This was an anniversary cum birthday cake. It had to be special. For the chocolate aficionado, it can not be better gift than anything else.
Though the cake was baked in the oven but the first imaginary seed germinated weeks before in my mind, slowly the vision becomes more clearer. I knew how and what kind of cake I wanted to bake.
All things are complex before they are simplified into few easy and simple steps. Flavors were sorted out. Cacao bars were gathered each having a percentage not less than 85 %. Quality matters and so the brands !
Only brown sugar and honey. No confectioner sugar. And no butter. Just vegetable oil.
Buttermilk vs yogurt vs sourcream. Finally the sour cream wins.
Vanilla, espresso and orange extract, it was bloom time !
Eggs ! yes just two !
Tender crumbs ! All credit goes to cake flour.
This is no ordinary chocolate cake, but a rich and extravagant one.
This chocolate cake was super rich, extremely moist with bold flavors and the best cake I have ever baked in my life.
Dark and bitter, the way we liked it always.
Best because I have not tasted anything so good before, best because people were talking less and was more focussed on the cake, best because when they forget the etiquettes and started licking the fingers. When they dont shied away from asking for a second slice, and I was so reluctant to serve another one.
The following day and day after, the compliment poured on me from all un expected quarters, filled with recipe requests. And it slowly sinked in me that the cake was a hit !
Crumb by crumb as I tasted it all along the day, an in-depth analysing of the same revealed to me at last that I have found “my chocolate cake recipe” today. I do not want to improve (add or subtract) anything in it.
Natural cocoa forms the base of the cake, filled with rich chocolate mousse and covered with dark chocolate ganache, and so loaded with chocolate that it will satisfy any self-respecting chocolate lover. Espresso really bloom the chocolate flavour and intensify it further. So if you have not used espresso powder before in your chocolate cake, then please think again !
Every chocolate lover must have a chocolate cake recipe, that is tried and tasted, reliable, can be recommended and finally we found our chocolate cake recipe. This is a keeper for sure.
An old style chocolate cake, no fancy designs, no flowers and no fondant works and comes with no frills attached. This is for pure chocolate lovers !
This recipe of chocolate cake has been adapted from Ina Garten’s Beatty’s chocolate cake.
- Cake flour : 2 cup + 4tbsp
- Light brown sugar : 1½ cup
- Honey : ½ cup
- Natural cocoa : ¾ cup + more for dusting
- Baking powder : 2 tsp
- Baking soda : 11/2 tsp
- Salt : 1 tsp
- Espresso powder : 2 tsp
- Sourcream : 1 cup
- Vegetable oil : ½ cup
- Eggs (large) : 2
- Orange extract : 2 tsp
- Boiling water : 1 cup
- Heavy whipping cream : 1¾ cup
- Semi sweet chocolate chips: 8 oz
- Butter (unsalted) : 4 tbsp
- Vanilla extract : 1 tbsp
- Gelatin (unflavored) : 1 tsp
- Preheat the oven at 350 F.
- Grease and dust the baking pans with cocoa. Dust the sides of the baking pan well.
- In a bowl containing boiling water, add the cocoa powder and espresso and let it bloom for few minutes.
- In a large bowl, sift the cake flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
- In a smaller bowl, beat the eggs, add the oil, honey, sourcream and the orange extract. Blend it well.
- Now add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredient bowl slowly, blend it with hand mixer until just combined. Do not overmix the batter.
- If you feel it is not combined yet, use silicone spatula and with cutting action blend the ingredients.
- Divide the batter into two 9 inch round cake pans and bake in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until the cake tester comes out clean.
- Cool the cake in the pan for 20 minutes, finish cooling on a wire rack and after cooling it completely, if you are not procedding with the recipe, then wrap it with a cling film and refrigerate it until later use.
- Bloom the gealtin in ¼ cup of cold cream for 10 minutes.
- In a double boiler, melt the chocolate with butter and vanilla extract. Cool and stir till it comes to the body temperature.
- Warm the gelatin slowly by putting the gelatin and cream mixture in a hot water bowl.
- Add this gelatin to chocolate mixture.
- Beat rest of the cream until you get medium stiff peaks.
- Add the gealtin - chocolate mixture and stir it.
- Do not overwork on the mousse.
- Cool it to room temperature and cover it with cling wrap and let it set in the fridge for 4 hours or overnight until set.
- Bring the cake base to room temperature. While working on chocolate room should be sufficiently cold. So switch on th AC if it is too hot.
- Spray or brush the chocolate cake with sugar syrup. I have used one part sugar to 2 part water ratio for the syrup.
- Let the cake soaked in syrup for half an hour.
- Put one layer of cake base on a cake board or plate you are using.
- Take out the mousse from the fridge, dip the icing spatula in hot water and then scrape the mousse and generously apply over the base. Repeat the steps until you have used all the mousse. Spread the mousse evenly over the cake.
- Now put another layer of the cake base over the mousse topped base. Press it gently so that the mousse oozes out of the corners.
- Now take out the chocolate ganache from the fridge (it should be spreadable) and cover the cake with this.
- Let the cake sit for 40 minute, before slicing it out.
Every baker’s dream is to bake a perfectly flat-topped cake. But most of the time it forms a dome and then we have to scrape it to make it even. Some even uses cake strips to get the flat-topped cake !
Now this is no fluke. And no photoshopped ! The cake shown in the picture is real. So four things that helps me to get this perfectly flat-topped cake are -
a) First, I have used cake flour. Cake flours are more softer, finer and more delicate than the regular all-purpose flour. It gives a delicate structure to the cake.
b) Second, though professional bakers wont recommend to grease and flour the cake pan. But I do it every time. Very lightly grease the sides of the pan, and dust it with cocoa powder. For chocolate cakes, I do not dust with flour. If the sides are not sticky, then cake batter will be free to rise evenly.
c) Third, increase the leavening agent in the cake batter. That is increase the amount of baking powder and baking soda slightly. Plus tap the cake pan after filled it with batter to release the gas bubbles as much as possible. I did it at least 10 times.
d) Fourth, room temperature also plays an important part. Room should not be at high temperature or humid. 50 -60 F should be okay.
Once the cake is baked and cooled sufficiently, wrap it with cling film and refrigerate it until required.
Chocolate mousse without eggs ! I know ! I know ! How can you call it mousse without whipping egg whites into it. I was feeling so lazy to whip the egg whites, hence gelatin ! And anyway this mousse is not dessert piece right ? It is going to be used as a filling ! Convinced ! Well !
Cover the whole cake with thick ganache ! Yes, you have read it right ! No buttercream frosting fan here ! So it has to be the ganache. For making chocolate ganache with perfect glaze, please refer this post on southern chocolate cake. And if ever in your life you have messed up with the ganache, then refer this post on truffles where I have mentioned how to revive the grainy or dead ganache. If your ganache has become oily, then add few drops of milk into it.
And after working on this cake for hours, I had left with no energy to put fancy designs on it. I know we eat it with our eyes first, but we taste it with our tongue !
Here’s a slice for you !
Reader’s request : Substitutions
I can absolutely understand that you want to make this luscious cake and feeling frustrated for not getting all the ingredients available in your part of the world. Well, am no baking expert but will try to suggest few substitutions that might work well for you. And please remember that this is mere suggestions and have not used in the recipe and have never worked with the substitutions before.
Cake flour : cake flours are tender, delicate and bleached which strengthen their protein and very low on gluten. So use sifted (10 times at least) all purpose flour (bleached) . You can make cake flour at home – combine 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour with 1/4 cup cornstarch.
Eggs : This recipe uses two eggs. Eggs are required as it the protein will give the structure to this delicate cake.
The best substitution I can think of – use silken tofu without altering the taste.
Orange extract – all kind of pure extracts including vanilla are alcohol based. Hence never replace them with juice. Either skip the orange extract or use 2 tbsp freshly grated orange zest.
Sour cream : I have used it because am so fond of it. Use buttermilk or plain thick set yoghurt.
Espresso powder – little compromise with the color part. You can use instant coffee powder too.
Happy noshing !