Triple Layer Chocolate Cake. Chocolate Ganache Cake. Intense Chocolate Ganache cake. A Slice of Heaven Cake. Laundry Bin cake. Cake That Should Replace Sleeping Pill Prescriptions Cake. There are so many names for this monster baby.
Not only did I spend nearly all Saturday making it, my mom also said she found chocolate everywhere. On the dining table, on the couch, on the kitchen table, on the kitchen floor, on my cheeks, underneath my nails, and clinging on my pajamas. The morning was devoted to baking the cake layers. The cake was definitely the largest I've made in all my baking years, I ran out of bowls to mix the batter. After much thought, I resorted to mixing the batter in the plastic laundry bin I use to wash my swimsuit (I promise I cleaned it before and after TWICE!).
In between watching old episodes of Big Bang Theory and reading my new novel, I prepared the ganache. Half a pound of dark chocolate was finely chopped, melted with heavy cream and left to chill. Hours later, it was spread on top of cake layers and then poured over like liquid gold. I gingerly placed it at the bottom of the fridge to set.
A few weeks ago I dined at La Maquette with my parents. The most unforgettable moments of the dinner was the rude waiter (“Each table is limited to one bread basket. Your table will have had three already.”) plus the melt in your mouth desserts. The strawberry mousse cake was juicy and sweet. The chocolate truffle cake was perfect. The chocolate ganache was so smooth, it melted on the surface of your tongue. Every bite felt like slipping on a silk dress then floating on a cloud.
Between each forkful, My mom raved at how much she loved the chocolate cake. You know she means serious business when she can polish off a slice of cake—she's a petite lady and has immense will power when it comes to sweets.
“I can make this at home!” I exclaimed. Since then, over the next week my mom has been nagging me everyday with a new question: Remember that chocolate truffle cake? Remember how freaking amazing that cake was? When should we buy the cake ingredients? What was I planning to do on the weekend? Does it begin with B and end in “ake?” My mom is not that subtle when she's trying to make a point.
So Sunday night, my parents invited a handful of family friends to come over so we could share the cake. I carried the 10 lb masterpiece to the dining table and impatiently waited for their arrival. When they finally came, I slices and distributed slices around the circle. There were gasps and sighs as our guests savored their dessert. I settled in my seat and took a small bite. It was rich, dense and intensely chocolately. The cake layers were moist and full of flavor. The ganache was just how dark chocolate should be: complex and bitter at first, then later, a soft hint of sweetness.
Contrary to my mom's appetite, my dad—like me—lives for desserts. I was astonished when he couldn't finish his slice of chocolate cake. It was a normal sized piece, and half of it was left untouched. I brought the rest of the cake to work and just after minutes of eating our slices, me and three other girls were dozing off at our desk. The cake is so rich it sreams for a tall glass of milk, followed by nap time.
I'm quite proud of my cake. It's my first layer cake and also my first laundry bin cake. But don't worry, I've made a mental note to purchase an extra large mixing bowl for future baking endeavors.
Intensely Chocolate Layer Cake
Adapted from Epicurious
Serves 12 to 14
For cake layers
-3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate (I used Baker’s)
-1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
-3 cups sugar
-2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
-1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-3/4 teaspoon baking powder
-1 1/4 teaspoons salt
-3 large eggs
-3/4 cup vegetable oil
-1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
-3/4 teaspoon vanilla
For ganache frosting
-1 pound fine-quality semisweet chocolate
-1 cup heavy cream
-2 tablespoons sugar
-2 tablespoons light corn syrup
-1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
-three 10- by 2-inch round cake pans
Make cake layers:
1. Preheat oven to 300°F. and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.
2. Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
3. Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well. Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.
4. Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.
1. Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.
2. Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency).
3. Spread frosting between cake layers and over top and sides. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving. Share and indulge.