Tag Archives: chocolate ganache

Chocolate adorned raspberry cheesecake

IMG_2691

I’ve been waiting to post this cake since last spring.  And today – maybe because the pictures evoke an autumnal tone, or because I just celebrated a birthday myself – I’m feeling happy and energized and ready to type up a recipe for you.

IMG_2684

This is a cake I made for my friend Elise, whom I am coming to believe is my “dessert twin.”  Everything sweet that she likes, I like.  Accordingly, the cheesecake with a handful of fresh raspberries and a hint of chocolate garnish that she chose for her last birthday is the cake that my mind wanders to when I’m dessert dreaming.  It happens a lot.

IMG_2698

This cake is a Dorie Greenspan beauty that I coronated with a crown of sugared raspberries and chocolate leaves.

IMG_2676

That firm but yielding outer layer of cheesecake, lightly browned like a marshmallow over a backyard fire, is what calls to me.  In this cake, the outer walls also reveal the rolling clump of raspberries casually tossed in the batter when the pan was half full and not yet baked.  That second layer of batter covers every inch of the raspberries like a fluffy, delicious blanket.

IMG_2681

For the topping, I made a half batch of chocolate ganache and piped on the double loops once the cake was set.  While the cake baked, I sugared the raspberries and made the chocolate leaves.

To create those delicate things, I chose mint leaves that I picked up in the fresh herbs section of the grocery store.  I thought mint leaves looked a lot like the leaves on a raspberry bush, plus they are almost always available for purchase, so that made the decision easy.

Here’s the directions for the Delicate Chocolate Leaves:

1.  Wash and dry leaves thoroughly.

2.  Using the best chocolate available, chop the chocolate into small pieces and melt it in a glass bowl covered with plastic wrap in the microwave. Cook the chocolate on high at 30 second intervals, taking care not to burn the chocolate.  Use of a double boiler on the stovetop would work just as well.

3.  Once the chocolate is ready and as smooth as possible, use a clean flat brush to paint the chocolate on the underside of the leaves, creating a thick layer. Then, place the leaves on a cookie sheet lined with wax or parchment paper and freeze for 5 minutes.

4.  Thereafter, paint a second layer of chocolate and place the leaves back in the freezer for at least another 5 minutes, or until ready to place them on the cake.

5.  When ready to place the layers on the cake, delicately pull the leaves from the chocolate and immediately place the leaves where desired. Work quickly, because unlike M&M’s these morsels do melt in your hands.

Raspberry Cloud Cheesecake

very slightly adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking:  From My Home to Yours

For the Crust:

1 3/4 cups graham cracker crumbs
3 tablespoons sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted

For the Cheesecake:

2 pounds (four 8-ounce boxes) cream cheese, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups sour cream
1 1/2 cups fresh raspberries (divided)

To make the crust:

1.  Butter a 9-inch springform pan with sides that are 2 3/4 -inch high (any lower and the batter will spill over) and wrap the bottom of the pan with a double layer of aluminum foil.

2.  Stir the crumbs, sugar and salt together in a medium bowl.  Pour over the melted butter and using your fingers, blend until all of the dry ingredients are uniformly moist.

3.  Turn the ingredients into the springform pan and use your fingers to pat an even layer of crumbs over the bottom of the pan and about halfway up the sides.  Don’t worry if the sides are not perfectly even or not right at the midway point.  Freeze crust while you preheat the oven or are otherwise ready to use (crust can be frozen for up to 2 months).

4.  Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Place the springform pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.  Allow the crust to cool on a rack.

To make the cheesecake:

1.  Reduce the oven temperature to 325 degrees F and put a kettle of water on to boil.

2.  Working with a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the cream cheese until soft and creamy, about 4 minutes.  With the mixer running, add the sugar and salt and continue to beat for another 4 minutes or so until the cream cheese is light.

3.  Beat in the vanilla.  Add the eggs one by one, beating for a full minute after each addition – you want a well-aerated batter.  Reduce speed to low and mix in the sour cream.

4.  Put the foil-wrapped springform pan in a roasting pan that is large enough to hold the springform pan with some space around it.

5.  Give the batter a few stirs with a rubber spatula, to make sure there is nothing left unmixed at the bottom of the bowl.  Then, scrape half of the batter into the springform pan.  Thereafter, drop in one cup fresh raspberries (reserve the remaining 1/2 cup to garnish the top of the cake).

6.  Top the raspberries with the remaining batter, until it reaches the rim of the pan.

7.  Put the roasting pan in the oven and pour enough boiling water into it to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.

8.  Bake the cheesecake for 1 hour and 30 minutes, at which point the top should be browned (and perhaps cracked) and may have risen just a little above the rim of the pan.  Turn off the oven and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon.  Allow the cheesecake to luxuriate in its water bath for another hour.

9.  After one hour, carefully pull the setup out of the oven and lift the springform pan out of the roaster.  Be careful, as there may be water in the aluminum foil.  Remove the foil and allow the cheesecake to come to room temperature on a cooling rack.

10.  When the cake is cool, cover the top lightly and refrigerate for at least 4 hours; overnight is better.

11.  At serving time, remove the sides of the springform pan (you can use a hairdryer to do this) and set the cake on a serving platter.

12.  Garnish as desired.

IMG_2685

I’ve dreamed about this cake since I last made it over six months ago.  Perhaps it’s time to pick up another 2 pounds of cream cheese….

2 Comments

Filed under cakes, cakes for grown-ups

Raspberry rose chocolate cake

I love, love, love to make special occasion cakes for adults, where emphasis is on the taste and the pretty. This cake delivers all of that along with the feeling that your secret admirer has just messengered over the freshest flowers of the season. The expensive ones:  long stem in blush pink.

The cake of this cake is a rich triple chocolate layer cake, studded with chocolate bits and sliding devilishly close to brownie. It’s a Dorie Greenspan wonder and I’ve made it before with much success. This time, I poured the whole batter into a 10 inch round, the perfect size for showing off those roses, which were first introduced to me by i am baker. Here’s her tutorial.  Simple but elegant.

Once baked, I cut the cake into two layers and filled it with buttercream and my chocolate ganache. I made a double batch of ganache so that there was some left to include in the piping bag for the roses. The frosting is a double batch of Swiss meringue buttercream, spiked with seedless raspberry jam.

Once chilled, I used my now favorite “big” tip, the Wilton 1M to decorate the cake. To get that hint of chocolate in the roses, I used a technique I use with cookie decorating. I wrapped the buttercream in two layers of plastic wrap, twisted the ends and tied one end in a knot.  I did the same with a smaller amount of ganache.  Then I placed the “cartridges” in the piping bag, open end toward the tip.  Then I pulled the plastic through the tip and snipped the excess.

“cartridges” before placing in piping bag

Before applying the frosting on the cake, I piped a bit out, just to get the flow and buttercream-to-chocolate ratios right.  From there, I started in the center of each rose and piped a circle around itself. I did the sides first, then the top. Then I filled in the gaps with little “line” swirls (just like i am baker).

It’s hard to believe, but it’s all much easier then my rambling description indicates. One day I’ll have the patience to do real tutorials. For now, we’ll just have to settle for sparse process pictures and sheer enthusiasm.

Here are the recipes for that person in your life deserving of edible flowers:

DG’s Chocolate Devil’s Food Cake
(slightly adapted)

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 c. unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c.  (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 t. pure vanilla extract
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 c. buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 c. boiling water
4 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped, or 2/3 mini chocolate chips

1.)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour two eight inch round cake pans. I use baking spray.

2.)  Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.

3.)  With a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add both sugars and continue to beat for another 3 minutes.

4.)  Add the eggs to the butter-sugar mixture one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer to low and mix in the melted chocolate until fully incorporated.

5.)  Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter.

6.)  Still working on low speed, mix in the boiling water then switch to a rubber spatula, scrape down the bowl and stir in the chopped chocolate.

7.)  Divide the batter evenly between the two pans (I use a kitchen scale for this) and smooth the tops with a spatula.

8.)  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. When fully baked, the cakes will be springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.

9.)  Transfer the cake pans to a rack and cool for 10 minutes. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. The cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.

Kristina’s Shiny Chocolate Ganache
(double the recipe for this cake….)

3/4 c. heavy cream
2 T. unsalted butter
6 oz. semi sweet chocolate, chopped
1 t. corn syrup (for shine)

1.  Microwave the cream and butter in a measuring cup on high until bubbling, about 1 1/2 minutes. Or, bring to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.

2.  Place the chopped chocolate and corn syrup in a food processor. With the machine running, gradually add the hot cream through the feed tube and process until smooth and thickened, about 3 minutes.

3.  Transfer the ganache to a medium bowl and let stand at room temperature until it is the consistency you desire (about 1 hour for spreading; 1 1/2 to 2 hours for piping). Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups.

Raspberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting  
(slightly adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook)
(double the recipe for this cake….)

4 large egg whites
1 1/4 c. sugar (divide 1 cup and 1/4 cup)
3 sticks (1 1/2 c.) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
1 t. vanilla extract
3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam

1.  In the heat proof bowl of an electric mixer set over a saucepan of simmering water on medium heat, combine the egg whites and sugar. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch (about 160 degrees F on an instant read thermometer).

2.  Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg white/sugar mixture on high-speed until it holds stiff (but not dry) peaks, about 5 minutes.

3.  Switch to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

4.  If the frosting appears to separate after the butter and vanilla are added (it usually does), beat on medium speed for another 3 minutes until combined.

5.  Add 3/4 cup seedless raspberry jam.  Mix on medium speed until combined.

6 Comments

Filed under cakes for grown-ups

Just gonna stand there and watch me burn? chocolate malt marshmallow cake

You know what’s great (besides Eminem’s assuredly catchy but unsettling lyrics)? Fiery, passionate people in your life that know what they like and aren’t afraid to voice that like. While it may make for some lively discussions, it also allows for a wide path of joy leading from one insane amateur baker to the girl on fire – the voicer of likes – or in this case, the birthday girl.

This time, I was baking for Stacey, a wonderful friend, who, along with raising four kids, directing and producing Spokane’s Listen to Your Mother, a powerful show about mothers and their words AND heading every hiring committee that preschool boards and elementary school PTAs can throw at her, has made it quite clear to me over the course of our six-year relationship that she likes CHOCOLATE. Period.

There is no other cake on her birthday menu, and if fruit is anywhere in the building, she is not. And don’t even mention coconut. That’s grounds for friendship divorce. At least on her birthday.

Stacey does however, like the comforting, yet sophisticated taste of toasted marshmallows, that is ruling the sweet world these days. Inspired by a chocolate cake at a local Italian restaurant, and the s’mores craze too, I came up with my own concoction and thankfully, only lit one layer on fire, allowing a respectable 3 (versus 4) layer cake for the party. Whew.  Fire is still my friend. Stacey is still my friend.

For this cake, I worked from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking, From My Home to Yours, which as promised, really takes on a brownie effect when served cold.

For the layers, I made a double batch of my usual chocolate ganache and then spread that with a fabulous marshmallow frosting.

Look at this fluffy stuff…its beautiful!

At this point, I popped each layer under the broiler for 15-20 seconds. Mmmm…toasted heaven.

As mentioned, I only stood and watched one burn.

From there, I saved the charred layer for my family and did a double crumb cake technique with the other three, first with the fluffy marshmallow frosting and then with a traditional chocolate icing of the powdered sugar (and malt powder!) variety.

Finally, after some time in the refrigerator, I frosted the whole thing with the chocolate-malt icing using a variation of this technique, expertly explained at Glorious Treats.

Finally, I crowned the top with a ring of marshmallow frosting that I DID NOT toast under the broiler. The gentle flame of a lighter wand did the trick. Then it was just a sprinkling of sprinkles away from cake with friends.

Below are the cake, marshmallow frosting and chocolate frosting recipes:

DG’s Devil’s Food Cake (slightly adapted)

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 c. unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
3/4 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 c.  (packed) light brown sugar
1/2 c. sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 t. pure vanilla extract
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled
1/2 c. buttermilk or whole milk, at room temperature
1/2 c. boiling water
4 ounces semisweet or milk chocolate, finely chopped, or 2/3 mini chocolate chips

1.)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease and flour two eight inch round cake pans. I use baking spray.

2.)  Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a mixing bowl.

3.)  With a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add both sugars and continue to beat for another 3 minutes.

4.)  Add the eggs to the butter-sugar mixture one by one, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer to low and mix in the melted chocolate until fully incorporated.

5.)  Add the dry ingredients in three additions, alternating with the milk in two additions. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter.

6.)  Still working on low speed, mix in the boiling water then switch to a rubber spatula, scrape down the bowl and stir in the chopped chocolate.

7.)  Divide the batter evenly between the two pans (I use a kitchen scale for this) and smooth the tops with a spatula.

8.)  Bake for 25 to 30 minutes. When fully baked, the cakes will be springy to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center will come out clean.

9.)  Transfer the cake pans to a rack and cool for 10 minutes. Invert and cool to room temperature right side up. The cooled cake layers can be wrapped airtight and stored at room temperature overnight or frozen for up to 2 months.

Marshmallowy Frosting
4 large egg whites

1 c. sugar
3/4 t. cream of tartar
1 c. water
1 T. pure vanilla extract
1 jar marshmallow cream

1.)  Place the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer (clean and dry) or other mixing bowl. Have a candy thermometer at the ready.

2.)  Place the sugar, cream of tartar and water in a small saucepan and stir to combine. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, cover the pan and boil for 3 minutes.

3.)  Uncover the saucepan and allow the syrup to boil until it reaches 242 degrees F on the candy thermometer.

4.)  While the syrup is cooking, start beating the egg whites on medium speed with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer until they form firm, shiny peaks.

5.)  Once the syrup reaches 242 degrees F, off heat, and carefully pour the hot syrup into the egg whites. Add the vanilla extract and keep beating the whites at medium speed until they reach room temperature, about 5 minutes. Add the jar of marshmallow cream and mix on medium speed until incorporated.

6.)  It is best to use the marshmallowy frosting right away.

Chocolate Malt Buttercream Frosting

6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/3 c. (packed) light brown sugar
1/4 c. malted milk powder
1 T. unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder
1/4 boiling water
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, at room temperature
Pinch of salt
3/4 t. pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar, sifted

1.)  Melt the chocolate and half the brown sugar in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.  Remove from the heat. Alternatively, melt the chocolate and sugar in a microwave on high at 30 second intervals until melted (not burned).  Stir between each interval.

2.)  Whisk the malt powder and cocoa together in a small bowl, pour over 3 tablespoons of the boiling water and whisk until smooth. Whisking the melted chocolate gently, gradually pour in the hot malt-cocoa mixture and stir to blend.  It should be dark, smooth and glossy; set aside.

3.)  With a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or a hand mixer in large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the remaining brown sugar and beat until well blended, about 2 to 3 minutes more.

4.)  Beat in the salt and vanilla extract, then reduce the mixer speed to low. Scrape in the chocolate mixer and mix until smooth. Still working on low speed, gradually add in the powdered sugar.

5.)  When all the powdered sugar is added, increase the mixer speed to medium and beat for a couple of minutes. Then reduce the mixer to low and add the remaining tablespoon of boiling water. When incorporated, increase the speed to medium and beat the frosting a bit more.

6.)  It’s best to use the chocolate-malt buttercream right away.

P.S.  I couldn’t resist…I linked this post on Tidy Mom’s Lovin’ It Friday.  Join the party at Tidy Mom’s!

 

 

7 Comments

Filed under cakes for grown-ups

Ben & Jerry would love these cupcakes!

I’ve always been a batter girl.  As a kid, I couldn’t resist tasting silky white cake mix batter, before it was poured into the pans for baking.

And cookie dough, ahhhhh, it brought another kind of precooked delight.  Tasting the tang of baking soda with the sweet pop of chocolate chips against the grit of brown sugar crystals was – and remains – divine.  We weren’t afraid of a little raw egg back then, and to be honest with you, when no one is looking over my shoulder, I still eat raw dough of all kinds, with only slight hesitation.

No worries, however, the object of this post – cookie dough filled cupcakes – do not contain raw eggs.  In my opinion, no dessert should induce anxiety, just pure satisfaction.  I’ve tinkered with these cupcakes a bit and they have since become my favorite “party treat.”  When eating them, I am brought back to the party days of college, when a party could simply mean sharing a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough ice cream with a roommate.  That stuff was revolutionary, I tell ya.

To make these cupcakes, I start with a moist white cake and lace the batter with a few mini semi-sweet chocolate chips.  Mini chips are key to these cupcakes, because you don’t want to overwhelm the palette with a big bite of hard chocolate.  Trust me, I’ve tried the regular chips before, and they’re plain distracting in both the cake and dough.

It’s crazy, but we’re going for nostalgic subtly here; a reminder of that tub of “study break” ice cream, or the taste of cookie dough ribbons before the mixing bowl went into the sink for soaking.  Not a bag full of post holiday Hershey’s Kisses from the freezer that you really shouldn’t be eating anyway (no worries, I have plenty of “constructive” uses for those treats too).

Once baked and cooled, the cupcakes are cored and filled with a dab of chocolate ganache and then cookie dough.  I top the cupcakes with a swirl of ganache and sprinkle a few cake crumbs on top.  Otherwise, the tops are left bare.  This is primarily because ganache is the epitome of “rich dessert” and adding frosting can swerve the whole shebang to the sickening side of sugar intake, even if the eggs are fully cooked.  (:

So, without further ado, here’s the cake and (no bake) cookie dough filling recipes.  You can find my Chocolate Ganache Recipe here.  For this recipe, please double the ganache, ‘cuz there’s a lot of cake filling to do….

White Cake with Mini Chocolate Chips
slightly adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook
(makes approximately 24 cupcakes)

3 cups cake flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
3 sticks (1 1/2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 1/4 c. sugar
1/2 t. pure vanilla extract
1/2 t. vanilla bean paste (I love the specked “authenticity” that vanilla seeds add to the cake)
1 c. milk
8 large egg whites
1/2 c. MINI semisweet chocolate chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line two standard 12-cup muffin pans with paper liners.

2.  In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

3.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and two cups sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Beat in the vanilla and vanilla bean paste.  With the mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until just combined.  Transfer mixture to a large bowl and set aside.

4.  In the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat egg whites on low speed until foamy.  With mixer running, gradually add remaining 1/4 cup sugar; beat on high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form, about 3 minutes.  Do not overbeat.  With a large rubber spatula, gently fold a third of the egg-white mixture into the butter-flour mixture until combined.  Gently fold in the remaining whites and the mini chocolate chips.

5.  Divide batter evenly among the muffin cups, filling each with a heaping 1/4 cup batter.  Bake, rotating pans halfway through, until the cupcakes are golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.

6.  Transfer pans to a wire rack and allow to cool 10 minutes.  Remove cupcakes from the pans and allow cupcakes to cool completely before coring and filling.

NO BAKE Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Filling

3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. oat flour
1/3 c. granulated sugar
1 3/4 c. flour
1/2 t. baking soda
1/2 t. coarse Kosher salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
2 T. light corn syrup
2 T. water (replaces liquid from egg – if needed, add more to moisten)
2 t. pure vanilla extract
1/2 c. MINI semisweet chocolate chips

1.  In a bowl, mix together the brown sugar, oat flour and granulated sugar.  I find a fork works best.

2.  In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt (dry ingredients).

3.  In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the butter and corn syrup together on medium -low speed until smooth and creamy, about 1 minute.  Add the oat flour-sugar mixture gradually and mix for 2 minutes.  Add the water and vanilla and mix for one minute longer, scraping down the bowl as needed.  Reduce the mixer to low and add the dry ingredients and mix until just blended.  Add more water if the batter appears dry.

4.  Using a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the mini chocolate chips.

5.  Place the cookie dough in a pastry bag without a tip for filling the cupcakes, or fill the cupcakes with a spoon.

9 Comments

Filed under cupcakes

Swept away in swirls, cake!

I recently became enchanted with Glory’s ombre swirl cake. Ombre describes a design technique that features a graduation from dark to light color. Like this:

Martha Stewart is a big fan. This has now concluded the design portion of the post/mini Pinterest site. Mostly because that’s all I really know about design.

Anyhoo, we recently had friends visit for the weekend. They’re great friends with many fine attributes, among them a weakness for over the top desserts. I wanted to bask in Glory’s glory, with a more frosting-than-you-really-should-eat-at-one-time, chocolate twist.

It turned out wonderfully. We were all in chocolate swirly heaven for a couple of days, indulging in one – and sometimes two – giant slices after every meal or every excuse for a meal that we could make sound legit.

For this recipe, I used Sweetapolita’s One-Bowl Dark Chocolate Cake recipe, which is quickly becoming a no fail favorite for me. I baked two 8 inch rounds and cut the rounds in half for a four layer cake.

For the filling, I started with a layer of swiss meringue buttercream, topped with 1/3 cup of chocolate ganache on each layer. Then I gave the cake the old crumb coat and finished with a double batch of swiss meringue buttercream frosting, applied to the cake in giant swirls.

To create the color (and flavor!) variation in the frosting, I started with a double batch of plain frosting and then added a few dollops of ganache and a tiny drop of brown food coloring to the whole batch for the lightest variation. From there, I kept adding more ganache and food coloring to create the two darker chocolate hues.

For the swirls, I used a large Wilton 1M decorating tip. Whenever you use the big decorating guns, the frosting goes fast. I started at the bottom with the darkest frosting, creating a row for each color. Unfortunately, I miscalculated the color ratios and ran out of the lighter frosting and had to improvise on the top of the cake with ganache and the more chocolatey frosting. Ultimately, the ombre effect was cut short, but all to good end.  More chocolate for all!

Sweetapolita’s One-Bowl Dark Chocolate Cake Recipe

Shiny Chocolate Ganache

3/4 c. heavy cream
2 T. unsalted butter
6 oz. semi sweet chocolate, chopped
1 t. corn syrup (for shine)

1.  Microwave the cream and butter in a measuring cup on high until bubbling, about 1 1/2 minutes. Or, bring to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium-high heat.

2.  Place the chopped chocolate and corn syrup in a food processor. With the machine running, gradually add the hot cream through the feed tube and process until smooth and thickened, about 3 minutes.

3.  Transfer the ganache to a medium bowl and let stand at room temperature until it is the consistency you desire (about 1 hour for spreading; 1 1/2 to 2 hours for piping). Makes approximately 1 1/2 cups.

Swiss Meringue Buttercream Frosting
(slightly adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook)

4 large egg whites
1 1/4 c. sugar
3 sticks (1 1/2 c.) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into tablespoons
1 t. vanilla extract

1.  In the heat proof bowl of an electric mixer set over a saucepan of simmering water on medium heat, combine the egg whites and sugar. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is warm to the touch (about 160 degrees F on an instant read thermometer).

2.  Attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Beat the egg white/sugar mixture on high-speed until it holds stiff (but not dry) peaks, about 5 minutes.

3.  Switch to the paddle attachment. With the mixer on medium-low speed, add the butter several tablespoons at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.

4.  If the frosting appears to separate after the butter and vanilla are added (it usually does), beat on medium speed for another 3 minutes until combined.

14 Comments

Filed under cakes, cakes for grown-ups