post, do you remember the Food Network’s quirky baking show Sweet Genius? Ron Ben-Israel was the host (and famous pastry chef) and this article was to help promote season 2 that launched in 2012. The chocolate layer cake recipe below belongs to Ron and I’m so glad I finally gave it a shot:
Chocolate Layer Cake
2 10-inch-round baking pans
10-inch round cardboard cake circles
3 ½ cups all-purpose flour
2 cups hot, strong coffee
1 ½ cups natural unsweetened cocoa powder – not Dutch process (again, I used Ghirardelli)
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 tablespoon baking powder
4 cups of sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare your pans. Place a baking pan on a large piece parchment paper. The parchment paper must be large enough to fold in half. Trace a circle around the pan and then cut 2 circles at the same time using the drawn circle on the top as your guide. Spray your pans with cooking spray, place parchment papers into each pan and then spray the pans again. Dust each pan with flour, tap around to coat then tap out the excess.
2) Make 2 cups of hot, strong coffee. We have a Keurig and since this coffee is supposed to be “strong,” I opted for the smallest cup button on the left to make the Nantucket Blend coffee with the smallest amount of water. By doing this twice, I made just under 2 cups of coffee – close enough. With coffee in a glass liquid measuring cup, whisk the cocoa powder and set aside.
3) Make cake batter. Put flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and sugar in the electric mixer and mix with paddle attachment on low. Add eggs, vegetable oil, vanilla and 2 cups of water. Mix on medium speed for 2 minutes then reduce to low while slowly adding the coffee/cocoa mixture. Batter will be thin.
4) Bake the cakes. Divide the batter between the prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean, 50 minutes to an hour. Let cool in the pans on a rack for 10 min. then turn the cakes out onto the rack to cool completely. Ron Ben-Israel then says to place cakes on cardboard cake circles and refrigerate overnight. I did not have time for this, nor did I think it was necessary.
At this point, I have left the Food Network and Ron Ben-Israel and have moved back over to Cake Boss, Buddy Valastro. I used his chocolate ganache as additional filling and also to pour over the cake in a decorative, drippy fashion. If you want to cover the cake completely with ganache, you will need to double this:
1 cup heavy cream
9 ounces semisweet chocolate or 60% bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped or as chips
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1) Put heavy cream in a saucepan and set it to medium-high heat. As soon as it begins to simmer, remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir with a wooden spoon and add corn syrup.
2) Now that cakes are cool, place first layer down on a 10 in. cardboard circle and cover with chocolate mousse, swirl in a couple of spoonful’s of ganache (using a small ladle) and sprinkle a handful of raspberries (optional). Repeat with second layer. At this point, I was feeling that 4 layers was going to be too much cake – this cake is very dense and heavy. I placed the third and final layer on top (smooth side up) and threw out that unnecessary 4th layer.
3) After covering the cake completely with chocolate mousse, place the cake on a grate over a cookie sheet. Then take a ladle and begin pouring ganache over the center of the cake and gently swirl it around so it reaches the edges and starts making drips down the side. All the leftover ganache will be caught in the cookie sheet below. Such an easy method to get such a fancy cake!
Refrigerate cake so the ganache firms up a bit and you are good to go. I brought it to my in-laws that evening to enjoy after dinner. We all agreed there was no coffee flavor to this cake!
It was a great birthday cake for me and hopefully a Valentine’s cake for your loved ones!