Chocolate Fudge Cake
2 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder*
1 cup boiling water
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon grapeseed or canola oil
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup high fat plain Greek yogurt*
1/4 cup buttermilk
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour three 6-inch cake pans and set aside.
Place the chopped chocolate, cocoa powder, and espresso powder in a heat-safe bowl. Carefully pour over the boiling water. Stir together until smooth and set aside.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
Using an electric mixer (hand or stand), mix together the oil and sugars. Add in the vanilla and eggs, one at a time. Scrape down the bowl.
Add in half of the flour mixture and mix on low until combined. Add the yogurt and buttermilk and mix until smooth. Add in the remaining flour and mix until combined. With the mixer on low, carefully stream in the melted chocolate mixture until combined.
Evenly divide the batter between the prepared pans. Bake for 26 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 10 to 20 minutes before removing the cakes from their pans.
Milk Chocolate Cloud Frosting
4 ounces egg whites
1 cup white sugar
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
4 tablespoons mascarpone, softened
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled
1 to 2 teaspoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Place the egg whites and sugar in the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Whisk by hand to combine. Fill a medium saucepan with a couple inches of water and bring to a simmer.
Place the mixer bowl on top of the saucepan to create a double-boiler. Whisking intermittently, warm the egg mixture until it reached 160 degrees on a candy thermometer.
Once hot, carefully replace the mixer bowl back on the stand. Whisk on high speed until stiff peaks and the outside of the bowl returns to room temperature (about 8 minutes).
Turn the mixer down to low and add in the butter and mascarpone, a couple tablespoons at a time. Stop the mixer and swap the whisk for the paddle attachment.
Add in the vanilla, melted chocolate, and cocoa. Mix on medium-high until the buttercream is smooth, fluffy, and cloud-like**
1 1/2 ounces dark chocolate chopped
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
scant teaspoon bourbon, optional
This recipes makes a very small amount of chocolate glaze and cooks up rather quickly (i.e. - don't walk away from the stove).
Combine the chocolate, cream, and corn syrup in a small saucepan. Place over medium heat until the chocolate begins to melt. Remove from the heat and stir until completely melted and combined. Stir in the salt and bourbon (if using). Cool at room temperature before dripping on the cake.
Chocolate crunchy pearls (optional)
Trim the cooled cakes with a long serrated knife. Place the bottom layer on a cake board or serving dish. Spread on about 3/4 cup of the milk chocolate frosting with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Sprinkle on a handful or two of crunch pearls (if using) and gently press them into the frosting. Top with the next layer of cake and repeat.
Crumb coat the cake with the frosting and chill in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes before adding the glaze. Once both cake and glaze are at the appropriate temperatures, drip the chocolate over the edge with a spoon. Pipe on remaining frosting with a large star tip and decorate with chocolate sprinkles.
– Replace the instant espresso and boiling water with strong, hot coffee. You will not be able to taste the coffee flavour in either scenario, but the coffee does enhance the chocolate. If you'd prefer to leave the espresso/coffee out all together, that is fine too.
– Instead of Greek yogurt and buttermilk, replace with 3/4 cup sour cream. Alternatively, replace Greek yogurt and buttermilk with plain whole milk mixed with a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. Stir the lemon juice into the milk before you prep any of the other ingredients. By the time you add it to the batter, the milk will appear curdled. That's OKAY.
– If the buttercream looks like it has cuddled, the butter was probably too cold. Just keep mixing.
– If the buttercream looks soupy, you probably added the butter in too soon and before the meringue returned all the way back to room temperature. Chill the mixture (inside the bowl) in the fridge for 15 minute and try whipping again until smooth.
– The buttercream recipe will make enough to fill and fully frost a three-layer 6-inch cake. If you only give it a semi-naked crumb coat (as I've done here), then you will have leftovers.