Triple chocolate cake
There’s a certain excitement about baking a cake for someone’s birthday. I love and hate it at the same time, as I never know if the receiver will like it. Like me, when I receive a cake that I don't like. I love chocolate cake. I adore it, black and white, especially. Black sponge and white chocolate cream. Nothing fancy, but the chocolate has to be the best. It’s not good chocolate cake without good chocolate, as much as we would like to think there is.
So on a day I felt like my head would blow up, I had to make a birthday cake for my friend’s daughter. There was no turning back, as she turned 18 and loved chocolate cake, and it was also a surprise. I stood in the kitchen and looked at the fog that was enveloping our house. I had to go shopping, just for one thing – buttermilk. Michel Cluizel chocolate was in my pantry, as were cacao and eggs from the countryside. The weather reflected what was going on in my head – a headache just tortured me for the second day in a row, and a sore throat was glancing over my shoulder.
I came back from the shop and baked. I baked the cake with love, slowly, step by step, using my recipe as inspiration but making it different, a bit simpler. The next day, I spread the ganache around, placed some greenery inside (no chemicals used), and we took off. I was sitting at the table when it was time to serve the cake. I pretended that I was not nervous, but I was. No one said anything for a while, but then the compliments began to pop like popcorn from a machine, but still no comments from her. Those came along with the hug 30 minutes later. And I was happy, since it was all I needed.
50 g cacao powder
120 g melted butter, chilled a bit
200 ml water
300 g flour
1 tsp soda (8g)
pinch of sea salt
1/3 tsp vanilla powder
3 eggs, room temperature
300 g light brown sugar
160 g buttermilk
60 ml espresso
300 g white chocolate
150 ml whipping cream
sea salt to taste
thin 1st layer to coat:
120 ml whipping cream, warm
100 g black chocolate
ganache to coat:
120 g dark 70% chocolate
180 ml whipping cream
sea salt to taste
Preheat the oven to 160°. Butter 2 9-inch cake rounds.
Mix together flour, soda, vanilla, and salt in a bowl. Melt the butter with cacao and water until it is like a sauce. Add it to the dry mix, and mix until incorporated. Then add coffee, buttermilk, and eggs and mix. Do not over mix.
Divide the batter equally among the prepared pans. Bake in the center of the oven for 45-55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Cool in the pans on wire racks for 15 minutes and then turn the cakes out onto the racks and cool completely.
Make the white cream. Heat the cream until boiling, take off the heat, and add chocolate. Wait for 1 minute and stir until the mixture is smooth. Cool the cream until it is cool and easy to spread. Place the cream into a bowl, mix with electric mixer until it is pale, and with the mixer running, add whipping cream in 3 parts. Whip until it is spreadable and stiff, but be careful because the moment when it is too much comes suddenly.
Make 1 layer to coat the cake the same time as you melt the white chocolate. Heat the cream until boiling, take off the heat and add chocolate. Wait for 1 minute and stir until each mixture is smooth. Cool the creams until they are easy to spread (around 2 hours at 16°).
Slice one sponge in half horizontally. Cut off the top layer of each sponge (the one that looks like a hill). You have to make the cake even.
Place the first sponge onto a serving plate. Put some of the white cream on top and spread, leaving 5 mm on the sides (the weight will press the cake down and the cream will spread). Place the second sponge and repeat, And then the third. Top the cake with a super thin, see-through layer of white cream. Spread the chocolate cream around and on top, covering everything well. This lets the cake stay moist, and makes it easier to spread the ganache later. Put in a cake box and refrigerate for 12 h.
For the ganache. Make it at least 2-3 hours before decorating. Put chocolate into a bowl. Heat the cream until boiling. Pour onto chocolate, wait for 1 minute, and stir until mixture is smooth and shiny. Cool until it is easy to spread. Spread around the cake, coating everything. Decorate and leave in a cool place for 2 hours or place in the fridge. It is important to let it rest for 2 hours at least. If you put in the fridge for a longer time, take it out 1-2 h before serving (I do it when the party starts and I know there is plenty of time). Serve – it is easier to cut the pieces with a hot and dry knife.
Recipe and pictures: Signe Meirane
Camera: Sony Alpha 7s