I am going to share with you something I am very proud of. I have been thinking for a long while what to call it. Chocolate comes in three distinct forms (four if you count the pirouettes) in this elegant cake. It is decadent, rich, moist and very delicious. If you don't like chocolate, this is definitely not for you. I thought of my friend, Barb when making this because I know she, too, loves chocolate. :)
This cake was for a New Years Eve party. There was going to be a dessert competition and I wanted to show off my best. Chocolate was not just an option, it had to be the main attraction. And so I came up with this lovely chocolate concotion.
While there was no official voting, I do think that this cake would have, stick with me here, taken the cake. Ha! With two layers of homemade Devil's Food cake, homemade dark chocolate mousse and a delicious chocolate ganache encompassing the entire thing, how could anyone go wrong?
When you make this cake yourself, you can certainly use a store bought cake mix, but I really think the mousse and the ganache need to be homemade to get the best flavor. As for the Pirouettes, they are optional. You can definitely leave the cake as is with the ganache, however, I haven't met a single person that doesn't like Pirouettes. Plus, they come in a few different flavors, something for everybody.
My chocolate mousse is very good. I have made it so many times for so many reasons and everybody loves it. It does use uncooked egg whites, so get your eggs from someplace you trust, and try to make sure they are very fresh. (Save those yolks for zabaglione or chocolate lava cakes!) The recipe is also versatile in that you can use the good baking chocolate, or half of a normal sized bag of chocolate chips.
The ganache is super easy to put together and oh so good. Chill it and pipe into eclairs, or warm up and put over vanilla ice cream.
First make the cake, since it needs to cool completely. Once it has cooled, trim up the tops if they aren't very flat. I just left mine as is, a little rounded-ness never hurt anyone.
While those cakes are cooling, make the ganache. Put one cup of the finished ganache into the fridge to firm up. Leave the rest out at room temperature.
Once the cakes are cool, make the chocolate mousse. This recipe makes about twice as much as you need. However, if you decide to make a triple decker cake (double the cake batter recipe and split it between 3 pans) the extra mousse will come in handy. Hubby and I just ate the rest of it as is.
Homemade Devil's Food Cake
(recipe modified off of the Softasilk box)
1 c. sugar
1 stick, unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/4 c. cake flour (I like Softasilk)
1/2 c. dutch processed cocoa powder, or unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. + 2 tbl. buttermilk
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2 9-inch round cake pans.
Beat together the first three ingredients, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until light and fluffy. Mix in the egg until completely incorporated. Combine in another bowl the cake flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Beat the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk into the butter. Scrape down the bowl and beat for another minute to get it nice and smooth.
Divide the batter between the two pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Flip the cakes gently onto cooling racks and allow to cool completely.
Dark Chocolate Mousse
6 ounces dark chocolate (or whatever chocolate you have on hand)
1 1/2 c. heavy cream
3 egg whites
2 tbl. sugar
Melt the chocolate in a microwave safe bowl, and then leave out while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Whisk the heavy cream in a chilled mixer bowl until stiff peaks form. Set aside until needed.
Put the egg whites in a very clean mixer bowl. Any little fat molecules will prevent the whites from holding up as a meringue. Whisk together until soft peaks form. With the mixer on, slowly add the sugar and continue beating until stiff peaks form.
Here is where you have to work fast. Quickly whisk one quarter of the whipped cream into the chocolate. If you don't work fast enough, the chocolate will just cool and harden. (in which case, pop in the microwave for 5-10 seconds and try again. Once that is all nice and incorporated, carefully fold in the egg whites and the remaining whipped cream. Refrigerate until ready to use. Store in an airtight container in the fridge.
Semisweet Chocolate Ganache
(recipe slighty adjusted from the book, Death by Chocolate)
1 c. heavy cream
2 tbl. unsalted butter
2 tbl. granulated sugar
12 ounces semisweet chocolate (1 bag or 2 cups of chocolate chips)
Heat together the heavy cream, butter and sugar in a small saucepan over a lower heat. Stir together until everything is incorporated, but do not allow to boil. Put the chocolate into a medium sized bowl and pour the cream over top. Allow this to stand for 5 minutes, then gently stir until smooth. Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature. (Any leftover should be refrigerated)
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