Hi, guys! This post might be a teaser of sorts with its iPhone-only photos, but the good news is that this recipe is one that I couldn’t go another day without sharing. I had planned to do “official” photos of this cake, and I still might when I make it again for my man on Valentine’s Day, but for now let’s talk about how much I want you to make this cake. (I also think this is perfect best-friend-sharing cake for two!)
What exactly is going on in that little 5″ round tower of gooey decadence? It’s 6 layers of a deep, dark (super-moist) chocolate chip devil’s food cake stacked and filled with a fluffy vanilla cream and smothered in a glossy, satiny, super-chocolaty glaze. I say it’s “for two,” but of course you both might surrender before it’s all done and save some for later. You can smother it in the glaze and then let it set, but I think it’s much sexier and decadent to pour the warm gooey glaze all over it and embrace the messy deliciousness digging right in — this is no time for cutting pristine slices.
I made this little super-simple chalkboard cake topper to profess my love by cutting out two chalkboard labels with a tag cutter (but you could use scissors) and taping to each side of bamboo skewer that I cut to size. So easy!
And this is one of those cakes that you can infinitely modify with new flavours. I love the idea of adding liqueur to the glaze (I did Grand Marnier for a hint of orange), and you can even go ahead and add some orange zest to the cream filling. I love the idea of an espresso theme — you could add Kahlua to the glaze, and even add a bit of coffee extract to the cream filling. What I do recommend, though, is always using the best chocolate you can, especially with the glaze. I used an extra dark chocolate with 72% cocoa solids, but you can use any kind you like. You’ll just want to stay away from milk chocolate, as it’s just a bit too sweet for this kind of glaze.
I opted out of using a ganache (chocolate and heavy cream) because the cake filling is made from heavy cream, and I find that much ganache on top of this much cake and cream filling a bit over the top, but you could definitely give that a try if you’re feeling rebellious. The glaze is made from chocolate, butter, a bit of light corn syrup, splash of liqueur (optional) and a pinch of sea salt (I also love how easy it is to make.) and, like ganache, takes to pretty much any flavouring you love.
So you might see another version of this cake soon, along with a few other upcoming cake delights, but in the meantime here is the recipe for this ooey gooey, super-chocolaty cake for two. Oh, and if you’d like to check out me digging into this cake for real (and I realize it’s just me . . . not two), you can watch it here, taken via my new favourite iPhone app, “Vine.” An app kind of like Instagram, but rather than viewing snippets of life in images, you see 6-second looped video clips — way too much fun. ♥
- 1 stick 115 g unsalted butter, softened
- 1-1/3 cups 300 g packed dark brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons 10 ml pure vanilla extract
- 2 eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup + 2 tablespoons 145 g all-purpose flour
- 1/2 cup 60 g Dutch-process dark cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon 4 g baking powder
- 3/4 teaspoon 6 g kosher salt
- 3/4 cup 180 ml buttermilk, shaken and warm
- 1/4 cup 60 ml coffee or espresso
- 3 tablespoons 45 ml mayonnaise
- 1/3 cup premium dark or extra dark chocolate chips
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 2 teaspoons 10 ml white vinegar
- 2 tablespoons 30 ml cold water
- 2 teaspoons 10 ml unflavoured gelatin (such as Knox brand)
- 1-3/4 cups 420 ml whipping cream (35-37% fat), cold, divided
- 1/4 cup 30 g icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon 5 ml pure vanilla extract
- Pinch of salt
- 6 oz 180 g premium dark or extra dark chocolate, chopped
- 1 stick 115 g unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon 15 ml light corn syrup
- Splash of liqueur of choice optional (grand marnier, spiced rum, kahlua, etc.)
- Pinch of sea salt regular salt, if necessary
Preheat oven to 350° F. Butter three 5-inch round cake pans, line with parchment rounds, and dust with flour, tapping out the excess.
In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter, brown sugar and vanilla on medium-high speed until lighter in color and slightly increased in volume, about 5 minutes. Lower the speed to medium and add the eggs, one at a time, mixing until each is fully incorporated before adding the next.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into a medium bowl. Add the salt to the dry ingredients after sifting, and whisk dry ingredients.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, combine the coffee and buttermilk. Alternate dry ingredients and buttermilk mixture into creamed mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients. Mix until just incorporated, then fold mayonnaise into batter with a whisk, until just blended. Fold in chocolate chips. In a small bowl, combine the vinegar and baking soda (it will foam) and quickly add to batter, mixing until just combined.
Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans. If possible, weigh the batter in each cake pan for 275 g each (excluding the pans--you will want to tare the scale each time.) This ensures even layers. Smooth with small offset palette knife, and bake for about 25 minutes, rotating once after 20 minutes. Cake is done when toothpick or skewer comes out clean. Try not to over-bake.
Let pans cool on wire rack for 20 minutes, then invert cakes onto racks, gently, peeling away parchment rounds. Let cool completely.
In a small bowl, place the cold water and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. In a small saucepan, bring 1/3 cup of the cream just to a simmer, then stir into the gelatin mixture. Refrigerate, stirring frequently, until cool but not set, about 8 minutes.
In a chilled stainless steel bowl, beat the remaining whipping cream, icing sugar, vanillla and salt until it thickens slightly and soft peaks form. Very gradually add the gelatin mixture and continue beating until medium-firm peaks form (should be thick enough to spread). Keep covered and chilled until ready to use.
Place the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a medium heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering (not boiling) water. Stir the mixture using a rubber spatula until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and stir in liqueur and salt.
Cut your 3 cake layers each once horizontally with a long, serrated knife, so you have a total of 6 layers.
Place your first layer face-up on a plate and cover with an even thin layer of the Vanilla Cream Filling, taking it right to the edge. Place another cake layer face-up and spread another layer of the filling on top. Repeat until you come to your final cake layer, which you will place face-down. If you find the cake too soft and unstable, put in refrigerator for a few moments to firm it up, then resume.
Cover the entire cake gently with plastic wrap, and then, once covered, use your hands to carefully ensure the cake is lined up straight. Chill for at least 30 minutes.
Pour the warm chocolate glaze all over cake. Dig in.
[vanilla cream filling adapted from Bon Appetit Desserts]
- I used three 5 x 2 Inch Round Cake Pan for this cake. These pans are super cute and so handy for small layers cakes. It feels unnatural spending money on three of the same pan at first, but it’s so worth it if you like building multi-layer cakes.
- I used 72% Bittersweet Chocolate for my chocolate chips in the cake itself and the glaze, which really a dark and intense chocolate. You can use any premium dark or extra dark chocolate you might have on hand or prefer.
- I use this MAC Knife for all of my cake layering. It’s super sharp and makes clean cake layers, ideal for building not-so-crumby layer cakes.
- I recommend chilling the wrapped cake layers for about 30 minutes before slicing them to build the cake, and then chilling the filled cake (you can carefully cover with plastic wrap) for about an hour before covering with the glaze and eating. It’s not required, but if you find your cake is wobbly, this helps set the filling, keeping it more stable.
- Leftover cake (is there such a thing?) should be refrigerated, because of the whipped cream filling and served at room temperature. I love this chocolate cake because it stays unthinkably moist even after refrigeration.
- For the cake topper, I used this Tag Punch and cut from something similar to this Black Chalkboard Vinyl and then just trimmed the end for a plain rectangle. (The tag punch is also awesome for making these photo gift tags, among other fun ideas.)
Good luck & enjoy!