Dianne says: “Undoubtedly, there are quite a few steps involved in making this cake, but it is definitely a special occasion chocolate cake that will elicit a few ooh’s and aah’s. The cake itself is more dense than a traditional sponge with the texture probably closer to that of a dark, devil’s food cake. The sour cream helps to keep the cake moist and yields a deliciously tender crumb. Each layer is separated alternately with whipped vanilla cream and chocolate cream cheese frosting. The addition of cream cheese helps to keep the frosting light and slightly less rich than a classic buttercream. The dark chocolate ganache is wickedly delicious, lending yet another layer of chocolatey flavour. I’ve decorated the top with delicate French macaroons that beg to be snatched up by those first in line for a slice. This luxe chocolate cake has multiple textures, flavours and chocolate nuances that make it my ultimate celebratory cake.
I’ve not included the recipe for the macaroons as I’m sure that after you’ve completed all the other baking stages, you would’ve either run out of clean kitchen equipment, counter space or steam! The macaroons are not essential but create a touch of splendour. There are plenty of good patisseries that offer an assortment of these delicacies, which will most definitely alleviate unnecessary stress. As our summers are hot and humid, it is best to store the chocolate cake in the refrigerator, but always remember to bring it up to from temperature before serving as the cold will mask the flavours of the cake. It could keep well for several days, but won’t. You’ll see……”
Luxe chocolate cake with glossy ganache and macaroons
1 cup (250ml) filter coffee
40g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125ml sour cream
1 3/4 cups castor sugar
2 cups all purpose cake flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
Preheat the oven to 160º C. Grease and line 2 x 20cm deep sided cake tins with parchment paper. In a small saucepan, heat the coffee, cocoa powder and butter. Once the butter is melted and the cocoa powder has dissolved, remove from the heat and add the vanilla extract. In a separate jug, whisk the sour cream and eggs until just combined. Add the castor sugar to the coffee mixture and whisk in with a balloon whisk. Stir the sour cream mixture into the coffee and mix well. The mixture will tend to split slightly but will be corrected once the flour is added.
Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the cocoa mixture and fold in until well combined. Divide the batter into the baking tins and smooth over with the back of a spoon. Give the tins a good tap to get rid of any air pockets. Bake for 35-40 minutes. Allow the cakes to rest for at least 10 minutes in the pan before turning out to cool on a wire rack.
Once the cakes are completely cool, wrap in cling film and refrigerate either overnight or for an hour to firm up. With a serrated knife, gently cut the ‘domed’ part of the cakes off to even out. Slice each cake in half horizontally so that you have four layers.
Chocolate cream cheese frosting
125g butter, at room temperature
125g full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
400g confectioner’s sugar, sifted,
80ml (1/3 cup) cocoa powder
a pinch of salt
100g dark chocolate, melted and cooled
In a mixing bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and cream cheese until well combined and smooth. Add the confectioner’s sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Whisk until light and fluffy. Pour in the melted chocolate and beat again. Scrape down the sides and give the frosting a final whisk.
For the glossed ganache
100g dark chocolate
60ml single cream
1 tablespoon glucose
Place all the ingredients in a small bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds. Whisk until the chocolate is smooth and glossy.
250ml double cream
1 teaspoon vanilla paste
1 tablespoon confectioner’s sugar
Whisk the cream, vanilla paste and confectioner’s sugar together for just a few seconds. It is best to do it by hand to avoid over-beating the cream as it will turn buttery and split. It should be just thick enough to hold its shape.
8 chocolate macaroons
Place the first cake layer on a cake stand and spread with half the vanilla cream. Place a second layer on top and spread with a generous amount of chocolate frosting. Top with another cake layer and spread with the remaining vanilla cream. Place the last cake layer on top and press down gently.
Starting from the bottom and working upwards, cover the sides and then the top of the cake with a thin layer of chocolate frosting. This is your crumb coat, so it doesn’t need to be perfect. Refrigerate the cake for at least 30-40 minutes. Repeat with a second, slightly thicker layer of frosting. Using a palette knife, smooth the sides and top of the cake. Chill for 30 minutes.
Pour the glossy ganache over the top of the chocolate cake and ease the chocolate over the sides to create a downward drip. Chill once again to set the ganache. Spoon the remaining chocolate frosting into a piping bag and finish off around the base with a piping style of your choice. Pipe 8 large rosettes on top of the cake and gently press a macaroon into each. Chill until you are ready to serve.
Michael’s wine recommendation – CLICK HERE
Dianne Bibby is a former fashion designer, turned food enthusiast and avid cook. At 36 she hung up her fashionable hat, tied on her kitchen apron and started on a new culinary journey.
Her kitchen is a creative gathering place where meals are shared with family and friends, celebrating life and nurturing our connectivity. For Dianne food is relational and pivotal to the way in which she expresses love, care and hospitality. Currently she spends most of her time developing recipes and teaching group cooking classes.
Says Dianne, “My food philosophy is relatively uncomplicated with inspiration being drawn from diverse global food trends and seasonal produce. My recipes are not exclusively tied to any particular food preference but rather an exploration of all foods that are vibrant and fresh.”
Dianne hopes that you will be motivated and inspired to try something new, making the time you spend in the kitchen deeply satisfying and rewarding.
She’d love to hear from you – CLICK HERE