Just another single, polyglot, xenophilic, Texan in the kitchen...

Just another single, polyglot, xenophilic, Texan in the kitchen...

Chocolate Overload Cake

I’m an introvert. I’m a hermit. I don’t like to go to parties. Nevertheless, I was invited to what I thought was going to be a simple party for most of the ladies in the Spanish & Portuguese department of my university, but it turned out to be a bridal shower X 3/baby shower/farewell to departing colleagues/dancing fiesta instead haha.
We played a bunch of shower games such as wearing g-strings over our clothes (I placed my thong on my ears and under my chin hehe), dressing the two (out of 3) brides-to-be in toilet paper, placing condoms on big cucumbers, making and listening to marriage advice, etc. There was also a LOT of good food such as different types of salads, sandwiches, tamales (yum!), Challah bread, fondue, cream puffs, bacon-wrapped dates, etc. It was a fun party even for an introvert like me.
The main reason I originally agreed to go was because my friend/colleague, the host of the party, wanted me to make a chocolate cake for them. I was nervous about making a cake for everyone; it was my first time to do something like this.

I wanted my cake to be spectacular, so I thought of my chocolate mousse cheesecake (yes, I’m bringing this one up again) and made my own rendition of a Chocolate Overload Cake. All the components of the cake have been seen on my blog, but I’m going to post the recipes here along with process photos. Because of the over-abundance of chocolate, I decided to make vanilla bean ice cream to go with the cake. I doubled the recipe, so I used two vanilla beans in it. It was awesome. I’m not going to post the ice cream recipe here, but you can find it here. It is definitely my go-to recipe for vanilla bean ice cream.
My friends/colleagues were very impressed with the cake and ice cream. They kept asking me if I made the cake and if I’d made all of it. I had to keep saying, “YES YES YES!” hahah. They raved over it. I’m telling you, they were so loud and energetic throughout the party until they took the first bite of the cake. The talking stopped immediately; it sounded like I was in a library or something. LOL! Then they started telling me how good it was. The colleagues who have visited my blog started telling everyone about my blog. I felt so embarrassed. I wanted to just walk out because I don’t like a lot of attention on me. I guess I should have realized ahead of time that that would happen with this cake. It did evolve into something much better than I had imagined. My cake-decorating skills are slowly getting better. I definitely need more practice, but I was pretty proud of how this cake looked. (I also found out that I need practice in taking photos of non-food items. Almost all of my photos were blurry at the party.)

I had enough buttercream to cover the cake and make the (wimpy) rosettes, but I didn’t have enough to make a border at the bottom of the cake. The ganache dribbling down to the bottom of the cake helped a bit, though.
WHEN you make this cake, because you will hehe, eat the slice from the bottom to the top because the top is freaking orgasmically good! I love saving the best for last.

Hershey’s Perfectly Chocolate Cake
adapted by Hershey’s and found here on my blog
(this recipe is also on the back of the Hershey’s cocoa canister)

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY’S Cocoa (I used the dark cocoa this time)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk (I used whole milk)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water (I used 2 Tbsp espresso + 1 cup boiling water instead)

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans, and flip over onto wire racks. Cool completely. 10 to 12 servings.
Cut the top of the dome of the cake to make it even (My cake was too crooked, but it worked out fine). Then place the COOLED cake in a springform pan top-side down (see photos in the mousse recipe section below).

Mousse au chocolat/French Chocolate Mousse
adapted from Tyler Florence on Food Network and found here on my blog

6 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, chopped (I used Guittard this time; use good chocolate)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp espresso powder (added to intensify chocolate flavor, optional)
3 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream, cold (do not use half-frozen cream; the whipped cream will curdle)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

THE chocolate!If I don’t get my block of chocolate from the grocery store, I go to a baking supply store called All-In-One Bake Shop in Austin, TX. They have different types of Guittard chocolate in bulk. I think it is a better deal to buy big blocks of high-quality chocolate than to get little four-ounce, packaged chocolates at the grocery store. Also, Guittard (or Callebaut, my other favorite) is a better quality of chocolate than the more common type in the store. Of course, there are other fantastic brands. Callebaut and Guittard are my favorites, though. I used up almost all of this chocolate in this Chocolate Overload Cake! WHOA!

Place the chopped chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl, and place over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler). Melt the chocolate and butter together and stir with a whisk until smooth. Add in the espresso powder. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add the egg yolks to the chocolate, 1 by 1, beating with a whisk until incorporated. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar, and continue to beat. Gradually whisk in 1/4 cup sugar, and continue beating until stiff peaks form.Top: Egg whites; Bottom: Heavy cream

Beat heavy cream in a chilled bowl with chilled beaters until it begins to foam and thicken up. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and vanilla. Continue to whip the cream until it holds soft peaks.

Gradually and gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Then, delicately fold in the whipped cream. Take care not over work the mousse, but make sure you blend in the cream well.
Place the mousse on top of the first layer of cooled cake while still in the springform pan. Add the other cake layer. Add the other half of the mousse to the top layer. Flash freeze the cake for 1 hour and then cover with clear wrap to let freeze for 3 more hours or overnight.

Top left: cake pan turned upside down to release cake into springform. Other photos are of the layering process. I could have cut one layer of cake in half, but I wanted a tall cake. You could make this cake a four-layer cake, but I didn’t want that responsibility haha. As you can see, just the first layer of cake went over the rim of the springform pan. Also, the cake was smaller than the pan, but it worked out fine.

Prepare the buttercream below, and refrigerate it if doing it ahead of time. If not, make it the day you’ll be eating the cake.

Chocolate Buttercream
from the Daring Baker’s Dobos Torte. Recipe copied from PastryPal

4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Guittard semi-sweet chocolate)
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, Dutch-processed
1 1/4 cups (125 g) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fill a pot with water, bring to a boil, and place a larger bowl filled with the chocolate over it. It will melt gently.Let the chocolate cool to lukewarm on the side. Meanwhile, beat the butter until completely smooth. Add cocoa powder and beat in. Sift the powdered sugar directly over the bowl and beat that in. Next, in goes the vanilla and the melted chocolate. Mix together, and place a crumb coating on the cake. Refrigerate or freeze the cake for 30 mins-1 hour. Then, add another coat of frosting.

I apologize for the awful photos. At least you can see what I did here. I scraped the sides of the cake because of the mousse peaking out of the cake layers. Once I evened out the sides, I was able to add a crumb coating of buttercream. After refrigerating the cake (and preferably the frosting as well), I added the second layer of buttercream.

If you want to do a lot of decorating with his frosting, I suggest making another half portion of this frosting or doubling it.

Espresso Ganache
adapted from allrecipes.com and found here on my blog

1/2 cup heavy cream
4.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Guittard semi-sweet)
1-2 tsp espresso powder (optional)
1 Tbsp dark rum (I used vanilla extract instead)

Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Heat it up just BEFORE it boils. Place the cream over the bowl of chopped chocolate. Stir the mixture until smooth. Stir in the espresso powder and rum or vanilla extract. Allow the ganache to cool for about 15 minutes before pouring the mixture on top of the buttercream.

The process of making ganache.

Save the rest of the ganache for decorations (if you whip the ganache when it’s cold, you can pipe a beautiful decoration) or save it for something else.

I totally need to learn how to take photos that don’t include food and in low-light situations like this party. That is my next project…work on non-food photography. My party photos look awful and shaky. I realize now that I should have increased the ISO.
Copyright – Memoria James – http://www.mangiodasola.com

Memoria James

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