Chocolate Raspberry Mother’s Day Cake

Mom’s deserve something special. They deserve something just as sweet and wonderful as they are! This cake is inspired by my Mom, who is a big fan of both chocolate and fresh berries. To this day, my Mom still grows the most delicious strawberries and raspberries in our garden. I can’t see a berry and not think of my Mom! I wanted to make a cake that was packed with fresh raspberries and chocolate, but wasn’t too sweet or heavy. I ended up making a chocolate sponge cake, filled with a whipped chocolate buttercream and fresh raspberries, and frosted with a dark chocolate ganache. The recipe and some more Mother’s Day cake inspiration can be found below:

Recipes:

Make the milk chocolate ganache first, as it needs at least a few hours to cool and set. To make, simply place the chocolate (about 2 bags of dark chocolate chips) and heavy cream in a heat proof bowl, and heat it for 30 second increments (stirring between). Usually after about 2 minutes of heat, all the chocolate is melted. Once the mixture is fully incorporated, place plastic wrap over the top of the ganache, and let it sit at room temperature. Before adding the room temperature ganache to a cake, I give it a slow stir with a spatula.

I also recommend making the chocolate simple syrup in advance. It needs time to cool before it can be used, and preparing it ahead of time makes the following day a  bit easier. Place the sugar and water in a pot, and bring to a simmer. Once the sugar has dissolved, mix in the cocoa, and turn  off the heat. Place in a sealed Tupperware container in the fridge overnight.

Bake 4, 8-inch round cake layers using my chocolate cake recipe and instructions. I baked my 8 inch layers for about 32 minutes. Allow layers to cool fully before leveling with a serrated knife. Place pans into the freezer for 45 minutes, to accelerate the cooling process, and lock in the moisture.

While the layers bake, make the whipped chocolate buttercream. Begin by melting the cup of chocolate chips. Heat it in the microwave for 1 minute at half power in large heat proof bowl, or over a double boiler. Stir until smooth, then set aside briefly to allow it to cool just a bit (not more than 5 minutes).

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a whisk attachment, until smooth. Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time.  Alternate with small splashes of cream. Scrap the sides of the bowl with a spatula, to ensure all the powdered sugar is mixed in. Add in any remaining heavy cream, then whip on high for about 1 minute. Next, add in the melted chocolate. Beat on high again, until the chocolate is fully incorporated. Pour in the egg whites, and beat on high again for about 30 seconds. Add in the vanilla and salt, and mix until fully incorporated. The frosting should be rather thick, like whipped topping!

After the cake layers are baked and fully cooled, level the cakes by cutting off the tops using a serrated knife. I like to “taste test” the cake tops with any left over frosting or ganache once I’ve decorated the cake! The cake tops can also be used to make cake balls. Use a large, sterile paint brush to douse the cake layers with a generous coat of chocolate simple syrup.

Next, it’s time to assemble the cake! Place the ganache into a piping bag, and pipe a ring around the perimeter of the cake layer.

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Scoop a few spatulas of whipped buttercream into the center of the cake layer, and use an offset spatula to evenly spread it out to the ganache boarder.

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Press a generous amount of raspberries into the whipped chocolate frosting. Repeat until all layers are stacked.

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Repeat this process with the remaining cake layers. Once stacked, cover the cake with a thick layer of chocolate ganache, and smooth with a patterned bench scrapper (I got these Wilton “icing combs” on amazon).

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Pipe a boarder around the top of the cake using a small French tip, and fill the top of the cake with remaining whipped chocolate buttercream.

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This cake is just as delicious as it looks! It feeds about 16 people, so be sure to gather your whole family around to enjoy it. Happy Mother’s Day to all the amazing mother’s out there!!

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Ferrero Rocher Truffle Cake

For this weeks Food Network livestream, I’m making a Ferrero Rocher Cake!! This cake is assembled to look just like this truffle once it’s cut into, and even has a cake ball in the center to look like a hazelnut!! The recipe and tutorial can be found below:

Recipes:

  • 1 batch (4 lbs) of Yolanda Gampp’s chocolate sponge cake recipe (trimmed cake tops crumbed and reserved)
  • 1 cup chocolate simple syrup (1 cup of water and 1 cup of sugar dissolved together, + 3 TBSP cocoa)
  • 1.5 batches milk chocolate ganache (3 bags of milk chocolate chips + 1 1/2 cups heavy cream) – to be made in advance
  • 1 bag of chopped hazelnuts
  • 1 2 – inch cake ball, made from leftover vanilla cake scraps and a bit of vanilla frosting, chilled
  • 1 additional bag of chocolate chips (to be melted to cover the outside of the cake)

Make the milk chocolate ganache first, as it needs at least a few hours to cool and set. To make this, I used 3 bags of Hershey’s milk chocolate chips, and 1 1/2 cups of heavy cream. To make, simply place both the chocolate and heavy cream in a heat proof bowl, and heat it for 30 second increments (stirring between). Usually after about 2 minutes of heat, all the chocolate is melted. Once the mixture is fully incorporated, place plastic wrap over the top of the ganache, and let it sit at room temperature. Before adding the room temperature ganache to a cake, I give it a slow stir with a spatula.

I also recommend making the chocolate simple syrup in advance. It needs time to cool before it can be used, and preparing it ahead of time makes the following day a  bit easier. Place the sugar and water in a pot, and bring to a simmer. Once the sugar has dissolved, mix in the cocoa, and turn  off the heat. Place in a sealed Tupperware container in the fridge overnight.

Bake two 6-inch round cake layers and one 7-inch cake layer using Yo’s chocolate cake recipe and instructions. You will have leftover batter! I chose to make an extra 6 inch layer to another baking project. Allow layers to cool fully before leveling. Place pans into the freezer for 1 hour, to accelerate the cooling process, and lock in the moisture.

After the cake layers are baked and fully cooled, level the cakes by cutting off the tops using a serrated knife. Trim the 6 inch layers so that they taper, to make it easier to frost in the shape of a sphere. Use a large, sterile paint brush to douse the cake layers with a generous coat of chocolate simple syrup.

Next, it’s time to assemble the cake! Place the ganache into a piping bag. Stack on six in layer with the smallest side down.  Cover the top of the cake layer with a thick spread of chocolate ganache. Use a 3 inch circle cutter to remove the center of the 7 inch cake layer. Place the 7 inch layer on top, and coat the cut outsides with ganache.

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Carefully press the cake ball into the opening, then cover with another layer of ganache. Top with the final cake layer, then cover the entire outside of the cake with ganache. Smooth into the shape of a sphere, using an acetate sheet.

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Carefully press chopped hazelnuts around the outside of the cake, then chill the cake. Melt the additional chocolate, then pour over the cake, and add texture using a small offset spatula.

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Then cut in and see the center!!! I love that this cake has such a fun cross-sections 🙂

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Moist Chocolate Cake Recipe

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I’ve tested a lot of chocolate cake recipes over the years, and this chocolate cake recipe is one of my favorites. It is incredibly moist, and turns out perfectly every time!

It is a one bowl recipe that doesn’t require a hand mixer, which means less dishes to clean!! I highly recommend this recipe. It’s been modified from Robyn’s recipe on Add A Pinch.

The cakes do have a tiny bit of a dome, but I usually just level it out with a little extra buttercream. You can also just trim the top of the cake to make it level.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup espresso, or 1 1/2 teaspoon espresso powder dissolved in 1 cup of hot water
  • 1 tsp vinegar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line and grease 4 8-inch cake pans.

Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder in a large bowl. Whisk together until combined (be sure there aren’t any clumps! If there are, you may want to sift your ingredients).

Pour in the espresso into the dry ingredients, and mix until the espresso is fully absorbed. Mix in the buttermilk, until fully incorporated. Pour in the oil next, and mix until fully incorporated. Then stir in the eggs, one at a time. The last step is to stir in the vanilla, then the vinegar. The batter will be on the thin side, but that’s the correct consistency!

Divide the batter evenly between the four cake pans, and bake for about 25 minutes. Remove from oven, and let the cakes sit for about 5 minutes. Gently run an offset spatula around the rim of the cake pans to loosen them. Place the cake pans in the freezer to speed up the cooling process, and to trap in additional moisture.

Decorate as desired! The photo below shows a snickers cake made with this cake base, before it was crumb coated.

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Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cake


This post is definitely a bit delayed, but better late than never, right?? I’ve received a lot of emails asking for this recipe, so here it is 🙂 It’s quite an undertaking, but it’s worth it! It is made with four super moist chocolate cake layers, a cookie dough flavored buttercream, and is decorated with egg-less chocolate chip cookie dough and mini chocolate chip cookies. It took a little bit of experimenting to get this right. I had been pretty dissatisfied with most of the edible cookie dough recipes I’d come across online, so i tweaked the recipe until it as just right. I also created a simpler cookie dough buttercream, as most recipes require melting down the brown sugar. Mine is just as easy to make as regular buttercream, and in my opinion has a better cookie dough flavor!

Chocolate Cake Batter:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup boiling water

Cookie Dough Buttercream:

  • 2 cups unsalted butter (4 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 3 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Edible Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough

  • 1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1 1/2 cups flour (pasteurized in the microwave or oven)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 and 1/4 cups  all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup (1.5 sticks) unsalted butter, melted
  • 3/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 large egg, and 1 egg yolk, at room temperature
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare four  8-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray, and lining the bottom of the pans with parchment rounds.

Add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk through to combine or, using your paddle attachment, stir through flour mixture until combined well. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Reduce speed and carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Mix until fully incorporated.  Distribute cake batter evenly between the prepared cake pans. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.

Once the cake layers are out of the oven, prepare the cookie dough. Combine the flour, baking soda, cornstarch, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. In a medium bowl, mix the melted butter, brown sugar, and sugar together until smooth. Whisk in the egg, vanilla, then the egg yolk. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a large spoon or rubber spatula. The dough will be very soft, yet thick. Fold in the chocolate chips. Form 1 inch balls with the dough, and then cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats, and leave at least 2 inches of space between the cookies. Bake the cookies for 11-12 minutes. The cookies will be very soft and look a little underbaked. But don’t be scared, they will continue to bake on the cookie sheet! Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cake layers and cookies cool, prepare the cookie dough frosting. Beat together the butter and brown sugar on medium-high speed for 5 minutes. Pour in the vanilla and salt, and beat until combined. Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly add the powdered sugar, a little at a time, until it has all been incorporated. Add heavy cream as needed. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional two to three minutes, until light and fluffy.

For the edible cookie dough, cream the butter and brown sugar together. Add in the salt and vanilla, and beat until combined. Mix in the flour in two installments, add the cream between installments to help the ingredients come together. Gently mix in the chocolate chips on a low speed, or with a spatula. Form into 3/4 inch balls, and refrigerate to allow the cookie dough balls to firm up.

Once all the components are prepared, it’s assembly time! Top each cake layer with a thick smear of frosting, and sprinkle a generous handful of edible cookie dough on top of the frosting. Repeat, stacking all four layers. Apply a crumb coat to exterior of the cake, and refrigerate to let the frosting firm up.

Remove from fridge, and apply another coat of frosting. Smooth the frosting, then press the small baked cookies around the base of the cake. Push edible cookie dough bites around the side of the cake, and fill in some of the open space with mini chocolate chips. Form a circular cookie pyramid on top of the cake, anchoring each layer of cookies with a smear of buttercream. Use the remaining edible cookie dough to create a boarder around the top of the cake, and sprinkle white and regular chocolate chips into any open spaces, and around the boarder. And about 5 1/2 hours later, the cake is complete!!


I also made a smaller version of this cake for an order (shown above), and decided to decorate it a little bit different to keep things interesting 🙂

Chocolate Almond Birthday Cake

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I received a cake order for something chocolaty and nutty, and ended up with this: A Chocolate Almond Birthday Cake. I used my favorite chocolate cake recipe modified from one of my favorite bloggers, and my standard chocolate buttercream recipe.

Chocolate Cake Batter:

  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup hot coffee
  • 3/4 cup bread flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Chocolate Buttercream:

  • 1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 cup powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces chocolate (milk, semisweet or dark), melted and cooled
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line and grease three eight inch cake pans. Place the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Pour the hot coffee over the mixture and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate mixture for 20 minutes, until cool.

Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla extract into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Divide the batter evenly between three 8 inch cake pans. Bake until the cakes are set and just firm to the touch, 20-25 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cakes from the pan and place on the wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.

While the cakes cool, prepare the frosting. Whip the butter until light and fluffy (about 2 minutes). Gradually add in the powdered sugar and cocoa, alternating with splashes of cream. Mix in the melted chocolate, salt, and vanilla, until fully incorporated. Add additional cream or powdered sugar as needed until desired consistency is reached.

To make the chocolate ganache, pour the chocolate chunks into a heat proof safe bowl. Bring the cream to a boil, and pour over the chocolate. Let this sit for 2 minutes, then stir until the chocolate and cream are fully incorporated. Set aside and let cool for about 15 minutes, so that the mixture can thicken.

To frost the cake, frost the first layer of cake with buttercream, and top with chocolate chips and crushed almonds. Repeat with remaining cake layers, and apply a thin crumb coat to the exterior of the cake. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, to allow the crumb coat to harden. Apply a thick coat of buttercream, reserving about 2/3 cup of frosting to pipe swirls on top of the cake. Press crushed almonds onto the sides of the cake.

Once the ganache has thickened, pour onto the top of the cake, and push it towards the edge of a cake with a spoon. Let the ganache spill over the sides of the cake. Using a large open star tip, fill a frosting bag with the remaining frosting and pipe swirls around the top of the cake. Press chocolate chips onto the top of each swirl, and refrigerate to allow the frosting to set.

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Salted Caramel Snickers Cake

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SEA SALT. CARAMEL. CHOCOLATE. PEANUTS. Those are the key components to anything delicious in life, and also to this wonderful salty and sweet birthday cake 😛 I made it for coworker’s birthday, and would like to thank my friend Stan for the creative direction behind this cake! Although making your own salted caramel sauce is option, I highly recommend it!! The ingredients include:

Chocolate Cake Batter:

  • 3 cups (12.75 oz) all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups (1 lb. 5 oz) granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups (4.5 oz) unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Salted Caramel Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 6 Tbsp Butter
  • 1 tsp sea salt

Salted Caramel Buttercream:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks), room temperature
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup salted caramel sauce
  • 6 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 Tbsp. heavy cream

Garnish:

  • 8 fun sized snickers, chopped
  • Sea salt
  • Peanuts
  • Chocolate Chunks

Begin by preheating oven to 350ºF. Grease four 9-inch round cake pans, and dust with flour, tapping off excess. Combine flour, granulated sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of a mixer. Mix on low. Add eggs, buttermilk, 1 1/2 cups warm water, oil, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until smooth and completely combined. Divide batter evenly among pans. Bake until cakes are set and a toothpick inserted into the center of each comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool in pans set on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Turn out cakes onto racks, and let cool completely.

While the cupcakes bake, prepare the salted caramel sauce. Pour the sugar into a large, heavy-bottomed pot, and whisk until completely melted. The sugar will clump in the beginning, but don’t worry…it will melt completely with time. Allow the sugar to cook until it turns a beautiful amber color, and has a nutty aroma. I don’t have a candy thermometer, so I go completely by visual cues. At this point, remove the mixture from the heat. Whisk in the butter, then the cream. The mixture will bubble up, so be careful during this stage (I burned my finger!). The last step is to stir in the salt. Let the caramel cool to room temperature.You can store any leftover caramel in a mason jar. It will last in your fridge for about two weeks.

Once the caramel has cooled, prepare the salted caramel buttercream. Whip the butter in a large bowl with an electric mixer, until it is fluffy. Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar, adding it in multiple installments. As the frosting thickens, add caramel, salt, and vanilla. Continue to mix, and add cream until desired consistency is reached.

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Frost each layer of cake with a thick slather of salted caramel buttercream, a drizzle of salted caramel, salted peanuts, and chocolate chunks. Stack the layers, and apply a thin crumb coat. Refrigerate the cake for 30 minutes, then apply another coat of buttercream. Drizzle warmed caramel over the edges of the cake, and make rim around the top of the with chopped snickers, peanuts, chocolate chunks, and sea salt.

Nutella Crunch Cake: Take II

Back by popular demand, I received another order for a Nutella Crunch Cake. I used the same tried and true recipe as last time, but mixed up the presentation. What that really means is that I slathered the cake in hazelnuts, coated the sides with chocolate chips, dolloped Nutella all over the place, and sprinkled a little sea salt on the top 😀

Chocolate Cake:

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup strong black coffee, hot
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Nutella Buttercream:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 5 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 cups chopped, toasted hazelnuts

Prep Time:15 minutes

Bake Time: 15 minutes

Cool Time: 1 Hour

Assembly Time: 45 minutes (30 minutes of cooling for crumb coat)

Servings: 6-8

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 6-inch round cake pans, and line/grease the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper.

Begin by making the chocolate cake batter. In a very large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix for an additional 20 seconds (the batter will be thin).

Divide the batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cakes comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs). Cool the cakes (in the pans) on wire racks for 20 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto cooling racks to cool completely.

While the cakes cool, make the frosting. Beat the butter on medium-high speed for 5 minutes. Add the Nutella and beat until combined. Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly add the vanilla and heavy cream. Add powdered sugar, a little at a time, until it has all been incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional two to three minutes, until light and fluffy.

For the cake assembly, frost each layer of cake, and top with toasted, chopped hazelnuts. Add a very light sprinkle of sea salt on top of the hazelnuts. Once the layers are all stacked, apply a thin crumb coat, and let the cake sit in the fridge for 30 minutes. Frost as desired with remaining frosting.  I decided to coat the sides of the cake with chocolate chips, dolloped (warmed) Nutella around the edge of the cake top, and sprinkled a little sea salt on the top.IMG_0245.JPGIMG_0240.JPG

Nutella Chocolate Cake

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Chelsweets received it’s first cake order!! A chocolate cake was requested, so I decided to use my favorite chocolate cake base, and add in some Nutella.  I filled the cake with a Nutella nougat and toasted hazelnuts, frosted it with a chocolate buttercream, and topped the cake with Nutella buttercream roses.

Cake Layer:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3/4 tablespoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 1 1/4  cup strong black coffee, hot
  • 1 1/4  cup vegetable oil
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract

Nutella Nougat Filling:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup Nutella
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup marshmallow fluff
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups toasted, chopped hazelnuts

Nutella Buttercream:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup Nutella
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Dark Chocolate Buttercream:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 cup cocoa, unsweetened
  • 1/4 cup cream

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Bake Time: 48 minutes

Cool Time: 1 Hour

Assembly Time: 1 hour (30 minutes of cooling for crumb coat)

Servings: 12

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease four 9-inch round cake pans, and line the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper.

Begin by making the chocolate cake batter. In a very large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix for an additional 20 seconds (the batter will be very thin).

Divide the batter evenly among prepared pans (I chose to make four layers, but the number of layers is easily altered). Bake for 20 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cakes comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs). Cool the cakes (in the pans) on wire racks for 20 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto cooling racks to cool completely.

While the cakes cool, make the nougat. Beat the butter on medium-high speed until fluffy. Mix in the marshmallow fluff, salt,and Nutella. Slowly add the powdered sugar, a little at a time, until it has all been incorporated. Add cream as necessary, until a sturdy, fluffy consistency is reached. Fold in the hazelnuts.

Once the nougat is made, prepare the buttercreams. Beat the butter on medium-high speed until fluffy. Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly add the powdered sugar, a little at a time, until it has all been incorporated. Add the salt and vanilla. For the Nutella buttercream, add in the nutella. For the dark chocolate buttercream, mix in the cocoa. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional two to three minutes, until light and fluffy. Add cream, as needed.

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For the cake assembly, place one cake layer on a serving plate. Cover with Nutella nougat, and repeat until all layers are covered. Apply a thin crumb coat of dark chocolate frosting, and let the cake set in the fridge for 30 minutes. Add an additional layer of chocolate frosting, and decorate the top of cake with Nutella buttercream roses, using a large star tip.

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I would have like to have covered the whole cake with roses, but the cake box would have ruined the side roses. Nonetheless, it turned out great! Let’s hope Crista’s team liked 😀

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The Snickers Cake

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In my mind, the Snickers candy bar is the king of all candy. It has a perfect balance of nougat, caramel, peanuts, and chocolate. Luckily, Brendan also loves snickers, and asked for a snickers inspired birthday cake! The twist? He also wanted some cookie dough in there. So I made it happen….this cake has two peanut butter chocolate chip cookie layered between three, decadent chocolate cake layers. It’s a lot to take in…but I swear it all comes together when you take a bite 😀

Cake Layer:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup strong black coffee, hot
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Layer:

  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup all-vegetable Shortening
  • 1 1/4 cups firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Nougat Filling:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 2 cups marshmallow fluff
  • 1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1½ cups salted peanuts, roughly chopped

Salted Caramel Sauce:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon fleur de sel (or any other flaky sea salt)

Salted Caramel Buttercream:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce (above)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Milk Chocolate Ganache:

  • 8 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces (½ cup) heavy cream

Garnish:

  • Candied Peanuts, chopped snickers, and caramel drizzle

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Bake Time: 48 minutes

Cool Time: 1 Hour

Assembly Time: 1 hour (30 minutes of cooling for crumb coat)

Servings: 14

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease three 9-inch round cake pans, and line/grease the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper.

Begin by making the chocolate cake batter. In a very large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix for an additional 20 seconds (the batter will be very thin).

Divide the batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake for 16 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cakes comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs). Cool the cakes (in the pans) on wire racks for 20 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto cooling racks to cool completely.

Next make the peanut butter cookie layers. Beat together the brown sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Add all other ingredients (excluding the chocolate chips), and mix until fully incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips last. Divide batter evenly between two, greased, nine in cake pans. Bake until the edges are just golden, about 15 minutes. Remove, and let the cookie cool in the pan for 20 minutes before removing to a wire rack to fully cool.

For the Nougat Filling, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and evaporated milk, stirring until dissolved, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and add the marshmallow fluff, peanut butter, peanuts, and vanilla extract, stirring until completely smooth. Let the nougat mixture cool to room temperature before using it in the cake. You can do this leaving it at room temperature or you can pop it into the refrigerator to speed up the process. Be sure to give a stir occasionally as it cools.

For the salted caramel sauce, add the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a heavy saucepan (with a capacity of at least 2 or 3 quarts). Heat the sugar over medium-high heat, whisking it as it begins to melt. You’ll see that the sugar will begin to form clumps, and that’s okay. Keep whisking and as it continues to cook, and they will melt back down. Stop whisking once all of the sugar has melted, and swirl the pan occasionally while the sugar cooks.Continue cooking until the sugar has reached a deep amber color. It should look almost a reddish-brown, and have a slight toasted aroma. This is the point where caramel can go from perfect to burnt in a matter of seconds, so keep a close eye. Add the butter all at once. Be careful, as the caramel will bubble up when the butter is added. Whisk the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour the cream into the caramel. Again, be careful because the mixture will once again bubble up ferociously.Whisk until all of the cream has been incorporated and you have a smooth sauce. Add the fleur de sel and whisk to incorporate. Set the sauce aside to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and then pour into your favorite glass jar, and let cool to room temperature. (You can refrigerate any left over sauce for up to 2 weeks).

While the cakes cool, make the frosting. Beat the butter on medium-high speed until fluffy. Pour in the salted caramel, and beat until combined. Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly add the powdered sugar, a little at a time, until it has all been incorporated. Add the salt and vanilla. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional two to three minutes, until light and fluffy. Add cream as needed.

For the cake assembly, place one cake layer on a serving plate. Cover with half of the nougat filling and then spread a couple spoonfuls of the salted caramel sauce over top to evenly cover the nougat filling. Alternate cake and cookie layers, and cover with the remaining nougat filling and top with caramel sauce. Frost the cake with the salted caramel frosting, finishing it as smoothly as possible. Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes, until the frosting is set.

While the frosting sets, prepare the chocolate ganache. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl; set aside. Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and warm until it just comes to a boil. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes. Begin whisking the mixture in the center, gradually working your way outward until the ganache is completely smooth. Set aside to cool, whisking occasionally, until it has thickened slightly, but is still a pourable consistency.

If you want to make the exterior of your cake smoother, you can add an additional layer of frosting on top of the crumb coat. The garnish is the final step. Drizzle caramel over the top and edges of the cake. Slowly pour the chocolate ganache into the center of the cake, letting it push itself outward, just to the edge of the cake. Refrigerate the cake for 15 minutes, giving the ganache a chance to set up. Drizzle some additional salted caramel sauce over the top of the cake, and top with peanuts and cut up snickers. I also piped on additional frosting swirls with a star tip.

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20140326-013812.jpgI had some left over cookie and chocolate batter, so I decided to experiment with a deconstructed snickers tower. It basically is a mini square tower of the cake 😀 It tasted wonderful. There is a great textural component from the nougat and peanuts, and the peanut butter cookie was a pleasant surprise. The star of the show is definitely the salted caramel sauce, and the caramel buttercream. I love the hint of salt from the caramel and peanuts, it really balances out the sweetness of this cake. I was really happy with the way this cake turned out, and loved the final product. If I were to make this cake again, I would consider toasting or candying the peanuts, just to add a little more pizzazz.

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Raspberry Chocolate Fudge Cake

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Many wonderful things happen in March…. Day Light Savings Day, St. Patrick’s Day, and my good friend SIJIA’S BIRTHDAY!! SJ is near and dear to me, and I wanted to make her a birthday cake that is as wonderful as she is. This chocolate fudge cake, with a rich chocolate buttercream, and raspberry filling seemed perfect for the occasion.

Chocolate Cake

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1 1/3 cup cocoa
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cup boiling water

Chocolate Buttercream Frosting:

  • 1½ cups butter (3 sticks), softened
  • 1 cup cocoa
  • 5 cups confectioner’s sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon espresso powder

Raspberry Filling:

  • 24 oz frozen unsweetened raspberries, thawed
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 2 heaping tablespoons cornstarch

Preheat oven to 350º F. Prepare two 9-inch cake pans by spraying with baking spray or buttering and lightly flouring. For the cake batter, add flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, salt and espresso powder to a large bowl. Add milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla to flour mixture and mix together on medium speed until well combined. Carefully add boiling water to the cake batter. Beat on high speed for about 1 minute (to add air to the batter). Distribute cake batter evenly between the four prepared cake pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, remove from the pan and cool completely.

While the cake is baking, prepare the chocolate frosting. Add cocoa to a large bowl. Cream together butter and cocoa powder, until combined. Add the sugar and milk to cocoa mixture, alternating between 1 cup of sugar, and about a tablespoon of milk. After each addition has been combined, turn mixer onto a high speed for about a minute. Repeat until all sugar and milk have been added. Mix in the vanilla extract and espresso powder. If the frosting appears too dry,  add more milk until it reaches the right consistency. If it appears to wet, or does not hold its form, add more confectioner’s sugar, a tablespoon at a time until it reaches the right consistency.

The last step is the raspberry filling, which will be layered on top of the chocolate buttercream between layers. Thaw the raspberries and strain juice from berries, reserve half the berries in a separate bowl.  Add enough water to the juice to get 3/4 cup of liquid. In a small saucepan, combine raspberry juice/water, sugar, lemon juice, and cornstarch.  Cook over medium heat, whisking constantly, until mixture bubbles and thickens.  Remove from heat, set aside.

To assemble the cake, alternate between cake layer, chocolate  buttercream, raspberry filling, and thawed raspberries. Repeat until you reach the top cake layer, then apply a thin crumb coat of frosting. Let the cake chill in the fridge for 30 minutes until the crumb coat is firm, then apply a thicker layer of frosting.I decided to do elegant pulls of chocolate frosting up the sides the cake, and then top the entire top of the cake with fresh raspberries and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. The end result? An elegant cake that perfectly matches the birthday girl 😀

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Milky Way Chocolate Cake

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It’s crazy how much you learn about a person when you work with them. One fun fact I learned about my senior from last year was that she loves Milky Way candy bars. Today is her birthday, and I wanted to make her a fabulous birthday cake. Using the chocolate-caramel-nougat goodness of Milky Ways as an inspiration, I decided to make her this Milky Way Chocolate Cake.

Chocolate Cake:

  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 1/4 cups buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 2 cups strong black coffee, hot
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4½ teaspoons vanilla extract

Nougat Filling:

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup evaporated milk
  • 3 cups marshmallow fluff
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Salted Caramel Sauce:

  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 12 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
  • 1 tablespoon fleur de sel (or any other flaky sea salt)

Salted Caramel Buttercream:

  • 1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup salted caramel sauce (above)
  • 4 cups powdered sugar

Milk Chocolate Ganache:

  • 8 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped
  • 4 ounces (½ cup) heavy cream

Garnish:

  • 1 bag of fun sized milky way candy bars (chopped into thirds)

Prep Time:15 minutes

Bake Time: 64 minutes

Cool Time: 1 Hour

Assembly Time: 1 hour (30 minutes of cooling for crumb coat)

Servings: 20

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease four 9-inch round cake pans, and line/grease the bottoms with rounds of parchment paper.

Begin by making the chocolate cake batter. In a very large bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix for 2 minutes on medium speed. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl and mix for an additional 20 seconds (the batter will be very thin).

Divide the batter evenly among prepared pans. Bake for 20 minutes and rotate the pans in the oven. Continue to bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of one of the cakes comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs), about 12 more minutes. Cool the cakes (in the pans) on wire racks for 20 minutes, then carefully turn them out onto cooling racks to cool completely.

For the Nougat Filling, melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and evaporated milk, stirring until dissolved, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from heat and add the marshmallow fluff, and vanilla extract, stirring until completely smooth. Let the nougat mixture cool to room temperature before using it in the cake. You can do this leaving it at room temperature or you can pop it into the refrigerator to speed up the process. Be sure to give a stir occasionally as it cools.

For the salted caramel sauce, add the sugar in an even layer over the bottom of a heavy saucepan (with a capacity of at least 2 or 3 quarts). Heat the sugar over medium-high heat, whisking it as it begins to melt. You’ll see that the sugar will begin to form clumps, and that’s okay. Keep whisking and as it continues to cook, and they will melt back down. Stop whisking once all of the sugar has melted, and swirl the pan occasionally while the sugar cooks.Continue cooking until the sugar has reached a deep amber color. It should look almost a reddish-brown, and have a slight toasted aroma. This is the point where caramel can go from perfect to burnt in a matter of seconds, so keep a close eye. Add the butter all at once. Be careful, as the caramel will bubble up when the butter is added. Whisk the butter into the caramel until it is completely melted. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly pour the cream into the caramel. Again, be careful because the mixture will once again bubble up ferociously.Whisk until all of the cream has been incorporated and you have a smooth sauce. Add the fleur de sel and whisk to incorporate. Set the sauce aside to cool for 10 to 15 minutes and then pour into your favorite glass jar, and let cool to room temperature. (You can refrigerate any left over sauce for up to 2 weeks).

While the cakes cool, make the frosting. Beat together the butter and cream cheese on medium-high speed for 5 minutes. Pour in the salted caramel and beat until combined. Reduce the speed to medium-low and slowly add the powdered sugar, a little at a time, until it has all been incorporated. Increase the speed to medium-high and beat for an additional two to three minutes, until light and fluffy.

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For the cake assembly, place one cake layer on a serving plate. Cover with half of the nougat filling and then spread a couple spoonfuls of the salted caramel sauce over top to evenly cover the nougat filling. Top with a second cake layer and cover with the remaining nougat filling and top with caramel sauce. Frost the cake with the salted caramel frosting, finishing it as smoothly as possible. Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes, until the frosting is set.

While the frosting sets, prepare the chocolate ganache. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl; set aside. Place the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat and warm until it just comes to a boil. Pour the cream over the chopped chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes. Begin whisking the mixture in the center, gradually working your way outward until the ganache is completely smooth. Set aside to cool, whisking occasionally, until it has thickened slightly, but is still a pourable consistency.

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The garnish is the final step. Slowly pour the chocolate ganache into the center of the cake, letting it push itself outward and flow over the sides of the cake. Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes, giving the ganache a chance to set up. Drizzle some additional salted caramel sauce over the top and side of the cake, and top with chopped milky way bars.

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Keep the cake refrigerated, removing it from the refrigerator about 20 minutes prior to serving. For clean slices, run the cutting knife under hot water (and dry) just before cutting.

Ombre Chocolate Cake

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One of my coworkers has been in India for the past 5 weeks, teaching some procedures to our team members in Bangalore. It just so happens that the day he returns to work is also his birthday! Considering that this was a welcome back cake AND a birthday cake, I knew I needed to make something special. Patrick is a man of simple tastes, and requested a plain chocolate or vanilla cake. Of course, I wanted to do a little more than that….so I decided to make this chocolate ombre cake. It’s base layer is rich and fudgy, which is followed by chocolate vanilla layers that fade into a light, vanilla layer. I covered each layer with a thick slather of vanilla buttercream, and then drizzled a decadent chocolate ganache over the entire thing. And as a final touch, I added some white chocolate shavings to the top.

Fudgy Cake Base:

  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup coffee
  • 1/2 cup cocoa, unsweetened

Vanilla Cake Base:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • ½ cup vegetable shortening
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs, room temperature
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cocoa (divided into thirds)

Chocolate Ganache:

  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

Vanilla Buttercream:

  • 2 cup (4 sticks) butter
  • 3 tsp vanilla extract
  • 8 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the fudgy cake base first. Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In a large bowl, beat the butter and brown sugar, until well mixed. Add eggs one at a time. Beat in the vanilla and melted chocolate squares. Add the sour cream and then the dry ingredients to the butter mixture, until well blended. Stir in hot coffee. Bake in a greased 9 inch cake pan for 35 minutes. Let this layer cool fully, and continue baking other layers.

For the chocolate vanilla layers, cream together butter and shortening until light and fluffy with an electric mixer. Slowly add sugar one cup at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each cup before adding another. Add eggs one at a time, making sure to fully incorporate each egg before adding another. Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to butter and shortening mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Add vanilla extract. Beat cake batter on high-speed for about 5 seconds to fully incorporate all ingredients. Stop mixer and scrape down sides and bottom of bowl, making sure to have all ingredients mixed well. Evenly distribute cake batter between three bowls, and stir 2/3 cup of cocoa into one, and the remaining third of a cup of cocoa into the other, leaving one bowl without any cocoa.  Pour each bowl into a greased, lined 9 inch baking dish, and bake for 25-30 minutes (or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean). Remove and allow to cool slightly in cake pans for about 5 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.

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As the layers cool, prepare the ganache. Place the chocolate into a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil, watching very carefully because if it boils for a few seconds, it will boil out of the pot. When the cream has come to a boil, pour over the chopped chocolate, and whisk until smooth. Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over the cake. Start at the center of the cake and work out.

As the ganache and cake layers cool, prepare the buttercream. Whip the butter at a medium speed, until light and fluffy. Gradually add in the powdered sugar. Add the vanilla, and continue to beat until fully incorporated. Add in cream, until desired consistency is achieved.

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To assemble the cake, place the fudge layer at the base. Frost with a thick layer of buttercream. Repeat with fading layers. Once all layers are stacked and frosted, apply a crumb coat, and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Once the crumb coat has set, apply another thick layer of frosting to the entire cake. Place in the fridge for another 10 minutes to set the frosting. Once the frosting is set, pour the thickened ganache onto the center of the cake, and gently spread it toward the edges.

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Let some of the ganache spill down the sides. Finish with a garnish of white chocolate shavings.

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The layers ended up being colored just how I had hoped! The texture of the cake was perfect for stacking, and held the weight of the cake nicely. The buttercream was wonderfully rich and fluffy, and did a great job of highlighting the ombre effect. I think Pat liked the cake too 😀

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The Chocolate Trifecta Cake

I needed to make a birthday cake for a Senior Manager at work, and I knew he liked chocolate. So I did some research, and ended up picking this recipe. Generally I’m very hesitant to use recipes from websites like Food Network (I don’t think they’re always properly tested), but when I saw that it included sour cream and coffee, I knew it would be a winner. So I gather my ingredients:

Cake:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 3 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups sifted cake flour
  • 1 1/3 cups sour cream
  • 1 1/2 cups hot coffee

Frosting:

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
  • 16 ounces cream cheese, softened at room temperature
  • 3 T unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup cooled coffee
  • 4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 6 cups confectioners’ sugar

Decorations (optional)

  • 4 oz. bar white chocolate
  • 4 oz. bar dark chocolate

I preheated my oven to 350 degrees, and buttered and floured my 9-inch cake pans (I only have two, but this is a 3 layer cake so I had to repeat this process once my first two layers had baked). I also cut circles of parchment paper to fit the bottoms of the pans, to make it easier to remove the cakes once they were baked.

Next, I creamed the butter until it was smooth, added the sugar and eggs, and mixed until it was fluffy (about 3 minutes). Then I added the vanilla, cocoa, baking soda and salt and mixed until it was all incorporated. I added the sour cream and flour in two installments.

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The last ingredient was the hot coffee, which I poured in and mixed until the batter was smooth (the batter will be thin). Then I poured the batter into the prepared pans and baked until the tops were firm to the touch and my toothpick came out clean, which took about 35 minutes. Halfway through the baking, I rotated the pans in the oven to make sure they baked evenly. Once they were done baking, I let them cool in the pan 10 minutes, then put them on my wire racks and let them cool completely before frosting. Do NOT try to move them to the cooling racks too early…your cake will crumbled/crack, and it will NOT be pretty (yes this happened to one of my layers because I’m impatient and tried to move them too quickly).

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While the cakes were baking, I made the frosting the decorations for the outside of the cake.  For the decorations, I just melted a 4 oz.bar of white chocolate in a double boiler, spread it out on parchment paper covering a cookie sheet, and froze it until it had hardened (about 10 minutes). I then repeated this process with the dark chocolate, drizzling it over the top the white chocolate.

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For the frosting, I creamed the butter and cream cheese together until the mixture was smooth. Then I added in the cocoa, and mixed in the coffee and vanilla. Next I added the sugar (1 cup at a time), mixing the frosting after each addition. I blended the mixture until it was completely mixed together. I altered the original recipe because I ran out of chocolate, so if you want a fluffier frosting refer back to the original recipe. This frosting was thinner than I’m used to, but it actually tasted great with the cake, and I enjoyed the texture.

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To frost the cake, I used an icing knife to cover 2 of the cake layers with frosting, and then stacked them together. I then flipped the third cake layer over and rested it on the top to create a flat top for the cake. I then frosted the sides and top, and covered the edges of the cake with the splinters of frozen chocolate I made. I froze the cake overnight to ensure it would survive the heat of my commute (the subway gets SO HOT). I then put it in the fridge when I got to work. It was still very cold when we ate it in the afternoon, which made it super easy to cut and eat. I would say this recipe is a winner!! The only thing  I would do differently next time would be to add a bit more powdered sugar to the frosting to make it a bit thicker.
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Everyone at work loved it! The birthday boy gave it his stamp of approval.

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