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chocolate overdose cake

April 16, 2011

Listen up, peeps. THIS IS IMPORTANT.

This cake is EPIC.

Remember that time I made a cake with fourteen layers?

Yeah, this cake is more epic.

It’s so epic this was the second time I made it. And I hardly ever make the same recipe twice.

I mean, if you don’t like brownies, cake, ganache, and mousse, you probably won’t like it. But um, that would be weird.

All the components are yummy on their own, but if they weren’t, it wouldn’t even matter because you’d be too distracted by the chocolate coma it inevitably induces.

This has been a public service announcement.

This is about the bravest I’ve gotten with modifying a cake: before I made it the first time, I read a couple of blog posts on it (read: I Google-stalked the recipe) and a couple of them said the cake part was a bit too dry, so I swapped it out with my favorite cake recipe. The moistness means it’s a little more delicate and more likely to split when you’re moving it over to the mousse, but once it’s all covered in ganache it doesn’t really matter anyway. Oh, and one note? Please please PLEASE, when you’re making the mousse, make sure the chocolate is *completely* cool before you pour it into the whipped cream. Otherwise, the chocolate will seize up into tiny little bits suspended in gross not-sweet-enough whipped cream, and in your efforts to break up those bits, you’ll pretty much whip the stuff into butter. I speak from experience.

Chocolate Overdose Cake
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons cake flour [or 1/2 cup all-purpose flour plus 2 tablespoons cornstarch]
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 oz. semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2-oz. pieces [or just chips]
1 3/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
18 oz. semisweet chocolate, broken into 1/2-oz. pieces [or chips]

1. For the brownie, line the bottom of a 9-inch springform pan with a round of parchment paper and spray the sides with nonstick cooking spray. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 325 degrees. In a medium bowl, combine the cake flour, salt, and baking powder. Stir with a fork to mix. Melt the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of almost-simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth [or just melt in a microwave].
2. When the chocolate mixture is completely smooth, remove the bowl from the saucepan [or, er, the microwave] and gradually whisk in the sugar. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla. Add the flour mixture in two additions, folding with a rubber spatula until completely homogenous.
3. Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely in the pan.
4. To make the cake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9-inch round cake pan, knocking out the excess flour, or line it with parchment paper.
5. In a small bowl, pour the boiling water over the cocoa. Set aside to cool. [Fun fact: if you cover the bowl with plastic wrap while it’s cooling, it’ll prevent the water from evaporating and the cake from drying out.] In an electric mixer, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low speed. Add the eggs and cocoa mixture and blend on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the buttermilk, oil, and vanilla. Beat on low speed for 1 minute. Scrape down the bowl. Beat on medium speed for 1 or 2 minutes, or until smooth.
6. Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a tester comes out with a fine crumb. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a wire rack. Let cool in the pan for 5 to 10 minutes. Carefully remove the cake from the pan and place on a wire rack. Let cool completely.
7. Once the brownie layer has cooled, run a knife around the edges to separate it from the pan. Remove the sides of the springform but leave the brownie layer on the springform base. Form a ring of parchment paper around the brownie layer and extend it up the sides of the springform pan; reclose the springform so that the parchment is fitted tightly to the sides.
8. To make the mousse, place a stand mixer bowl and whisk attachment in the freezer or fridge. Heat 1 inch of water in the bottom half of a double boiler over medium heat. Place the semisweet chocolate in the top half of the double boiler. Tightly cover the top with plastic wrap and allow to heat for 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir until smooth. Transfer the melted chocolate to a stainless steel bowl and set aside until melted. [If you’re feeling less fancy and/or all the springforming has you fancied out, you can just microwave it. And seriously, let it sit for like 30 minutes.]
9. Place heavy cream and sugar in the well-chilled bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the chilled whisk attachment. Whisk on high speed until stiff peaks form, about 1 1/2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer. By hand, whisk to combine 1/4 of the whipped cream into the melted chocolate until smooth and completely incorporated. Add the combined whipped cream and chocolate to the remaining whipped cream and use a rubber spatula to fold together.
10. Spread the mousse over the top of the brownie base evenly. Use an offset spatula to smooth the top. Place the cooled cake round over the mousse, pressing down lightly. Chill for at least 1 hour.
11. To make the ganache, heat the heavy cream and butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Place the semisweet chocolate in a 3-quart stainless steel bowl. Pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir until smooth. Chill 1 cup of ganache for 1 hour [if you’re going to bother with the decorations/piping stuff]. Allow the remaining ganache to come to room temperature (about 40 minutes).
12. Remove the springform ring and parchment collar from the assembled cake. Carefully transfer the cake to a serving platter, removing the springform base and parchment round. Use a spatula to smooth the room temperature ganache over the cake top and sides, covering evenly.
13. Place the chilled ganache in a pastry bag fitted with a shell tip and pipe a shell border around the base of the cake. Pipe 12-16 rosettes around the top of the cake to indicate servings. [Orrr just glop the ganache all over the cake. Classy.] Serve chilled and store leftovers in the fridge. Cut the cake with a hot, dry knife.

Source: adapted from Annie’s Eats, cake from Kathryn Kleinman’s Birthday Cakes

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