Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Chocoholic's Dream

This year, I became friends with a wonderful girl named Emma.  Not only is she the absolute sweetest person you will ever meet, she is also my other half.  She shares of my love of booty shakin' and wooping in ZUMBA®, rugged mountain men, baking, and intensely chocolately things.  When it came to making her cake, there was no question that it would be filled with chocolate amazingness.

Unfortunately, I discovered some of the most tragic news on the face of the planet: I may possibly be allergic to chocolate.  I have had sporadic hives on my legs for a month now, and they itch so badly I want to take a chain saw to my legs instead of my finger nails.  Well, I recently noticed that these hives seem to appear whenever I eat chocolate.  I decided to go for a week without chocolate to see if this was the cause.  I did OK making the cake, and didn't lick the spatula or have even a drop of chocolate mousse!  But when the cake was cut, I was powerless against the force of a supposed-to-be-four-layered cake filled with chocolate deliciousness, and caved and ate a slice.  I broke out in hives about half an hour later, but it was so worth it :)

Emma's housemate and my dear friend, Alyssa, came over to help me make the cake, and my other friend, Hannah, helped me make the mousse the next day, so many thanks and credit to them!

Dark Chocolate Mousse Cake w/ Chocolate Ganache
Recipe adapted from Jane's Sweets & Baking Journal

Cake Ingredients:
2 cups All-Purpose flour
2 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
1 1/2 tsps baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1 cup strong brewed coffee
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs

Mix together oil, coffee, milk, and eggs in a bowl.  Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together dry ingredients
Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix on medium speed until incorporated
Grease and dust 2 8" cake pans with cocoa powder
Divide batter evenly between both pans.  Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes.
Cool in pans for 15 minutes, then remove and finish cooling on wire racks.
Make sure cakes are COMPLETELY cooled before assembling cake.  If not assembling until the next day, stick each layer in a gallon freezer bag and keep in the refrigerator.

Chocolate Mousse Filling
I didn't like Jane's mousse recipe because it contains gelatin, and I really just like to avoid the stuff all together.  I used this recipe here instead, and followed it almost exactly.  Except I was lazy and did not want to brew coffee for just two tablespoons, so I used Kahlua instead, and that was an excellent decision.  It tasted amazing and was pretty simple as far as mousses go.  It might have been just a little soft for the cake, since the layers slid, so you might want to play around with freezing it or using a wrap-around mold.

Chocolate Ganache
I used the one from Jane's cake, and was fairly happy with it.  It tastes AMAZING.  My only complaint is that it wasn't as stiff as a buttercream would have been, which would have helped to hold the slippery mousse-filled layers in place.

Cut each cooled cake round in half using a long, serrated bread knife.  Spread a 1/3 of the mousse on the bottom layer, add another layer of cake, and repeat. 
It should be a very tall and beautiful four-layer cake.  I would then suggest wrapping the cake in foil or plastic wrap to hold the layers in place, and then freeze for 20 minutes before frosting with the ganache.  Spread the ganache evenly, starting at the top and working your way gently down the sides.  Top with chopped chocolate if desired.

My cake seriously pooped the second layer right out the back of it.  When we cut it, it looked like a 3-tier cake.
The finish product- photographable only from one side!

Happy Birthday, Emma!  I am so glad we met each other.  I hope your birthday was everything you hoped it would be.

Love and cookies,

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