A lot of people underestimate the thought process that goes into setting a meal before someone. Some people even trivialize the whole cooking “thingy”. In my opinion, the truth about preparing food, be it for a feast of 100 or a quiet meal for one, is that when you cook with love it comes through in the food. It really does……this has been my experience.
When I cook, I get inspiration; all sorts of ideas float into my head and before I know it I have a delicious creation before me. It’s great fun!
Over Christmas, I came across an amazing recipe for a tuxedo cake which went down a treat during Christmas lunch.
It is essentially a two layers of decadent chocolate cake slathered in whipped cream and topped with a chocolate ganache. In the version I made over the holidays I slathered mine in vanilla cream cheese frosting and topped off the ganache with cherries not the strawberries that the original recipe recommended.
The gasps of delight the ensued when I appeared with the cake and the mmmmmms that escaped from my guests’ cake filled mouths assured me that the cake was a huge hit. Not to mention every one left with a an extra piece safely ensconced in foil and ziploc.
The recipe is simple enough to make. Although I must confess you MUST be fairly organized in order to set about putting this cake together. It’s not something you make on a whim; it’s a simple but deliberate process.
To make the cake:
226 grams unsalted butter
2 cups water
1 cup vegetable oil ( I used corn oil)
4 cups sugar
1 tbsp instant coffee (optional)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 cups all-purpose flour
4 large eggs
1 cup buttermilk*
1 tbsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 tbsp. vanilla extract
*I don’t know about you but butter milk is a pretty scarce resource to find in the city of Lagos so I save myself the grief by deploying a nifty alternative I learned a while ago. Measure a cup of whole milk and add 1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice to it. Stir and let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes. And voila! Buttermilk!
To make the frosting:
4 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1¼ cups icing sugar, sifted
You could opt to use store bought cream cheese frosting. Betty Crocker make a good selection.
For the chocolate ganache
100 grams good quality bittersweet chocolate (50 – 70% cocoa) finely chopped
½ cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup light corn syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract
A 12 – 15. fresh strawberries or cherries (optional)
The “How To”
To make the cake layers, preheat the oven to 175˚ C. Line three 9-inch round cake pans (or two 10-inch round cake pans) with parchment paper. Butter and flour the inside edges of the pan. Tap the pans gently to discard of any excess flour and set aside.
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, coffee (if using) water and vegetable oil; heat until the butter is melted then take of the heat and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, salt and flour; whisk to blend. Pour the melted butter mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, then add in the buttermilk and vanilla to the bowl and mix until incorporated. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans.
You might wonder how the heck you should divide the batter evenly, well, if you have a flat surface digital scale the. Weigh the pans until each have equal weights. Or if you’re like me you just eyeball to. Alternatively you could go through the messy process of sticking toothpicks I. The batter to see the level in each pan but that’s so messy….just eyeball it or weigh it. I must point out that I used 9″ pans and I found the batter to be too much so I usually hold some of the cake batter back and simply fill a teeny weeny loaf tin and made a cute chocolate loaf for myself. Anyway back to the matter at hand….
Bake the cake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Please check the cake from the 28 minute mark; for my cakes they were done at about 32 minutes.
Now, this is the hard part; LET THE CAKES COOL IN THE PANS for at least 15 minutes. Then carefully run a table knife or spatula around the edge of each cake layer and carefully invert onto a wire cooling rack. Now, allow the cake layers to cool completely before frosting for at least 2 hours.
This cake is a great make ahead dessert so once the cakes have cooled you can plonk them in the fridge. Be sure to wrap them secure in cling film or parchment paper first.
Now for the fun part; to make the frosting, add the heavy cream to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip on medium-high speed until soft peaks form. Add the powdered sugar and continue to whip until thoroughly combined and stiff peaks form. Be careful not to over-beat or you will effectively end up with butter and water……which is not such a bad thing……..:-)
To assemble the cake, place one cake layer on a cake platter and spread a layer of the whipped cream frosting over the top. Top with a second cake layer, more frosting (and the third cake layer, if using). Frost the top and sides of the assembled cake. Refrigerate until the frosting has stabilized/set. This should take at least 1 hour but the longer you leave it the better!
To make the chocolate ganache, place the finely chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering (do not boil the cream. Once you can see steam rising off the surface take it off the heat). Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit 1-2 minutes. Whisk until the mixture is smooth and homogenous. Blend in the corn syrup and vanilla. Pour the glaze into a pitcher or measuring cup and let cool for 10 minutes; this step is crucial because if you apply the hot chocolate the cake directly it will completely ruin your frosting however do not let the glaze cool longer or it may become difficult to pour over the cake – see what I mean about it being a deliberate process?
Slowly pour the gooey ganache over the cake, ensuring that the top is covered and the glaze drips over the sides. It’s a mesmerizing process and creates such a beautiful visual!
At this point, if you have the stamina………lol, you may dip your washed and dried strawberries in the chocolate and place carefully on the cake.
Refrigerate the cake until the ganache is set and the whipped cream frosting is firm, at least another hour. Slice with a long, sharp knife, wiping the blade clean between slices.
Now bite into decadent chocolatey goodness!
This cake has been in high demand since I first made it and in within one week I have made it twice for two clients. The first was as a birthday cake from a loving hubby to his wife and the second was for a swanky private dinner party.
If you would FFF to create this impressive for you just fill the contact m or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
FFF tip of The Day
1. In order to get even layers between your cakes, when the cakes are completely cool, carefully, slice off the domed part of the cake with a long sharp knife until you have a level surface.
The scraps need not be wasted as you can use them in a lovely parfait, layering them up with any left over whipped cream and chocolate ganache or just snack on them as they are 🙂
2. Before whipping cream, ensure that the cream is well chilled. Also chill the bowl the whisk in the freezer for at least 15 minutes. I prefer to use a metal bowl. This ensures that the cream whips up nicely and easily.