The Five Chocolates Chocolate Cake
Wrapped boxes, colorful bags and cards hinting at treasure. Bows of all sizes, ribbons of all colors and eager smiles wrap gifts and faces. Excited fingers carefully slice open envelopes. Scanning eyes pretend to read notes of celebration, the imagination still guessing what hides behind carefully constructed presents. With the card read, its usefulness long gone, I toss it off to the side carelessly letting it fall to the ground.
“Can I open the present now?” a young me would inquire. “Thank your grandmother for the nice card first, Russell,” my mother would insist. “Thanks grandma. Can I open the present now?”
A smirk from my parents was all I needed. My small hands rip into the first gift. Another card read and another gift ripped open. A pile of shredded, shiny wrapping paper litters the ground at my small feet wrapped in velcro shoes–laces far to complicated for my five year old self. I neglect guests to play with my booty from the day.
Birthdays evolve. Piles of gifts shrink. The value of gifts increase. Puzzles and coloring books become video games and movies. Video games become computers and cell phones. Model cars become real cars. Soon favorite books, mementos hinting at an inside joke and carefully constructed cards become the norm. Less paper to rip to shreds, excitement still abounds.
One thing never changes. Cake. Favorite flavors evolve, shapes and designs mature but there is always cake waiting. After wrapping is shredded, toys played with, the first ever call made, or first ever drive around the block, cake is waiting.
This weekend I celebrated two birthdays. First, for my best friend and business partner, Alicia and second, my father. Even though one is on a carb-free diet and the other out of town, I decided cake was still in order. They may not have had any but I made sure to enjoy a slice or two for them. So, happy birthday Alicia! Happy birthday dad! I hope you like this cake I baked you, because I sure did!
This five chocolates chocolate cake is all about chocolate. Cocoa powder, milk chocolate, semi sweet chocolate, dark chocolate, and white chocolate make an appearance in it. If you love chocolate, there is little doubt you will love this trek into chocolate. As a kid my favorite was without a doubt milk chocolate–I would never dare touch dark chocolate–, but tastes change over time. Now I love savoring a bar of 80% cocoa and I adore putting chunks of 100% cocoa in my cookies. This cake has a mix of it all. The cake is chocolatey, moist and sweet. The dark chocolate filling is rich and chocolatey. The milk chocolate frosting is sweet and creamy. The super dark chocolate ganache is decadently rich. On top I’ve sprinkled white chocolate shavings to add a little sweetness. With each bite you get layers of chocolate on chocolate on more delicious, perfect chocolate.
If you don’t want to do the three different icings you can pick one and just use that one. This cake will work with your favorite icing too if you want a classic buttercream or a raspberry icing. While there are quite a few steps, each process is fairly simple. If you choose to make each of the three icings, then it will take some time and you’ll want to make it in a certain order. First prepare and bake the cake layers. Slice each cake layer into two–leaving four total layers–and cool completely while preparing the filling and icing. Spread the dark chocolate filling between the layers and ice the cake with the milk chocolate frosting. Lastly, prepare the chocolate ganache topping and spread that over the top of the iced cake. Refrigerate the cake to set the ganache. Avoid making the cake, filling, frosting and ganache all ahead of time as the ganache will harden and so could the frosting.
1 pound (2 cups plus 2 1/2 tablespoons) sugar
3 ounces (1 cup) good unsweetened cocoa powder
6 ounces (1 1/4 cup) bread flour
7 ounces (1 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon) cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup freshly brewed strong coffee
10 ounces (2 1/2 sticks) butter, melted
1. Preheat an oven to 350°F. Line the bottom of two 9 inch cake pans with parchment paper then butter and flour both pans.
2. Sift the dry ingredients together (sugar, cocoa, flours, baking powder and soda, and salt) and mix. Set aside.
3. Beat the eggs for a minute. Add the buttermilk, sour cream and vanilla and mix until homogeneous.
4. Add the dry ingredients to the egg mixture and mix until combined and there are no lumps.
5. Add the melted butter and brewed coffee. Mix until fully blended in.
6. Pour the batter between the prepared pans. Bake in a preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs still attached (but not wet). Mine baked 37 minutes.
7. Remove from the oven and let cook in the pans. Remove from the pan and let cool completely before icing.
Since the dark chocolate and milk chocolate frosting and filling are made with the same base, I’ve prepare one recipe below for both so you can prepare both at the same time. If you just want one flavor you can skip the steps that call for separating the chocolate.
Dark Chocolate Filling and Milk Chocolate Frosting
4 ounces good milk chocolate, chopped
6 ounces good semi sweet chocolate, chopped (separated in half)
4 ounces good dark chocolate (60 or 70% cocoa), chopped
1 pound 4 ounces unsalted (5 sticks) butter
1 pound (4-5 cups) powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 cup cream
1. Bring a small pot of water to a simmer. Place 4 ounces milk chocolate and 3 ounces semi sweet chocolate in a large glass or metal bowl. Place the 4 ounces dark chocolate and the remaining 3 ounces semi sweet chocolate in a separate large bowl.
2. Place one of the bowls over the pot of simmering water and stir the chocolate until it is melted and smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and set aside.
3. Repeat step 2 with the other bowl of chocolate.
4. In a bowl of a stand mixer, or a separate bowl, beat the butter for 3 minutes until light and fluffy. Add the powdered sugar mix until incorporated and smooth. Add the cream and vanilla and mix until blended in.
5. Split the butter and sugar mixture amongst the two bowls of chocolate. Place 60% of the mixture in the milk chocolate bowl and the remaining 40% of the mixture in the dark chocolate bowl.
6. Keeping the two frostings separate, mix each until the chocolate and butter mixture are blended. Don’t over mix or whip–you want to avoid incorporating air. Add more powdered sugar and mix until blended if the frosting looks too thin. You can add a little cream if the frosting looks too thick.
7. Divide the dark chocolate filling into three equal portions and place between each layer of cake.
8. Use the milk chocolate frosting to frost the cake. Try doing a thin crumb layer of frosting first–use just enough to cover the cakethough you will see some cake poking through–refrigerate for 10 to 30 minutes to let this thin layer harden, then apply the rest of the icing. This will help keep crumbs from pulling up during the icing part.
The last step will be to prepare the ganache. I suggest putting the iced cake in the fridge while you prepare the ganache.
Super Dark Chocolate Ganache
1 cup heavy cream
2 ounces good 100% cocoa bar, chopped
4 ounces good dark chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped
3 ounces good semi dark chocolate (60% cocoa), chopped
1. Place all the chopped chocolate in a metal or glass bowl. Set aside.
2. Bring the cream to a boil in a small sauce pan. Remove from the heat and let all the bubbles settle. Once the cream has cooled slightly, but is still steaming, pour it into the bowl with the chocolate.
3. Whisk the cream and chocolate mixture until completely smooth.
4. Let the ganache cool slightly before pouring over the cake. Starting at the center of the top of the cake add a little at a time and use a frosting spatula to control the flow of the ganache.
5. Refrigerate the cake for a while to let the ganache set.
After the cake has chilled, you can shave white chocolate to sprinkle on top and around the bottom.
Yes there is two pounds of butter in this recipe and yes there is over 2 pounds of sugar in this recipe. I don’t claim to be a healthy blog so you may want to make this a once-a-year cake. That or invite a lot of friends over to help you enjoy it. Enjoy!