A small group of us recently got together to ‘safely’ celebrate my good friend, Jan Burke’s very special, big birthday. We won’t say just how big, but as far as I am concerned every birthday is big and special. I love birthday’s! When I learned that chocolate was her ‘favorite’ I went on a search for the richest, most luscious chocolate cake recipe and I found this Chocolate Truffle Layer Cake recipe online. This one may just take the cake!
Apparently the cake was a lucky accident created by a Los Angeles baker, Kimberly Sklar, who took her cake out of the oven a little too early. She had used creme fraiche in the batter and discovered that the cake was super moist and fudgy, so instead of cooking longer decided to go with the mistake. She layered it (all 6 layers!) with even more chocolate in the form of white and dark chocolate ganache. If you are a chocolate lover, this is your cake!
CHOCOLATE TRUFFLE LAYER CAKE
Ingredients for…THE CAKE
10 oz. good quality bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped and divided 6 oz./4 oz.
1 stick unsalted butter (I like to use Kerry Gold.)
1 Tbsp. pure vanilla extract (Again, good quality; such as Nielsen-Massey.)
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup water
2/3 cup creme fraiche (6 oz.)
3 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1 1/2 cups granulated white sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking soda
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
Preparation for the Cake:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. (This is the easiest thing you will do in making this cake!)
Butter two 15×12 inch jelly roll pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan, melt 6 ounces of the chopped chocolate with the butter and vanilla over very low heat, stirring gently. Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and let cool slightly.
In a small saucepan, combine the cocoa with the water and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Let cool slightly, then whisk the mixture into the melted chocolate. Whisk in the creme fraiche.
In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the whole eggs, egg yolks and both sugars at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the chocolate mixture. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking soda, baking powder and salt and transfer to a sifter or a sieve. Sift the dry ingredients and fold into the cake batter with a large spatula until fully incorporated.
Spread the batter evenly between the prepared pans and sprinkle with the remaining 4 ounces of chopped chocolate.
Bake the cakes in the lower/middle third of the oven for 25-30 minutes, until the centers spring back when lightly pressed; shift the pans halfway through baking. Let the cakes cool completely in the pans. Cake can be made and refrigerated for up to 3 days in advance or frozen up to 2 weeks.
Ingredients for…WHITE CHOCOLATE GANACHE
1 pound white chocolate, chopped (I used Ghirardelli.)
3/4 cup, plus 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
2 Tbsp. unsalted butter
Preparation for the White Chocolate Ganache:
Set a medium bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. The water should just touch the bottom of the bowl. Add the white chocolate to the bowl and melt the chocolate. Remove from the heat. Pour off the water in the saucepan and wipe it out. Add the heavy cream and butter to the saucepan and heat until the butter is melted and small bubbles appear around the edges. Whisk the hot cream mixture into the white chocolate. Set the bowl in a cool place until the ganache is firm enough to hold its shape, at least 1 hour.
I had no idea these steps would take so long and did not allow quite enough time for my ganaches to set so as I assembled the cake the layers got a little uneven. Next time I will allow more time!!
Ingredients for…DARK CHOCOLATE GANACHE:
1 1/3 cups plus 2 Tbsp. heavy cream
10 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Preparation for the Dark Chocolate Ganache:
In a medium saucepan, heat the cream until small bubbles appear around the edges. Put the chopped chocolate in a heatproof bowl and pour the hot cream on top of the chocolate. Let stand 2 to 3 minutes, until the chocolate melts, then whisk until smooth and shiny. Set the bowl in a cool place until the ganache is firm enough to hold its shape, at least 1 hour.
Ingredients for…CHOCOLATE FROSTING:
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate
3 Tbsp. granulated sugar
1/4 cup corn syrup
6 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. water
1 Tbsp. brandy
1 pound unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup confectioners sugar, sifted
Bittersweet and white chocolate shavings for garnish. I skipped this step as I ran out of time.
Preparation for the Chocolate Frosting:
In a medium saucepan, melt the chocolate over very low heat, stirring frequently. In a small saucepan, whisk together the granulated sugar, corn syrup, cocoa and water and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Remove from the heat and whisk in the brandy and melted chocolate. Let cool completely, about 30 minutes.
In the bowl of a standing electric mixer fitted with a wire whisk, beat the butter at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the cooled chocolate mixture. At low speed, beat in the confectioners sugar.
NOW THE ASSEMBLEY BEGINS…
The original recipe went into elaborate instructions as how to create forms to cut the cake into even pieces and how exactly to fill this cake. I’m going to share what I did, which seemed much simpler.
The sheet pans are 15×12 inches. Gently flip the pans onto your counter or a cutting board using your hand to ensure the cakes pop out in one piece. The trick here is to not break the cake. Carefully remove the parchment paper. Now cut each sheet pan of cake into 3 equal pieces per pan, so 3 pieces of 5 inch x 12 inch cake making a total of 6 pieces between the 2 pans. Trim the edges with a sharp to remove any crusty edge, but make sure each of your pieces is the same size.
Place the first layer on a serving plate or tray. I used my mesquite wooden cutting board as my cake platters were not large enough. Spoon a generous dollop of the chocolate frosting onto the first layer creating about 1/2 inch even layer of frosting over the first cake layer. Add a layer of cake on top. Spread 1/2 of the white chocolate ganache on this layer and top with another layer of cake. Top this layer with 1/2 of the dark chocolate ganache and repeat with 2 more layers, alternating the white and dark chocolate ganache.
Keep the sides as even as you can as you build the cake. My cake had a little tilt to it! Top with the final layer of cake. Coat the sides and top of the cake with a smooth layer of chocolate frosting (I used all the frosting that was left); refrigerate briefly to set the frosting. Garnish with the chocolate shavings.
Refrigerate until firm. Using a hot knife, cut the cake into slices while cold and let it come to room temperature before serving. In the excitement of the celebration I ignored those last 2 steps, which also resulted in a less than perfectly even final presentation, but it sure did taste fantastic. And, the birthday girl and other guests seemed very happy with this rich, decadent, gooey chocolate cake!
|Our gracious host, Bonnie, offered to cut the cake!
Don’t let the many steps involved in making this cake discourage you. It is truly worth the effort for a special occasion or holiday.
THAT’S IT FOR TODAY!
HAPPY BIRTHDAY AGAIN, DEAR JAN!
…AND MANY, MANY MORE!
HOLIDAYS ARE FAST APPROACHING.
WE WILL MAKE THE MOST
OF THE FESTIVE SEASON AHEAD!
KEEP ON COOKING AND KEEP THE FAITH!