Happy almost Monday you beautiful badass bakers!
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “Happy almost Monday?” Sounds like the oxymoron to end all oxymorons what with “happy” and “Monday” being so close together and all. But when a Monday involves copious amounts of chocolaty cake goodness, I’m pretty sure it qualifies as a “good” Monday.
About a month ago I asked my husband what kind of cake he wanted for his birthday, which resulted in a week long deluge of daily updates on potential cake flavors. He ran the gambit of flavors… everything from fruity to sweet and syrupy and ever possible flavor in between. But one day he came to me, a determined look on his face and requested a chocolate cake.
Wait, wait, wait. Stop the phone. “Yesterday you requested a cake with 5 flavors in it, and you’re telling me you’ve made your mind up for plain ol’ chocolate?” Mischievous look in his eye he replied, “Oh no. Not plain ol’ chocolate. ALL the chocolate. More layers of chocolate than any one person should be able to handle. I’m not requesting any ol’ chocolate cake. I’m requesting THE CHOCOLATE CAKE TO END ALL CHOCOLATE CAKES.”
I know, he might have a slight flair for the dramatic but we can just add “food-related dramatic flair” to the long list of the many reasons I love him.
So, chocolate cake to end all chocolate cakes? CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
I see your chocolate cake… And raise you chocolate italian meringue buttercream frosting, coarsely chopped crunch bars between the layers, a dark chocolate ganache drip, and more chocolate candies than your stomach can handle!
- 1 cup boiling water
- 2 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup vegetable oil
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 1½ cups all purpose flour
- 1½ tsp. baking soda
- ½ tsp. baking powder
- 2 oz special dark chocolate baking cocoa
- 2 oz baking cocoa
- 400 g granulated sugar
- ½ cup water
- 8 egg whites
- 1 lb unsalted butter, cold
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 12 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips + 1 oz extra for decorating
- 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 4 oz heavy cream
- Assorted chocolates
- To make the cake, pour the boiling water over the chocolate chips, and whisk until smooth. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whip the eggs until light and frothy. Add the vegetable oil and continue whipping until completely incorporated. Add the sugar, buttermilk, and water/chocolate mixtures, and whisk until just combined. Gently fold in the flour, baking soda, and baking powder with a spatula until the batter is lump free. Divide the batter evenly between two bowls. Fold 2 oz special dark chocolate baking cocoa to one, and 2 oz regular baking cocoa to the other.
- Divide the came batter evenly between four 6" cake pans (if you have a kitchen scale, it's about 1lb cake batter per pan), and bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Once the pans are cool enough to handle, transfer the cakes to plastic wrap, and refrigerate until cool and firm.
- While the cakes bake, heat the heavy cream and chocolate for the ganache in the microwave until hot (about 30 seconds). Gently stir with a spatula (a whisk will create too many air bubbles) until smooth. Set aside to cool.
- To make the frosting, stir together the water and granulated sugar in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Boil until completely clear. While the syrup boils, whip the egg whites in a stand mixer until stiff. With the mixer on high, slowly pour the hot syrup down the side of your bowl and into the egg whites. Whip until the mixture and bowl cool to room temperature. With the mixer on low again, add pieces of butter until all the butter has been added. Add the vanilla extract. Increase the speed to high and whip until a smooth frosting forms. Melt the 12 oz chocolate chips and gently fold the chocolate into the frosting.
- Once the cakes are cool, level the tops if necessary. Using the frosting, begin stacking your layers of cake and filling between the layers. If you want to make your cake extra decadent, add some coarsely chopped chocolate candy between your layers. Coat the top and sides of the cake with a thin layer of frosting (a crumb coat) and allow to set in the refrigerator (about 15 minutes, or until the frosting is firm). Frost the top and sides of the cake with a generous helping of frosting, smoothing the frosting with an offset spatula or bench scraper. Melt the remaining 1 oz of chocolate chips and add dollops here and there to the frosting to create some contrast with the rest of the frosting. Smooth with an offset spatula or bench scraper. Allow to set in the refrigerator until the frosting is firm (about 15-20 minutes).
- Once your frosting is firm, it's time to add the ganache! Microwave the ganache in 5 second increments until it reaches a thin, spreadable consistency (it shouldn't be warm). Using an offset spatula, spread a thin layer of ganache out to the edges of the cake. Pour the remaining ganache into a piping bag, and moving around the edge of the cake, create drips down the side.
- Top with an assortment of chopped and whole chocolates.