For her birthday last year, Ella chose a really delicious, really rich, really chocolaty cake. This year? Ella again chose a really delicious, really rich, really chocolaty cake.
I asked her if next year she can please choose something that’s still really delicious, just not something that’s really rich and really chocolaty. She said sure. Thank goodness.
(Note: I do love rich, chocolaty desserts. I just don’t love having to throw out half a cake because you really can’t eat more than one small piece of it.)
The only question is, how on earth do I already have a 10-year-old???
Triple Chocolate Cake
This cake consists of three components. I made the chocolate Italian buttercream two days ahead, the cake one day ahead, and the fudge icing the day of. I used Scharffen Berger 70% for all the chocolate.
Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream
360 g (1 3/4 cups superfine sugar
1 tablespoon golden syrup
1/2 cup water
6 large egg whites
600 g (5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened and cut into big chunks
70 g (2 1/2 ounces) dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1. Put the sugar, golden syrup, and water in a medium saucepan and mix until well combined, making sure that there are no stray grains of sugar. Brush the inside of the saucepan with clean water to dislodge any stray grains. Set over high heat and bring to a boil. Clip a candy thermometer to the pan, and keep boiling until it reaches 248°F (120°C).
2. Meanwhile, place the egg whites into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk the egg whites to soft peaks.
3. When the sugar syrup reaches 248°F (120°C) remove it from the heat. With the mixer running, slowly pour a steady stream of the sugar syrup into the egg whites, being careful not to hit the whisk while doing so. Continue whisking until the meringue cools.
4. Add the softened butter one-third at a time, and whisk until thoroughly incorporated.
5. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
6. Once the chocolate has cooled, whisk it into the buttercream until thoroughly combined.
Keeps for up to 1 week at room temperature.
Chocolate Buttermilk Cake
225 g (8 ounces) dark chocolate, chopped into pea-sized pieces
65 g (4 tablespoons Dutch-process cocoa powder (I use Cacao Barry Extra Brute)
175 g (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
4 large eggs
300 g (1 1/2 cups) superfine sugar
175 g ( 1 1/4 cups) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1. Preheat oven to 340°F.Grease a 10-inch round cake pan, and line with parchment paper.
2. Put the chocolate and cocoa powder into a large heatproof bowl.
3. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour into the bowl of chocolate and cocoa powder, and stir until melted and smooth.
4. IN another bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar. Pour into the chocolate mixture, and mix until well combined.
5. Put the flour, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl and sift twice.
6. Add one-third of the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture, and mix until well incorporated. Add half the buttermilk, and mix until just combined. Repeat with another third of the flour, and the rest of the buttermilk. Finally, add the last third of the flour mixture, and mix until thoroughly combined.
7. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes. When done, a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of the cake should come out with almost no crumbs attached, and the middle of the cake should spring back slightly when pressed. Bake for an additional 5-10 minutes if necessary.
8. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Slade a table knife all around the edge to loosen the cake, then turn over onto a rack to cool. Allow to cool completely before cutting or storing.
1 cup whipping cream
65 g (3 tablespoons) golden syrup
350 g (12 ounces) dark chocolate, chopped into pea-sized pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
75 g (5 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into cubes and chilled
1. Put the cream and golden syrup into a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.
2. Put the chocolate into a large heatproof bowl. As soon as the cream mixture comes to a boil, immediately pour it over the chocolate. Set aside for 1 minute.
3. Using a small balloon whisk placed in the middle of the bowl, stir with very small motions. Don’t stray from the middle of the bowl. You are making an emulsion by taking a large amount of chocolate at the bottom of the bowl and slowly adding small amounts of cream to it. (Stirring in larger motions will incorporate more cream than needed, breaking the emulsion and resulting in a dull, grainy mixture.) Do not incorporate air, as that will result in unwanted air bubbles and shorten the life of the icing. Keep stirring with small motions—it will look as if nothing is happening until eventually a very shiny, thick, glossy mixture forms. Gradually stir in wider motions to incorporate more cream into the emulsion, until it is fully combined.
4. Add the vanilla extract and butter, and mix until well combined. Set aside to let the chocolate stiffen into a firm consistency before using.
To Assemble the Triple Chocolate Cake
1. Cut the Chocolate Buttermilk Cake horizontally into 3 equal layers.
2. Put one layer onto a 10-inch round cake board on a wire rack on top of a sheet pan. Spread a thin layer of Fudge Icing over it. Now spread a generous layer of the Chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream over the top.
3. Repeat this process with a second layer of cake on top of the first layer.
4. Top with the last layer of cake. Spread a thin layer of the meringue buttercream all over the cake with an offset spatula, making it as smooth and neat as possible. Refrigerate for 1 hour.
5. A few minutes before you are ready to take the cake out of the fridge to finish decorating, you will need to soften the remaining fudge icing so that it’s a pourable consistency. Gently warm the icing in a heatproof bowl over simmering water, until it is smooth and glossy. (Don’t heat it too quickly, or you risk splitting the emulsion.)
6. Take the cake out of the fridge and carefully pour the icing over it, allowing it to drip down and cover the sides of the cake. Let cool and set slightly before adding any sprinkles or chopped candy bars to the top.
Once the icing thickened a bit on the cake, I used a wooden skewer to write “Happy Birthday!” on it, and I sprinkled the edges with pink sprinkles.
Makes 1 10-inch, 3-layer cake (serves about 20)
*Recipe from Tea with Bea, Bea Vo