Introduction

This is a recipe cake for all occasions. You can decorate it according to the occasion: birthdays, Christmas and in general any celebration! Everyone loves a chocolate cake right?

Materials

For the sponge
  • 60g cocoa powder
  • 250ml boiling water
  • 60g dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 225g unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
  • 275g light muscovado sugar
  • 2x eggs plus 2x yolks, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 4x tablespoons of crème fraîche
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • pinch of salt
For the filling
  • 200g of dark chocolate, finely chopped
  • 125ml double cream
  • 60g of pasteurised egg whites (=2x egg whites), at room temperature
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 450g unsalted butter in cubes, soft at room temperature
For the cream cheese frosting
  • 115g unsalted butter, soft at room temperature
  • 500g of icing sugar
  • 450g of cream cheese
  • tiny amount of blue food colouring paste

Method

Preheat the oven at 180oC/fan and grease 3x 20cm springform cake tins with butter and line them with baking paper. I made five layers here but three are more than enough. If you also want to make more than three, scale the recipe accordingly.

Sift the cocoa into a bowl and add the boiling water, whisking constantly. When the cocoa is all melted and smooth add the chocolate and whisk until it is melted too. Set aside to cool.

Sift the muscovado sugar (tends to make lumps). Then in a bowl of a mixer, add the butter and cream it with the balloon whisk attachment. Gradually add the sifted sugar in a low speed. Once it is all incorporated, scrape the sides and whisk on high power until the mixture looks pale and fluffy, about 4-5 minutes.

Put the eggs and the yolks into a separate bowl, add the vanilla extract and mix. Then gradually add the egg mixture (approx. one tablespoon at a time) into the butter mixture beating well after each addition.

Take the bowl away from the mixer and add the cooled chocolate mix and start folding with a spatula. Add the crème fraîche and sift in the flour and the salt. Fold everything together with the spatula (do not use the mixer!)

Divide the mixture into the three tins using a scale to make sure it is divided equally. Bake for 25min. At the end of the time, take out the cakes and let them cool on a wire rack.

While the sponges are cooling, make the filling. Heat the double cream until just boiling, then withdraw from the heat and pour it over the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Let to stand for a couple of minutes and then stir, until the chocolate is melted.

Make a meringue with the egg whites. Add them in a mixer bowl and with the whisk attachment start in low speed and then gradually increase to high speed. When you have soft peaks add the caster sugar gradually (one tablespoon at a time) until you have a stiff peaks. Then gradually add the soft butter, a cube at a time, and whisk after each addition. Once all the butter is in, whisk for a couple of minutes until fluffy.

Lastly, add the cooled chocolate mix and whisk for a couple of minutes until a light mousse consistency, making soft peaks when lifted. You have to be careful as it has to have a spreadable consistency but the mousse is going to get solid if left at room temperature or in the fridge. If that happens add a bit more of lukewarm double cream to bring it back to a spreadable consistency.

Make the cream cheese frosting. Add the butter into the bowl of a mixer with the whisk balloon attachment and cream it (=pale and fluffy). Add half the icing sugar and beat until combined (start with a low setting, otherwise you will have an icing sugar cloud in your kitchen :)). Add the cream cheese and the rest of the sugar until combined. Be careful not to overmix, as the cheese is going to get too soft for frosting. If that happens, put the mix in the fridge until it gets a bit firmer.

Lastly, divide the filling into four equal amounts is you make five layers or two if you make three layers. I would use a scale just to make sure. Then start the assembly starting with a sponge, filling, sponge.. and finish with a sponge. Then crumb coat your cake i.e. cover the cake with some cream cheese frosting to just cover the cake but not too much. Then put the cake and the rest of the frosting in the fridge until the layer is cold (approx 10-15min). Then finish the frosting with the rest of the cream cheese. You can colour it if you want at this stage. I added a tiny amount of blue paste food colouring and got this mint colour.

You can decorate your cake as you like. Here, I have decorated it with some gingerbread houses and roll icing Christmas trees to give it a festive look!

Discussion

As always I try to reduce the sugar in the recipes especially for cakes as I think that the majority of the recipes account for a very sweet taste. I reduce the sugar amounts by 50gr usually and haven’t seen any adverse effects on the structure of the cakes.

This is a special chocolate cake. The sponges are like brownies and the filling is basically a chocolate mousse! The cream cheese frosting brings everything together, with some tanginess and freshness.

It will require some time, especially if you go big, but is worth it!

References-Inspirations

Mile-High Cake recipe adapted from: Linda Collister ‘Bake it better, Classic Cakes’

Cream Cheese Frosting adapted from Kim-Joy: ‘Baking with Kim-Joy’ (2019), p60

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