Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Triple Chocolate Cake - The Perfect Stress Relief!

This is the ultimate cake for the chocoholic in your life - dark chocolate cake flavored just a bit with espresso and cinnamon, with a white chocolate mousse filling, and topped with sour cream chocolate icing. Oh my!

Not that this cake didn't cause me just a little stress. The cakes were the easy part - in and out of the oven no problem. The white chocolate mousse however was too soft (I think I may have followed the directions a bit wrong) and when I stacked the cakes with the filling it started to slip and slide all over the place. I quickly and carefully got the cake into the refrigerator, staightened it up as much as possible, and left it to chill while I worked on the icing. Fortunately, the kids spent the night at Grammy's the night before and were waiting at the party location already - no kids underfoot for this project - thank goodness!

The refrigeration definitely helped, but it wasn't totally fixing the problem so I pulled out the cake dowels I bought with the hopes of baking a tiered cake someday. Panicking a bit at this point, I yelled upstairs to Mark and asked him to please cut the dowels to size (like RIGHT NOW!) and after hearing some loud power tool in the basement, he produced perfect supports for my cake (I slid them right down into the cake). Thanks Hunny!

Even after all that, the icing I had now made wasn't at all stiff enough to frost the cake. With my experience with ganache-type icing, I knew it would need time to cool in order to thicken. With just an hour or so before we had to leave for the party, I placed the frosting in the refrigerator and stirred every 15 minutes until it was thick enough to coat the cake - and well, it almost got too thick! (read: more stress!) The timing was a little tricky and the recipe wasn't helping me out in that department. Well, as you can see, the cake made it through the assembly process. But I knew the hardest part was yet to come - the part people don't usually think about when making a cake - which is the transportation - the car ride was 40 minutes to our destination. Mark drove the car while I held the cake on my lap and acted as a human gimbal to keep the cake from toppling over. We (the cake, and Mark and I) made it to the party without incident. Whew!

Now I don't know about you, but when I'm feeling stressed, I eat some chocolate! So we sang Happy Birthday and ate the cake and I felt perfectly calm and satisfied! This cake was absolutely incredible and provided yet another learning experience! Happy Birthday Lisa!

OK, so the kids are tired of me having more photos of food on my camera card than I do of them! They snuck right into this picture and I love it!

Lisa's birthday cake complete with candles. And no one was the wiser!

One year ago: Roasted Plum Cakes

Triple Fudge Cake
from Sky High by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne
Makes a 9-inch triple layer cake, Serves 16-20

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 1/2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup milk
1 1/4 cups hot, strongly brewed coffee
2 eggs
1 cup real mayonnaise
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans, line the bottoms with parchment and spray the parchment with cooking spray.
2. Brew the strong coffee. While the coffee is brewing, sift together the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and cinnamon and set aside.
3. Put the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl. Bring the milk to a simmer. Pour the hot coffee and milk over the chocolate and let stand for a minute. Then whisk the mixture until smooth and set aside to cool slightly.
4. In a mixer bowl, beat together the eggs, mayonnaise, and vanilla until well blended. Gradually beat in the sugar. Add the dry ingredients and mocha liquid alternately in 2 or 3 additions, beating until smooth and well blended. Divide the batter among the 3 cake pans.
5. Bake for 25-28 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out almost clean. (I also lightly press a finger on top of the cake and if it springs back, it's done.) Let the cakes cool in their pans on wire racks for 10-15 minutes. Unmold onto racks; carefully peel off the parchment and let cool completely, at least one hour.
6. To assemble the cake, place one layer on a cake stand. Cover the top evenly with half the White Chocolate Mousse, leaving a 1/4 -inch margin around the edge. Repeat with the second layer and the remaining mousse. Set the third layer on top and pour half the Sour Cream Chocolate Icing over the filled cake. Spread all over the sides and top. Don't worry if some of the cake shows through. Refrigerate, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes to allow the icing to set. Cover the rest of the icing and set aside at room temperature.
7. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining icing, which should have the consistency of mayonnaise. If the icing is too soft, chill briefly. If it is too stiff, microwave on high for just 2-3 seconds to soften, then stir to mix well. Use an offset spatula to swirl the frosting around the cake.

White Chocolate Mousse
makes 1 1/2 cups

4 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
1 egg white
1 Tablespoon sugar

1. Melt the white chocolate with 1/4 cup of the cream in a double boiler. Whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool to room temperature.
2. After the chocolate has cooled, beat the remaining heavy cream in a clean bowl until soft peaks form. In another clean bowl, whip the egg white with the sugar until fairly stiff peaks form.
3. Fold the beaten egg white into the white chocolate cream, then fold in the whipped cream just until blended. Err on the side of undermixing. (Chill the mousse in the refrigerator if too soft.)

Sour Cream Chocolate Icing
makes 2 1/2 cups

12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/4 cup half and half, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream, at room temperature.

1. Melt the chocolate with the butter and corn syrup in a double boiler over barely simmering water or in a heavy pan over very low heat. Remove from the heat and whisk until smooth.
2. Whisk in the half and half and sour cream. [Use while soft for first layer of icing (crumb coat). Then allow to cool and thicken until the icing is a spreadable consistency for second frosting layer.]


  1. This looks incredible! I would love if I had this as my birthday cake.

  2. Hubby and I were just talking about chocolate cake earlier today. This would sure hit the spot. Thanks

  3. wow--it looks fantastic, and definitley worth all that effort! a perfect birthday cake!

  4. Im 13 and ny mom turned 41 She loved and so did my family thanks i recomened it

  5. This cake is so moist.. my daughter can't stop eating it. Recommended to any hesistant moms out there.


  6. Hi!

    just stumbled across your blog from tastespotting. love it!! right now i am checking out your cakes. they are awesome! had to comment on this one because the EXACT same thing happened to me with this exact same cake! i have sky high and love it, but also had problems with the mousse filling. WAY too soft! i don't think you did anything wrong. if it happened to both of us, it must be the recipe. and i had to laugh because i also found myself with sliding layers, a few dowels in the house, and pleas to my husband to cut them to size immediately!! :-) a few seconds and the sound of a power tool later, he handed me perfectly sized dowels to save the day! hubbies are the best!!

    now i'm off to check out the rest of your cakes!

  7. Well, I was on tastespotting and I found another one of your cakes (the chocolate ckae with malt chocolate frosting). You said this cake was better, and my goodness! It was amazing!
    A little challenging to make because I encountered some problems with the frosting and mousse, but it all turned out well and my parents and siblings LOVED the cake.
    It turned out to be the perfect cake for my Mother's surprise birthday party.
    I plan on looking through the other recipies on your blog to see if the rest of your cakes measure up to this one! (:

    Thank you for this great recipe!

  8. Tracey - I can't believe the same thing happened to you! I prefer my hubby to stay out of the kitchen - until I need dowels!!

    Kayleigh - it seems the too-soft mousse is a recurring theme with this cake, but I'm so glad you liked it! It's one of my more popular recipes!

    Thanks for all the lovely comments!



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