Matthieu remarked that my last post was a little self-indulgent and boring. He said all this nicely, of course, although … is it really possible to say such things nicely? (sniff!) Anyway, I thought it was time to get back in the kitchen. On to sweeter pastures. Indulge the whims of the masses.
Let them eat (chocolate brownie mocha) cake!
Do you have an entire day free with absolutely nothing to do but get elbow-deep in chocolate? Yes? Great! Let’s get started.
I got the recipe base (website no longer exists) just from doing a web search based on the idea, but I changed the flour mix and the method a bit. I was actually worried that there wasn’t enough flour to make it work in the original recipe, and since I was making the cake for my mother-in-law’s birthday I really couldn’t take any risks.
So, first things first. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and make 3 circles in wax paper by drawing around the 9″ cake pans in pencil and then cutting the circles out. Grease the pans and place the wax circles at the bottom of the pan, then pour a bit of flour in and tap the pan to spread the flour around evenly, removing any excess.
Next, cut 4 1/2 oz (130 grams) semisweet chocolate, 2 1/2 oz (70 grams) unsweetened chocolate, and 3 oz (3/4 of a stick) or (85 grams) butter and put them in a double boiler. For the baking newbies, that just means let them melt in a small saucepan that sits in a larger saucepan with a bit of water over the burner. That way the chocolate is not directly over the fire and won’t burn.
Now prepare the dry ingredients. Here I used 1 cup of almond powder and 1/2 cup of corn starch. (Note: the cake was delicious, but next time I might try it with 1/4 cup corn starch to see if I can get it to be even moister). And I added 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1 teaspoon baking powder.
And the touche finale: 3 tablespoons of sour cream.
Divide the batter between the three pans and bake them each for 12 minutes. Let each pan cool for about 10 minutes before you run a spatula around the edges and turn the cakes upside down on to a rack. They should come off easily with the flour and the wax paper bottoms. (This may sound stupid, but don’t forget to remove the wax paper bottoms from the cake – this is not the time for added fiber).
You now have time to make the chocolate ganache, but wait until about 20 minutes before you take your cakes out of the refrigerator. Place a 1 1/4 cup of heavy cream, 3 tablespoons of sugar and 3 tablespoons of butter in a saucepan and heat it to a boil.
See that jar of espresso powder? That’s something you’d want to get at a grocery store on your next trip to France if you love strong coffee. You can hardly tell the difference between a café-made espresso and one of these little instant numbers. If you don’t have an espresso machine or this delicious instant powder, just make 1/4 cup of coffee as absolutely strong as you can make it.
Let it sit for 5 minutes before stirring. See? This is not so hard, this whole ganache thing, is it? The ganache needs to cool enough to be able to pour slightly without being too liquid. Ten minutes in the fridge should do the trick.
Now take out one of the cakes and put it upside down on a springform pan so that the flat side is up. (You can see the flour from the cake pan, which will get covered up with the ganache). Pour a cup of ganache over the top and spread it with a spatula.
I noticed the lumps of unmelted chocolate and made sure to microwave the remaining ganache for a minute and then let it cool so the visible top layer would be smooth. Now, into the fridge for 10 minutes just to make sure it has set. Repeat with the middle layer
You can put it in the refrigerator for up to two days and have it at the ready for even your most severe culinary critic. Not that we willingly invite severe culinary critics into our home, but sometimes we’re related to them and it cannot be helped.
Not that I’m related to any, but …
Okay I’ll shut up. Just know that a slice of this cake will warm the cockles of your heart. Or rather, it will make your heart go thumpity-thump with chocolatey pleasure. (And caffeine). And I find a little self-indulgence helps with the all the boredom.
- 1 cup almond flour
- ½ cup corn starch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 4.5 oz (130 grams) semisweet chocolate
- 2.5 oz (70 grams) unsweetened chocolate
- ¾ stick or 3 oz (85 grams) unsalted butter
- 5 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 tablespoons sour cream or crème fraîche
- Mocha Chocolate Ganache:
- 1¼ cups heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 12 oz (340 grams) semisweet chocolate
- ¼ cup brewed espresso
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C)
- Grease 3 cake pans and line the bottoms with wax paper. Flour the pans.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler.
- Blend the almond powder, corn starch baking powder and salt.
- Mix eggs, vanilla, and sugar and beat for 5 minutes or so.
- Add the melted chocolate mixture and mix with the wet ingredients briefly.
- Add the flour mix and turn with a spatula til thoroughly mixed.
- Add the sour cream and mix in.
- Divide between 3 pans and bake each pan for 12 minutes.
- Cool each pan 10 minutes before inverting the cake onto a rack.
- Cool another 10 minutes or so and stack each cake between wax paper and put into fridge for an hour.
- Now the ganache:
- Bring cream, sugar and butter to a boil briefly.
- Break chocolate into bits and put in a bowl.
- Make espresso.
- Pour espresso and hot cream over chocolate and let it sit 5 minutes.
- Stir ganache and let it cool in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
- Place the first cake pan-side up in a springform pan. Pour a cup of ganache and spread with a spatula.
- Place the cake in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
- Repeat process with the next layer.
- Place the remaining layer and remove the outside rim of the springform pan.
- Spread a cup of ganache over the top.
- Use a spatula to spread ganache all over the sides.
- Place the cake in the refrigerator until you are ready to eat it.
- When you cut the cake, you can dip the knife in hot water and wipe it in between cuts.
- Fall into a sugared caffeinated stupor.