Starting from the bottom up: a crisp, crumbly, buttery brownie base, a fluffy, sweet, chocolate mousse filling, a light-as-air, dark chocolate cake, and finally, a dense, rich chocolate ganache frosting. Each bite of this was any chocolate lovers dream. All that’s missing is a sidecar scoop of chocolate ice cream (and a candle stuck in the slice for this momentous occasion–woops!), but hey, maybe another time, right? There definitely will be another time.
- 5/8 cup flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 3 oz bittersweet chocolate
- 6 Tbsp butter
- 1 1/8 cups sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- Chocolate Cake
- 2 oz bittersweet chocolate
- 1/8 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup hot water
- 7/8 cups sugar
- 7/8 cups flour
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1 egg yolk
- 6 Tbsp butter
- Chocolate Mousse
- 6 oz bittersweet chocolate
- 1 7/8 cups heavy cream
- 1 Tbsp sugar
- 1.5 cups heavy cream
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 18 oz bittersweet chocolate
Preheat the oven to 325 °F. Grease a 9 inch round cake pan, fit it with a cut-out round of parchment paper, and grease that as well (this makes removing the brownie in one piece a lot easier later).
In a bowl, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder. Set this aside for now.
In a bowl, microwave the chocolate chunks and butter for 30 seconds, stir, and repeat in 15 second increments until the chocolate is totally melted down.
Then, whisk in the sugar followed by the eggs, one at a time until totally incorporated. Work in the vanilla extract and finally, add the dry flour mixture in two batches, mixing until fully combined.
Pour this batter into the greased pan and bake it for 25-30 minutes or until a tester in the center comes out fairly clean. Let this cool for a while.
If you have multiple 9 inch cake pans, you could this at the same time as the brownie base. If not (I really ought to buy another one!), just wait until the brownie base is done so you can re-use that pan. Whatever the case, again, the oven ought to be preheated to 325 °F and a 9 inch cake pan should be greased and have a cut out round of parchment paper pressed against the bottom to make for easy cake removal later.
In a double boiler (bowl suspended over a pan of simmering water where the bowl is not making direct physical contact with the water), melt the chocolate chunks, cocoa powder, and hot water, stirring with some regularity to prevent any burning or sticking. Once smooth and totally melted, mix in 1/4 cup of the sugar, stirring until nice and glossy. Remove this from heat and set it aside.
In a bowl, mix the flour, baking soda, and salt. Set this aside.
Mix the buttermilk and vanilla extract is yet another bowl. Set this aside as you begin your plans for tricking someone else into cleaning up after you, perhaps by bribing them with cake.
And now we can begin to bring all of these elements together. In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk all of the eggs until they begin to lighten in color and then gradually pour in the sugar, mixing on higher speed until fluffed up and well mixed (figure 2-3 minutes whisking). Swap out the whisk attachment for the paddle and pour in the chocolate mixture, mixing until totally incorporated.
Add the softened butter, broken up into small chunks and beat them in briefly. Now, work in alternating batches: add a third of the flour mixture, mix until incorporated, add half of the buttermilk mixture, mix, and repeat until you’ve emptied both bowls.
Pour the batter into your prepared cake pan and bake this for 30 minutes or until a tester comes out fairly clean. Let this cool for a bit.
This is probably old hat by now: melt down the chocolate chunks. Whether you’re using the microwave or the double boiler is irrelevant–just melt the chocolate down and set it aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk the cream and sugar until stiff peaks form. Then, scoop out about a quarter of your whipped cream and mix it into the melted chocolate to lighten that up a bit. Once well mixed, gently fold the remaining whipped cream into the mixture, folding only as much as is necessary to get this fairly homogenous (you don’t want to beat the air and fluffiness out of the whipped cream).
Once totally mixed, set this bowl of mousse aside in the fridge.
Putting it all together
Now that the three major cake components are done, you can start putting things together. Plate the brownie base and spread the mousse evenly over the brownie almost all the way to the edge. Carefully place the cake on top of this and gently press it down. Chill this for an hour to let the cake firm up a bit as one unit.
While the cake is chilling, you need to prepare the last component: the ganache. For some reason, this was the first time I ever prepared a ganache that siezed up on me (where it looks slightly sloshy and oily), so I rescued it by briefly freezing it and stirring it regularly until it firmed up, then transferring it to the fridge (next time, I might opt for a more Familiar Ganache recipe that has never done me wrong) Ideally, you won’t have the same experience. Because of my experience and the fact that I was tired, I didn’t bother reserving any ganache for decorating the cake like the inspiration for this cake (Shawnda did a beautiful job). Anyways, enough babbling about the ganache–you ought to make it now.