This week for Tuesdays with Dorie, Dharmagirl of bliss: towards a delicious life chose Tarte Noire on page 351. What, you ask, is a tarte noir? It is a rich chocolate ganache poured into a tart shell and served with a diet book. Ganache, made of chocolate and cream, is the luscious concoction used to make chocolate truffles.
I was looking forward to making this, but when the time came, I had a rare, irrepressible urge to eat cake. Now, I may get that urge once a year; unlike my spouse, Master Chow, I am not a fan of cake. So, I decided to make ganache, and put it on a cake. A luscious, moist, decadent cake. I turned to one of my favorite blogs, Smitten Kitchen, for a recipe that I had bookmarked a while ago.
The result? Extraordinary. Truly, truly extraordinary. It puts all other chocolate layer cakes to shame, although the Chocolate Stout cake is definitely in the same league.
Here is what I did and some advice, as well. Instead of two, 10-inch pans, I used three, 8-inch pans to end up with a three layer cake. The ganache was so rich, however, that I don’t think I will do that again; two layers is plenty, and if I make three layers, I’m going to use a jam or a chocolate pudding or mousse to fill some of the layers. Instead of buttermilk, I used low fat kefir (a liquid yogurt), and that worked really well.
Use top quality chocolate. Trust me. I used a combination of Valrhona, Callebaut, and some bits of Guittard that I had laying about.
You MUST freeze the layers before you frost them. The cake is so tender that if you try to frost it with unfrozen cake layers, they WILL fall apart, so plan ahead. Just double wrap the layers in plastic wrap and pop them into your freezer until they are good and hard. They will that while you are frosting the cake.
I also recommend that you place the bottom layer on a foil-covered cake round, then put strips of wax paper UNDER the round between the round and the serving plate. The cake layers are so delicate that when I removed my wax paper strips, I tore up the bottom of the cake, as you can see here:
This cake, with the aforementioned modifications is on the repeat list. It was amazing, and one of the few chocolate cakes that I’ve ever had that did not disappoint. Recipe below the jump, but be sure to visit Dharmagirl for the Tarte Noir recipe, and the TWD blogroll to see what others made!
Double Chocolate Layer Cake
Adapted from Gourmet, March 1999
The recipe below is for 2 10-inch layers or 3 8-inch layers coated in chocolate ganache. If you make three layers and you want chocolate ganache between each layer, you will have to multiply the ganache recipe by 1.5.
For cake layers
3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (the original recipe says not to use Dutch process but I did use Pernigotti cocoa, which IS Dutch processed, and had great results)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk (I used kefir)
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
For ganache frosting and filling (If you want to just use it for frosting on a two layer cake, halve the recipe. If you want to use it between every layer of a three layer cake, multiply by 1.5)
1 pound fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup or glucose (I used glucose)
1/2 stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
Special equipment: two 10- by 2-inch round cake pans or three 8- by 2-inch round cake pans.
Make cake layers: Preheat oven to 300°F. and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.
Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well.
Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes. These are just guidelines! Cooking time will vary based on the size and number of cake pans that you use, so keep a close eye on your oven.
Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Double wrap each layer in plastic wrap and freeze. When you frost the cake, the layers MUST be frozen solid.
Make frosting: Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.
Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency). Stirring this over a bowl of ice water cools it off quickly and evenly.
Spread frosting between cake layers and over top and sides. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.