Friday, July 02, 2010

Diva Chocolate Cake

Diva Chocolate Cake
I had a lot of people express to me that they hoped I didn't have to make my own birthday cake, but these people are always treated to a look. A look that says, "I'm a baker, of COURSE I make my own birthday cake." This year I decided it needed to be a cake with so many different chocolate elements that it could only be called a diva chocolate cake. I think the only part that I imagined that didn't end up on it were chocolate curls, but I either ran out of time or wasn't sure they'd hold up well in the humidity and then in the fridge.

I pulled different elements for this cake from different cookbooks, then added a few twists of my own. The cake layers are based on the cake from the Devil's Food White-Out Cake in Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, although I used semisweet chocolate for the melted and added a bit of Grand Marnier to the batter. I loved her description of it, saying that it is good room temperature but that it gets fudgy when it is cold, so I thought it would be a great pairing with mousse between the layers, since it would spend some time in the fridge.

Diva Chocolate Cake Slice
The mousse is based on a recipe in A Passion for Baking, which has really become my go-to cookbook. But I didn't just want straight chocolate. Nathaniel and I were trying to say what we would pick for our favorite cold dessert ever, after watching the new show "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" on Food Network. We agreed that the milkshakes that we used to get at Coffee People, a northwestern coffee shop that no longer exists in the version that made ice cream and milkshakes to match its drinks. I used to order cappuccino borgia, which was mocha and orange and I've never been able to duplicate it, believe me, I've tried. Their velvet hammer was a very close second. If you went there during that era, I'm sure you know what I mean. But I decided to mirror the flavors of the cappuccino borgia milkshake in this mousse, by adding instant espresso and more Grand Marnier to the chocolate mixture before folding in the whipped cream.

After everything chilled I poured over a ganache and did a simple white chocolate design on top, topping everything with three chocolate covered strawberries. We had slices for my birthday, but I cut too generously, and neither of us could finish. This is a tiny-slice tasting cake, for certain. And it tastes even better after spending the night in the fridge!


Unknown said...

OMG this is gorgeous!! I am super impressed!

kristin said...

What a beautiful cake! I hope you had a wonderful birthday (at least we know the cake was divine). :)

Dorie said...

Happy Birthday! The cake looks great - love that it's layered with chocolate mousse. Very Diva.

Unknown said...

I'm with you on baking your own birthday cake- that way you get exactly what you want! This cake looks and sounds fantastic, and it's gorgeous!

Unknown said...

OMG this cake look beautiful and delicious

Gina Kelly said...

I love the white design on top - how did you do that?

Unknown said...

@Gina- I melted some white chocolate inside a ziploc bag in the microwave, cut a hole in the corner, and used it like a cake decorating bag.

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday!
It's so funny! I, too, wonder what do people think- do they expect me to get a cake from the grocery store? How is THAT celebrating? ;)
It looks wonderful!