Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Triple Chocolate Cake for the Birthday Boy

Just got done building Legos and competing in the most epic Nerf battle with my not-so-little, little man. (He won, but my aim is getting better!) Westin turned seven today. I kept looking at him throughout the day in disbelief that he could be so grown up. I swear it was just yesterday that he was running around as Superman, with his long, curly blonde hair. Now he's sporting a mohawk (his idea) and building Star Wars Lego sets meant for 9 to 11 year-olds. Time is flying by and I'm grateful for days like today when I can set work aside and enjoy Nerf battles and Legos with him. 

This year was a non-friends party year for us, so we enjoyed a weekend full of family fun and this triple chocolate cake, specifically requested by the birthday boy.

This six-layer dark chocolate cake is filled with chocolate whipped filling and frosting with a chocolate buttercream. It's a chocolate lover's dream come true. I opted for a lighter filling than the frosting because I didn't want the buttercream to be overwhelming and I didn't want to fill it with a ganache because the cake itself is rich enough. I think the balance of chocolate in this one is perfection. Let me know what you think.

A few photos before blowing out the candles and digging in...
"W" for Westin
When mom makes you take a dozen photos and you're not getting a chance to pose the way you want to. 

With the six, thinner cake layers, this cake didn't cut very pretty. Next time I might try keeping it three layers and seeing how it looks. It still tasted amazing!!! (Obvi)


Triple Chocolate Cake

Yields: One 6-layer, 8-inch round cake 


For the Cake (adapted from Sweetapolita)
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
3 cups granulated sugar
1 cup Cacao Barry Extra Brute Cocoa Powder (or similar premium brand)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
1 ½ teaspoon salt
3 eggs, room temperature
1 ½ cups buttermilk, room temperature
1 cup hot water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 ½ tablespoons pure vanilla extract

For the Chocolate Frosting
2 cup unsalted butter
4 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
10 oz. good quality milk chocolate, chopped melted and cooled
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

For the Whipped Chocolate Filling
3/4 cup chocolate chips
2 1/2 cups heavy cream, cold, divided
3 tablespoons cold water
1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin 
1/2 cup icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Pinch of salt


For the Chocolate Cake
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare three 8” round cake pans (butter or spray, line bottom with parchment paper, butter or spray paper and dust with flour).
2. In a bowl of electric mixer, sift all dry ingredients. Set aside.
3. Combine eggs, buttermilk, coffee, oil and vanilla in a measuring cup and lightly beat with a fork.
4. Add wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, and mix on medium speed for two minutes. Batter will be thin. Scrape sides and mix for another 30 seconds. Divide batter evenly among prepared pans (I like to use a kitchen scale to ensure the batter is evenly distributed).
5. Bake for 25-27 minutes (you may need more time depending on your oven), until toothpick comes out almost clean. Cool on wire racks for 10-15 minutes, then gently invert onto racks until cooled completely.
6. When cakes are completely cooled, I like to wrap each cake layer individually with plastic wrap and stick it in the refrigerator or freezer until I’m ready to frost. The cake will be easier to work with if it’s cooled a bit. If I’m making the cake a day or two before I actually need to frost it, I put it in the freezer to ensure freshness. If I’m frosting same-day, I’ll just put it in the refrigerator to chill until needed.

For the Whipped Chocolate Filling
1. To make the chocolate ganache, pour 1/2 cup of the heavy cream over the chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave for one minute and then stir until the mixture is smooth and silky. Will be a bit thick. Let cool to room temperature but not to the point that it sets.
2. In a small bowl, place the cold water and sprinkle with the gelatin. Let sit for at least 10 minutes. In a small saucepan, bring 1/3 cup heavy cream to a simmer and then stir in the gelatin mixture. Refrigerate, stirring frequently, until cool but not set, about 5-7 minutes.
3. In a chilled stainless steel bowl with a chilled whisk attachment, beat the remaining whipping cream, icing sugar, vanilla and salt until it thickens and soft peaks begin to form, about one minute. Very gradually add the gelatin mixture and continue beating until medium-firm peaks form. 
4. Gradually fold in the cooled chocolate ganache. 
5. Keep covered and chilled until ready to use.

For the Chocolate Frosting
1. In a bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the confectioner's sugar and butter. Beat on low speed for 1 minute.
2. Add vanilla and salt and beat until combined.
3. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 2 minutes.
3. Slowly add whipping cream, with mixer on low speed, then increase speed to med-high and beat for another 2-3 minutes, until light and fluffy.
4. Frost cake right away, or, if you cover and use later, make sure to mix with a rubber spatula right before applying to the cake to get rid of air bubbles.


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