Utterly Chocolaty Cake with Orange Cream

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This chocolaty cake was a request from my friend, celebrating her birthday. It’s crazy how scared I used to be of preparing cakes and now I’m making them for people’s special occasions. This is what perseverance and practice will do to you. Obviously I still have so much to learn, but it’s always reassuring to look back and asses your own progress.

Chocolaty Cake

This chocolate is combination of brownie inspired cake layers and orange cream. I added melted chocolate in the layers, not just cocoa powder. The cake is only made of 2 layers, so I made them thicker to give it extra height. The orange zest and juice gives the cream lost of flavor and balances the sweetness.  I’m not crazy for buttercream or other sweet creams, so I covered the cake lightly on the sides and some more on top. The chocolate drips gives it that extra wow factor. Drips are very trendy right now. I don’t follow fashion trends, I follow cake trends nice.

Chocolaty Cake Slices

On location slices of cake, so just your typical phone pictures on the gogiggle.

Cake Baking Tips

When it comes to layer cakes, I mostly bake the layers separately. As opposed to baking the entire cake then slicing, this give me much more control. It’s simpler to check if the cake in properly baked in the middle when you have a thinner cake layer. Also, baking the entire cake requires a longer time. By the time the center is done, the edges risk becoming over baked and too dry.


Ingredients temperature

A very important aspect, when it comes to baking, it’s the temperature of the ingredients. All ingredients should be at room temperature. Otherwise they won’t mix well and the cake won’t have the nicest texture.Take your ingredients out at least 1 hour before using. Longer if it’s colder in your kitchen. If you do forget, keep the eggs a few minute in hot water. Grate the block of butter . Yes, GRATE the butter. It helps. Warm up the milk, just a hint. I cannot stress this aspect enough.

Timing

Additionally, baking or cooking in general is a timing game. Sometimes it requires lots of patience. Other times you have to be quick and not overdue it. I screwed up a few recipes cause I mixed for more than 30 seconds. JUST TO BE SURE! A cake batter includes both. Cause it can! If the batter is based on butter, you have to whisk that butter with sugar until it’s super fluffy and light. This is quite a general rule that applies for other recipes also, such as cookies. This process can take a few minutes. The same if you use mostly eggs and sugar to leaven the cake or batter in general. It has to triple in volume and it can take up to 15 minutes for 10 eggs (not for this cake though). On the contrary, once you add the wet ingredients (the eggs, milk, oil) and the dry (flours or powders) mix just until incorporated, 20-30 seconds.

Sift Sift Sift!

And sift the damn flour or any other powders. Especially if you just opened a fresh new pack. By not sifting the flour, you will just add more than the recipe requires. Cocoa powder also. Oh…almost forgot. Try to be precise when measuring. If using measuring cups, fill the measuring cup with flour, then scrape the surplus with a knife.

Most importantly

Have fun, enjoy the learning process and keep trying. Baking skills don’t come overnight, but once you learn the basics, things will get so much easier. And isn’t the joy and smile on other people’s face worth it  tease?

 

Ingredients

Total Ingredients for 2 layer cake

280 grams unsalted butter
1 cup +1/2 cup (200 grams) chopped dark chocolate, at least 70 % cocoa
3 cups +2/3 cup (500 grams) all-purpose flour, sifted
8 tablespoons (100 grams) cocoa powder
2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
4 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups + 2 tablespoons (500 grams) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract
2/3 cup + 1 tablespoon (200 ml ) vegetable oil
1 cup + 3 tablespoons (280 ml ) buttermilk

Breakdown for 1 cake layer of 23 cm . Bake 2 separate layers

140 grams unsalted butter
3/4 cups (100 grams) chopped dark chocolate
2 cups (250 grams) all-purpose flour, sifted
4 tablespoons (50 grams) cocoa powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
pinch of salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup +3 tablespoons (250 grams) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon (5 ml) pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon (100 ml ) vegetable oil
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon (140 ml ) buttermilk

Sugar Syrup

2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup (120ml) hot water

Orange Mascarpone Cream

1 cup + 2/3 cup (400 ml) heavy cream
4 tablespoons (50 grams) powdered sugar
2 cups (500 grams) mascarpone
3 tablespoons (45 ml) orange juice
zest from 2 oranges

Chocolate Drip

3/4 cup (100 grams) chopped dark chocolate , at least 70% cocoa

 

Directions

Preparing the cake layers

  1. In a small saucepan, on low heat, melt the butter. Take off the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Let is sit for 2 minute until it melts, then stir until all the butter is well incorporated . Put aside to cool.
  2. Pre-heat the oven at 190 degrees Celsius.
  3. In a bowl, sift and whisk the flour, cocoa powder, bicarb, baking powder and a pinch of salt
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs until fluffy. Add the sugar and continue to whisk at high speed until most of the sugar dissolves and the eggs double the volume, for about 5 minutes. Add the vanilla extract, oil and  buttermilk and give it a good mix.
  5. Add the dry ingredients and mix just until incorporated, for 20 seconds. Don’t over mix it.
  6. Line the cake form with baking paper (I usually cut the paper round, same size as the form) or grease with butter and flour. Pour the cake batter in the form. Level it with a spatula and place it in the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes. It should feel soft to the touch, but firm when done. If it still has a jiggle in the center bake it a few more minute. Let it cool completely before assembling
  7. Repeat with the second layer.
  8. For the sugar syrup, mix the sugar with the hot water then let is cool

Orange Cream

  1. For the mascarpone orange cream, beat the heavy cream until fluffy and turns into whipped cream (check also instructions on the package, they might differ depending on each producer). Try not to over-whisk, once it’s stiff it’s done. Add the 2 tablespoons of powder sugar and give it a quick whisk.
  2. Whisk the mascarpone with the rest of the powder sugar until fluffy. Add the orange juice and the zest and mix it. Gradually add the whipped cream and stir gently with a spatula (not use a mixer or you’ll knock the air out)
  3. Melt the chocolate for the decoration in a double boiler/bain-marie and let is cool down

Assembling the Cake

  1. Optional: the cake doesn’t form much of a dome, but if you want a perfectly straight layer,  slice the cake domes using a leveler or a serrated knife (like this).
  2. Put the first layer cake on the desired plate.  Drizzle about 4 tablespoons of sugar syrup over the surface of the cake.  Fill a piping bag with the cream and pipe a generous amount on the cake (alternatively just add it with a spoon ). Level the cream and drizzle with melted chocolate. Add the second cake layer and cover with 4 tablespoons of sugar syrup. Cover the cake with the rest of the cream. Using a teaspoon, cover the cake edges with melted chocolate, adding a bit more in some place to have a longer drip ( check out this video for reference, min 5.00 ). Decorate the top of the cake as your heart desires.
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