This beautiful cake is intensely chocolate-y and inspired by one of Pierre Herme's creations. It starts off with a chocolate cake base and is brushed with simple syrup, filled with a chocolate pudding layer and then topped with a luscious chocolate glaze. Adorn the top with some chocolate shards and you'll be sure to impress!
My birthday was yesterday (I am claiming to be 25, thankyouverymuch) and I wanted something chocolate. And fancy. Maybe I was getting inspired by Addie's Fancy Nancy books from the library, but a simple chocolate cake wasn't going to cut it this year. No siree, I wanted a knock-your-socks-off chocolate cake.
Enter this fancy chocolate cake from Dorie Greenspan. I know, I know. This cake sounds super hard to make since there are tons of parts and lots of directions below. It's not - I promise. In fact, each element of this cake can be made ahead of time so all you'll need to do is assemble it the day you want to serve it.
I made the simple syrup and chocolate chards on a Sunday. Then I made the filling the next day. I baked the cake and made the glaze a few days later, and then I finally assembled everything on another day. So if you have pockets of time here and there throughout your day, you can make this cake. Yes, you can!
I didn't get a chance to take a photo of the inside since we were rushed to head out town to celebrate with my friend E. My husband, Addie and I were able to try a piece before we left, and all that remained of our slices were the smears of chocolate on our faces. If we each could have dove head into the cake, we would have. The cake was dense, rich and very decadent. Addie even asked if I could bake this for her birthday next year.
If you have a celebration coming up and need a cake, try this one. All the chocoholics in your life will thank you. I'd recommend doubling the cake layer so you get a taller cake; otherwise, it will be very thin. Keep all the other components the same - just double the cake layer.
Carrement Chocolate, Dorie's fancy chocolate cake
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 3 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
- Pinch of salt
- 6 and 1/2 Tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, room temperature
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1 cup whole milk (I used 2%)
- 3 Tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
- 3 large egg yolks
- 2 and 1/2 Tablespoons cornstarch
- Pinch of salt
- 3 and 1/2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
- 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 and 1/2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 Tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 Tablespoons water
Make the cake (can be stored at room temperature for 1 day or wrapped and frozen up to 2 months): Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease and line (with a piece of parchment paper) an 8" round cake pan (I used a 10" round cake pan because that is all I own). Butter the sides of the pan and the top of the parchment paper.
Place the flour, baking powder and salt in a food processor and pulse several times until all the ingredients are well incorporated. Transfer to a bowl and set aside. Do not clean the food processor, as you'll need it in the next step.
Cut the butter into several slices and add it to the food processor. Add the sugar and eggs. Pulse a few times and then process for 6 (yes, you read that correctly) full minutes. Trust me on this. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add in the dry ingredients that you just set aside.
Transfer the batter to your prepared pan and bake in your preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the cake to cool for about 5-10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Make the chocolate shards (can covered and frozen for up to a month): Line a mini loaf pan (or a full-sized loaf pan if you don't own mini ones) with plastic wrap or waxed paper. Melt the chocolate (I zapped mine in the microwave for 25-30 seconds at a time; you can also use a double boiler but I am impatient). Add in the salt and stir until smooth and glossy. Pour the chocolate into your lined pan and put it in the freezer for at least 1 hour. The chocolate needs to be at least 1/2" thick and super cold and hard before you cut it.
Make the filling (can be covered and refrigerated for 2-3 days): In a medium saucepan, bring the milk and 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons of the sugar to a boil. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 and 1/2 Tablespoons of sugar plus the egg yolks, cornstarch and salt. The mixture should appear thick. Slowly drizzle about 1/4 cup of the hot of the boiling milk mixture into the egg yolk mixture and stir vigorously to temper the eggs. Slowly drizzle in the remaining milk and keep stirring. Transfer the mixture back into the saucepan over medium heat and keep stirring (do not stop or else the bottom will burn). Allow the mixture to come back to a boil or until it thickens up like a pudding.
Remove the pan from the heat and add in the melted chocolate and vanilla. Mix until everything is well blended. Transfer to a medium sized bowl and cover with plastic wrap (press it against the surface so it condensation won't form) and place it in the refrigerator to chill.
Make the simple syrup (can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 month): In a small saucepan, bring the water and sugar to a boil. Transfer to a container to refrigerator if you aren't using it immediately.
Make the glaze (can be done 5 days in advance and gently heated back to pouring/spreading consistency): Place the chocolate in a large heatproof measuring cup. In a small saucepan, bring the cream, sugar and water to a boil. Pour it into the cup with the chocolate and allow to sit for 30 seconds. Using a small whisk or spatula, stir vigorously until the mixture is uniform. Allow the glaze to sit for about 15 minutes to thicken slightly.
Assemble the cake (can be done 24 hours in advance): Place the cake on a wire rack and slice it in half (I baked two cakes and did not slice either in half). Drizzle half of the simple syrup on each half of the cake and use a brush to ensure you cover the cake entirely. Let the syrup soak in for a few minutes.
Place one cake layer on a plate. Spread the filling on top, making sure you get all the edges (some will likely ooze out). Add the final layer on top. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Cut the chocolate shards: Remove the frozen chocolate loaf from the freezer and place it on a cutting board. Cut the chocolate into odd-sized slivers or chunks. You most likely won't use all of the chocolate. Once cut, return it back to the freezer for a few minutes.
Finish the cake (can be done up to 24 hours in advance): Set the cake on top of a wire rack with a baking sheet underneath to catch any drips. Gently pour the glaze on top of the cake and using a spatula to push the glaze over the sides. Smooth the sides of the cake and don't worry about the top as much since you'll be covering it up.
Remove the chocolate shards from the freezer and arrange the shards on top of the cake. You can stick them into the cake like birthday cakes or simply lay them on top.
Refrigerate the cake for at least an hour to set. Slice and enjoy!
Yield: One 10" (very thin) cake, about 8-10 servings
Source: Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan