Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Double chocolate layer cake filled and frosted with chocolate ganache

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(Super long whiny post alert...proceed at your own risk, and please I'm sooo over the hate-comments-by anonymous-lurkers' stage, so spare them)
Is everyone over and done with the whole Valentines day drama? After an overdose of mushy stuff on FB, posts on blogs and movies on telly, I for one am done with it. You can also say its sour grapes because my husband didn't even wish me on V day. The fact that we are not really in talking terms worked for both of us because he doesn't believe in birthdays, V days and anniversaries and I believe in them too much that I am annoyed if I'm not made to feel special on all these days. But strangely enough he remembers the day we met, the day we got engaged etc. etc. which I think is cute, but who cares about dates...show some love instead (or a Tiffany's ring would make me a happy (but shallow) woman)

Today is my birthday and it went on like just another day in my boring life. The husband wished me for the heck of it and even bought me something, not because he wanted to but because I'd eat his head about it for the rest of his life, if he didn't show any gesture like that. I blame my parents and friends (and maybe my ex-boyfriends) for this. My mom threw me beautiful birthday parties when I was small and in my teenage years it was treats at restaurants and slumber parties at home. In college it was nights out with the friends and parties at clubs and gifts and flowers. And then, I got married- to someone who thinks all this is overrated-  and it abruptly stopped. Forget V day and anniversaries, (its just another damn day to prove you are stuck with the same guy..oh how I envy you single women), but birthdays are very special to me and I somehow expect something from the ONE person who fills my world. And because that one person doesn't care about the day enough, I end up brooding over my life so far and how I miss home and friends so so so much. I have cried on every birthday of mine for the past 6 years and I don't see that changing. So yesterday, I went and watched a romantic drama that made me cry from beginning to end (DON'T watch The Vow, its a waste of money), and today, I watched a horror movie (like being alone in the house wasn't enough) and made through the 95 minutes with my eyes closed, trying hard to not snap at the frikkin giggling girls sitting behind me. I then came back home, curled up on my sofa and did some more brooding (and fantasised about having a whirlwind of an affair with Mc steamy).
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So since I'm not gonna be getting any cake today, I decided to post a chocolate cake recipe here. It's a cake I baked for Ro (yes I still go out of my way to make his birthday fun..call me nuts) a week back , when I'd invited some friends over. As you already know, I hate chocolate and anything to do with it. Chocolate cake tops the list of things I don't like and the fact that I've had a couple of disastrous results doesn't make it any better. Since Ro doesn't care what the end result of anything with chocolate is, I started off making this cake thinking its just going to be average. Boy was I wrong. I must admit that I've never wanted to taste a cake this much in my life. The moment it came out of the oven, I knew I'd like it. Unfortunately, I had to wait for one more day to cut it and taste it which was just too much to handle. But living with a husband who spends an hour (minimum) in the bathroom kinda takes your patience level a notch higher, so pat on the back for me. 

Its a super simple cake to put together and you can make a magnificent 2-layer (9 inch) cake with the said amount. If I'd tried to do the baking and filling and frosting all on the same day, I probably would have gone mad, which is why I decided to bake the cakes a day earlier and fill and frost the next day. It all worked out perfect and I was super proud of my organising skills :). I was a bit apprehensive as to how it would be when sliced into and held my breath when Ro cut into it, but everyone liked it and I didn't mind a piece myself. Ro, however, doused it with some whiskey and said it tasted even better. I don't like whiskey too much, but a bit of brandy would have probably been good. Just warning you, its not one of those super sweet cakes :)
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Recipe for the cake adapted from here
Plain flour- 1 3/4 cups
Granulated sugar- 2 cups
Unsweetened cocoa powder- 3/4 cups (I used Dutch processed Green & Blacks)
Baking powder- 1 tsp
Baking soda- 2 tsp
Salt- 1 tsp (kosher, table or sea salt)
Buttermilk- 1 cup
Flavourless vegetable oil- 1/2 cup
Eggs- 2, large
Vanilla extract- 1 tsp
Freshly brewed espresso coffee- 1 cup

For the ganache 
Plain chocolate- 200 gms + enough for grating
Double cream- 200 ml
Caster sugar- 2 tbsp (optional)
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Whisk together the first 6 ingredients in a large mixing bowl. You can either do this using your wire whisk or if you have a free standing mixer, use the paddle attachment and on low speed combine all the dry ingredients together.
In another bowl mix together the buttermilk, oil, eggs and vanilla extract till they all come together.
Add this to the dry ingredients and beat on low till well incorporated. 
With the beater still on low, slowly feed in the coffee and then bring up the speed to medium and beat until fully incorporated
Butter and line 2 9" pans and pour the batter into each. The best way to get more or less even size cakes are to weigh the batter in each tin. I usually do this, but this time I measured approx. 3 cups of batter for each  tin and got cakes of the same size.
Place the tins in the centre rack of an oven preheated at 176C and bake for 35 minutes or till a skewer comes out clean.
Take them out of the oven and leave aside to cool for about 15-20 minutes, after which you can turn it onto a wire rack and wait for it to cool completely.

While that's taken care of, make the ganache.
Chop the chocolate as finely as possible and place in a  heat proof bowl.
Bring the double cream to a boil in a sauce pan, over medium heat.
Take it off the flame and immediately pour over the chocolate.
Let it stand for a couple of minutes after which you can gently start stirring using a whisk or wooden spoon (without incorporating any air into the ganache) till you get a smooth glossy chocolate mix.
Add the caster sugar and gently stir until melted. Keep aside for 15 to 20 minutes for it to slightly harden. Not too much though.
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Assembling
OK so you can basically use the ganache in three different ways- Fill the cake with whichever icing you prefer, put on the other layer, place the cake on a cooling rack and just pour the ganache on top, enabling it to drop off the sides as evenly as possible. Messy, but good shiny, glazed topping would be the end result.
Second would be to whip it up like how you do a normal whipped cream frosting. Bring the ganache to room temperature and whip on high for 2 minutes or so. This could work for cupcakes.
Third, would be to let the ganache harden a wee bit and then use it like how you would do for a butter cream icing, for more thicker frosting and piping designs...which is what I did.
Place the cake on a stand/plate in which you are going to serve.
Generously douse a layer of ganache on top, evening it out with a palette knife, as much as possible.
Place the second cake on top and do a crumb coating by doing up the entire cake in a thin layer of ganache. Try and smooth it out as much as possible. If you ask me, this is the hardest part of frosting a cake.
Keep aside to set for a while and then do the final coating...go ballistic with the remaining ganache and coat the entire cake..again, try and smoothen it out as much as possible.
Decorate with chocolate balls, wafers, chocolate shavings or just grate some chocolate on top and place it in the fridge.
Two hours before serving, bring it back to room temperature and slice using a knife dipped in hot water so you get a neat slice.
Enjoy with some vanilla ice cream or on its own.
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Notes: Please use the best possible cocoa available. Dutch processed would be ideal.
One cake had a dome, so I had to slice a bit of the top using a serrated knife.
As I mentioned before, I'd baked the cakes the previous night and once they had cooled down completely, I wrapped them in cling film and stored in the oven at room temperature. They didn't dry out and was as moist as it should be.
Plain chocolate is different from dark chocolate and milk chocolate. Dark choc. would make this more bitter, but if you prefer that, go ahead with the option.
The espresso coffee can be replaced with instant fresh coffee. I put 2 tbsp of instant espresso powder into a cup of boiling water and used that.
I didn't bake both the cakes together because I only have one pan. I also have ready made cake liners (like massive cupcake liners) which I use religiously. So once cake 1 was done, I waited for 5 minutes, and moved it on to a cooling rack (with the cake liner). Placed cake liner 2 into the same cake pan, filled with batter and baked for the exact same time. Took it out and cooled as usual. This is probably not the best way to go about baking 2 cakes, but they both turned out gorgeous.


Linking this to the chocolatelove bloghop event over at Junia's 

53 comments:

Ria Mathew said...

OMG! Nisha, we both baked the same cake today! :) The cake looks beautiful!

After reading your post (whining part), I want to tell you something but I have no idea what that is :) So, just know that ;)

Pavithra Elangovan said...

Chocooooooooooooolatey...looks awesome perfect slice... Hope u guys had wonderful party.

SRG said...

Happy birthday! Hope you have a super day ahead. What a beautiful cake btw.

Simi

Rookie Qookie said...

Read your post and chuckled. And I must say we are always paired with opposites..I was dead against Love marriage when I was 16 and ended up with one..I was dead against spending cash for Valentine's Day [any other day is fine] and my hubby surprises me with "mushy" stuff [And I had kept refusing to wish him back the previous night] - So we find peace amidst bruised Ego's..hehe :D

Asha said...

Yummy... I can see the cake is really moist

Nish said...

Awwwwwww ... happy birthday! Hope you have a wonderful one this time, and hope you never have to cry again on any birthday :-/
My husband's family is the super traditional kinds that don't believe in celebrating birthdays & anniversaries too, whereas my family always threw get-together & rejoice with family friends ... so I totally understand.
Anyway, cheer up, it's your special day :)

Suchi said...

Happy birthday gal :-) Lovely chocolate cake!

Helena / Rico sin AzĂșcar said...

Absolutely wonderful, Nisha!!!! super chocolate cake, I love it! and perfect for February #chocolatelove bloghop (see Juna Kim's recipe:
http://juniakk.blogspot.com/2012/02/chocolatelove-bloghop-double-dark.html)

Thanks for stopping by my site. I like what I'm reading at yours! ;-)

GB said...

Awwww. Sweetie, here's a huge hug from me. Hope you had a happy birthday after all.

Now my only problem is that I'm craving double chocolate cake. I'm on day two of a new diet. SO did not need to see those pictures... :(

PS: Does Ro read your blog? If not, I would suggest you put him on the mailing list. Sometimes the dopes (oops, sorry, dears) don't know the turmoil they cause with their I'm-the-big-guy attitude.

Torviewtoronto said...

happy birthday Nisha
this cake looks wonderful hope you feel happy with friends like us :) wishing for your birthday

PJ said...

Heh heh.. sounds exactly like our household! I was into celebrations; my husband is totally not.. sole consolation? i get to decide which gift i want and buy it to myself whenever i want :) cake is rockingly delicious; happy birthday!

Amina Khaleel said...

wow.... cake looks fantastic.... belated birthday wishes... :)

Hamaree Rasoi said...

Cake looks awesome. I wish I was there to get a taste of it.

Deepa
Hamaree Rasoi

Rekha shoban said...

mindblowing!!beautiful and delicious cake!perfectly done!

Sumi said...

The same happens here..So you are not alone;) Wish you many more happy returns of the day

The Roasted Root said...

WOW, this cake looks so moist and delicious! Happy birthday!

Non stick, Nutty and Sous chef said...

Belated birthday wishes Nisha! If its any consolation, the cake looks fab! and you are not alone when u fantasize abt McSteamy! :P so there! but jokes aside, i hope you have a great year ahead! and trying very hard to be the devils' advocate here, what's a great year compared to one lousy day? :) Keep the faith! and i hope i made you smile. Cheers!

Umm Mymoonah said...

Happy Birthday, cake looks awesome. Hope you had a nice time.

Namitha said...

Story of my life too :-) I used make a big fuss about not celebrating my b'day in a proper way since my hubby is exactly like yours in these matters :D Now after almost 12 years I'm getting used to a card or some flowers he gets for me, that too not every year ,but no chance for Valentine's day..lol We celebrate V day just for kids,they celebrate it in school and I make something for their friends.
That's a wonderful cake and it looks pretty

Tina said...

simply superb...

Turmericnspice said...

Many many happy returns of the day !! I really hope u never have to cry on your bday ever again !!

love the cake and the not so sweet really got my attention !! Have to try this.

Love the pixs as usual awesome !!

u rock girl !!

Ambika said...

OMG!! That cake looks absolutely gorgeous! So moist and dark and rich!! Love it!

Sobha Shyam said...

Wishing u a very happy birthday :) Cake looks awesome, excellent job n clicks !!

Magpie said...

Love the chocolate cake and chocolate ganache combo. Have a similar one I made for my Ammama's bday sitting in my drafts :)Yours looks spectacular though! Love those cute chocolate balls.
Oh and what is it with men and birthdays! I get all excited anyhow and use it as an excuse to bake to my heart's content :) Happy birthday hugs Nisha. Have a fabulous year ahead.

Charu Srivastava said...

happy bday dear...i also baked a similar cake...:)...and i wish that u don't ever cry again..specially on ur bday....!!!god bless u !

Plateful said...

Gorgeous cake for a gorgeous girl, happy birthday sweets! Like yours, my hubby's does not care about b'day, whereas I'm a total b'day girl. So you can imagine... & the disappointments continue, sigh.

Jane's Ire said...

I think it's awesome that Ro remembers the little stuff :o) Mwaah!

divya said...

looks so delicious..very tempting clicks!!

Suja Manoj said...

Happy Birthday Nisha! God bless you..Hugs:)
Tempting cake,chocolaty and yummy..Great Job!

Aarthi said...

Totally YUMMY

Aarthi
http://www.yummytummyaarthi.com/

Cassia Bark said...

OMG Nisha I'm sooooo going to bake this cake for a party order next week....will let u know how it was :)...

I totally understand what u mean by V-day celebration....while the whole world seems to go red and mushy, me and my man end up sitting grumpy faced at two ends of the sofa and watch telly :p....I consider myself lucky if we watch watch a film together and not Match of the Day! :/

vineetha said...

Belated bday wishes Nisha....Last year I had a big fight with my hubby on valentines day,I used to prepare candle light dinner every time till last year and he never gets anything for me ,so I let out my frustration last year and this time I officially declared valentines day is over for us and he surprised me with some flowers not because he is romantic just to avoid fight :)

Sushma Mallya said...

Belated Birthday wishes Nisha....cake is so gorgoeus, lovely and moist...yum:)

ANU said...

wow awesome dear....just wanna grab a piece....

TheYummyMorsel said...

A decadent piece of cake you have got there! Looks so moist and lovely.

Lannie said...

such a beautiful cake! your pictures are gorgeous, the texture is so vivid i feel like the cake is right in front of me... but i cannot get to it aahh.

Cassia Bark said...

yeah I'm in Cambridge :)....thanks for liking the zebra cake...i baked it for the first time and though I'm not super impressed with it I think it was fine as a first timer :D....

I love those cute little stamps on eggs...Britain IS proud of their produce and it shows! :)

Belated B'day wishes...hope u got a nice b'day pressie...At Least! ;)

Priyanka said...

Awww dear... happy birthday! You post made me very sad too, even I like to be pampered and being single and away from home I end up crying too.
Hope you never have to cry again on any birthday or any day :-/.
The chocolate cake look yummy...so soft and moist, very tempting.

Suchi said...

Hey Nisha, just got your comment. Yes I currently live in London. Am guessing so are you? Which part? We live in North London...

the Junkie book said...

belated birthday wishes!and to Roshan too...birthdays and special days...yes yes big deal! the cake looks divine.

Suchi said...

Hiya, food events...can't remember attending any...unless you mean stuffing ourselves silly during Chinese New Year and some such...there is a Russian one coming up, but I am not going to be in London that weekend...anyways my email is suchismita.majumdar@gmail.com...

notyet100 said...

Ummm drooling looking at the cake,..:)

Shabs.. said...

Expect the least from men and you will feel better..That's what I do, so when they come up with something it will make you happy, especially when it is least expected....Hugs to you sweetie. I sure can understand your feelings, but you will get over it..

BTW, does Ro, his family and all read ur bloggie? I am not sure how they would take it!

That cake looks gorgeous!Is it intensly chocolatey??

Love,
shabs.

Ananda Rajashekar said...

oh V day drama! one good thing is, in finland v day is friends day we had a great day with wonderful italian-finnish lunch out. And girl you made me giggle, all I can is cake wow! now i shall keep this noted for next choc bake, loved the sprinkles. And keep fantasizing Mc steamy you will def feel better ;)

Smitha said...

The same story here too. I guess I am starting to accept that a whole crowd of mallu men are like that. I would love to believe that but then I see so many of them around me celebrating bdays. My husband's family celebrates anniversaries, and I dont understand the big deal about it. But bdays, none remembers. Until a few years ago, when the new calendar for the next year is in .. the first thing I do is to check the day of my bday. Now I am teaching myself not to bother. But when the day passes unnoticed its not easy ..

Suchi said...

Hi Nisha, I am glad to pass on The Versatile Blog Award to your lovely blog.

Biny Anoop said...

dats really going out of ur way to impress him...cake looks fab

Archana said...

Lovely cake. Absolutely stunning. bookmarking it.

Reflections said...

Belated wishes girl:-))!!!!

I cant see the pics and I'm so disappointed:-(
Cant see mutton curry pics also but can see french onion soup pics & the rest:-(

Reflections said...

Aaaah ok ur pics are from flickr or something right. No wonder I cdnt see then, for some strange reason flickr is banned in UAE;-S

suhaina aji said...

Dear Nisha....after reading ur post I dont feel much surprised...this is the same condition here too...just accept it...u have at least baked a cake for ur self..Its another normal day for me the only difference is I get wishes from my parents, inlaws, aunts and cousins. so cheer up gal...God has given u a loving and caring husband...enjoy and accept the way he is...

suhaina aji said...

I forgot to tell u ...the cake looks very gorgeous..just like u dear...would love to give it a try..i have some ganache left in the fridge..must use it up....

Sarah said...

That is such a gorgeous cake! Being a chocolate fanatic, i would have eaten up the whole thing myself! I wish i could hate chocolate like you, that would be at least one less thing that i have to worry about finding its way onto my hips! And u know what, my husband is exactly like urs. no bday celebrations, v-day etc.. and now ive given up on celebrating his and we dont even get gifts for each other now... i dont like it this way... but then i tend to complain more and get into a even worse mood if ive gifted him and he doesnt gift me... the fact that our bdays are just a day apart adds to the frustration :) but yeah.. we learn to survive.. i hope ..