Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Dark Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Cream and Chocolate Ganache

This year for the birthday of my Mother Dearest I decided to surprise her with a few of her favorite flavors: dark chocolate, fruit, and coffee.

Earlier that evening I won a bag of Sweetwater coffee at a Fair Trade event. Yeah! This cake is made with 1 cup of strong coffee (not including the espresso I added to the ganache). I made 6 cups. I like to be thoroughly caffeinated.

For the chocolate cake I adapted this recipe from Ina Garten by doubling it and adding a touch of Chambord and Godiva Liqueur.

Look at those layers!

I found that the easiest way to create the ganache layers evenly was to let each layer chill in the same sized pan I used for the cake. Easy peasy.

My basic formula for ganache is one pound of chocolate to one cup of heavy cream. Alter the amount of cream depending on how solid you want it to be at room temperature. For a decadently silky ganache, I add a small pat of butter after all of the chocolate has melted and become glossy. I used dark chocolate and added Chambord and espresso.

I added freshly pureed and strained raspberries to the raspberry cream, as well as a splash of Grand Marnier.

To make so many layers, I like to bake as many as the recipe recommends then slice as needed. I have tried making each layer individually, but find that cutting down larger rounds keeps the cake moist.

This slightly indented plate does the trick :)

After all the layers are assembled I applied a "crumb coat" to the cake. I wanted the contrast of simple white buttercream frosting to the intensely dark cake. Spread a small portion of frosting over the entire cake, then chill for 5-10 minutes.

Ugly! Once the crumb coat is chilled, apply the real coat.

Much better.

At this point of being intensely caffeinated, exhausted, and near diabetic coma, it was time for a snack. Mm.

I wanted to top the cake with a simple layer of smooth dark chocolate ganache. I wanted it to be silky but also somewhat firm; a bit of butter and touch of cream was just enough.

And now for some fresh raspberries and a bit of decoration...

Layers layers layers!

Happy birthday to the best mother I could ever imagine. Love you mom!

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