Chocolate Cream Cake
I don’t generally need much of an excuse to make chocolate desserts. But, this is Valentine’s week, so chocolate is not only welcomed but expected.
When I first found this recipe, I was instantly enamored with all those chocolate-y layers. Just look at them! Really, what’s better to layer with chocolate than more chocolate?
We start with a simple, thin cake flavored with espresso. That’s topped with chocolate whipped cream and another thin layer of cake. Then, let’s just pour on even more chocolate with a rich topping.
The end result was as good as I had hoped. So. Much. Chocolate. As someone who is not a coffee fan, I’m happy to say that the flavor doesn’t come through in a big way. Instead, it’s a wonderful enhancer of all that chocolate.
Perhaps my favorite part of this cake is it’s texture. It’s so soft and smooth. I normally resist such clichés, but it melts in your mouth. It is truly a pleasure to eat.
If I can offer a word of warning, cutting this cake can be a bit of a messy proposition. The topping is much tougher to cut through than the rest of the cake, and it may tend to fall apart a bit. Just use a sharp knife and take your time.
Chocolate Cream Cake
Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 18 servings
For the cake:
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1/3 cup brewed espresso
- 6 large eggs, separated
- 2/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
- pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- unsweetened cocoa powder, for dusting
For the topping:
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup water
- 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the filling:
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons water
- 1 & 1/2 cups heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
To make the cake:
- Preheat oven to 375°. Grease an 18″x 12″ half-sheet pan. Line with parchment paper. Grease paper and dust with flour, tapping out excess.
- Place chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat at half-power in microwave in 30-second increments until chocolate melts when stirred.
- Add espresso to melted chocolate, and stir until smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.
- Using an electric mixer on high speed, beat egg yolks until pale (2 to 3 minutes). Reduce mixer speed to medium and gradually add 1/3 cup sugar.
- Increase mixer speed to high and continue beating until thick and pale (about 5 minutes). Reduce mixer speed to low, and add vanilla and chocolate mixture. Beat until blended.
- In a separate bowl, beat egg whites, cream of tartar, and salt at high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add 1/3 cup sugar, and continue beating until stiff and glossy.
- Stir flour into chocolate mixture. Carefully fold the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture.
- Spread the batter evenly in prepared pan.
- Bake 12 minutes, or until cake has risen and is slightly springy. Place pan on a wire rack to allow cake to cool completely.
- If necessary, run the top of a knife around the cake to loosen the edges. Sift cocoa powder over the surface of the cake.
- Cover the cake with wax paper, top with a large cutting board, and invert the cake. Remove the pan and parchment paper. Cut cake in half crosswise to form two rectangles.
- Chill cake 30 minutes, or until firm.
To make the topping:
- Place butter, sugar, and water in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- Remove from heat and add bittersweet and unsweetened chocolates. Allow to stand for 2 minutes. Then, add vanilla and stir until mixture is smooth.
- Allow to cool for 30 minutes, or until slightly thickened.
To make the filling:
- Place chocolate, butter, and water in a small saucepan. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until smooth and thoroughly combined. Transfer mixture to a small bowl and allow to cool.
- Using an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Sprinkle confectioners’ sugar and vanilla over cream. Continue beating until soft peaks form.
- Gently fold whipped cream into cooled chocolate mixture.
- Spread the filling over one half of the cake.* Place the other half of the cake, cocoa side up, on top of the filling. Press down lightly. Use an off-set spatula to smooth the edges.
- Pour the topping over the top of the cake. Gently spread the topping evenly over the top of the cake.
- Place cake in freezer for 4 hours or overnight.**
- Allow cake to sit at room temperature until soft enough to cut. Cut into squares and serve.
*It might not have the same presentation, but the cake can be assembled in a 9″x 13″ pan that’s freezer-safe. I found this to be the best approach for storing and transporting the cake.
**The cake can be frozen for up to 1 week.
Recipe slightly adapted from Food and Wine.