Midnight Dark Chocolate Cake

August 9, 2014

Valrhona dark chocolate 4-layer cake with dark chocolate frosting, crowned with golden pulled sugar swirls. Need I say more? :)

This cake is a cacophony of firsts - a new chocolate cake recipe, my first Valrhona chocolate bar, my first 4-layer cake, my first successful frosted cake, and my first try at playing with pulled sugar. I wasn't expecting it to be as successful as it was but hey, I was glad. I was absolutely pleased with this cake and the housemates agree. M couldn't stop asking for this cake that I had to limit his consumption lest his workouts be for naught.

The cake is dark and moist and tastes divine even without the frosting. M and I finished all the cake scraps from the shavings I made to even out the layers. The frosting is creamy and shiny and packed with rich, dark chocolate flavor. I would cut back on the powdered sugar next time because I like my chocolate cake a little bit bitter but for sweet tooths out there, this is perfect.

With all of that said, I think I found a new favorite chocolate cake recipe! :) This cake tastes better than most chocolate cakes I've tried from bakeries all over and as far as I can remember, out of all the chocolate cakes I've had, this sits at the top of my favorites list with Chocolat's Death by Tablea Cake and that wonderful chocolate dessert degustation M and I had in Caprice, Hong Kong after THE proposal (which probably will always be THE best, most memorable dessert of all time ;) ).

The pulled sugar swirls were tricky to make, and quite messy I might add. Byron Talbott made it look so easy in his video but being the noob that I am, I expected it to be more difficult than it looked - I didn't even expect to be able to make a decent swirl, to say the least. But thankfully everything turned out for the best and I think this cake is the most satisfyingly successful experiment I've done to date.

Eat this cake at room temperature for the best texture. For a perfect YOLO moment, pair a slice with a cup of hot coffee for breakfast, or with a tall glass of cold milk for a midnight snack. The extra calories will undoubtably be worth it - I promise. Give this recipe a go and let me know how it goes!

Midnight Dark Chocolate Cake Print Recipe
Recipe adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, makes one 4-layer, 6-inch cake
For the Cake
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped - I used Valrhona 66%
  • ⅓ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • ¾ cup hot coffee
  • ¾ cup bread flour
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 6 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the Frosting
  • 1¼ cups unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ¾ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • pinch of salt
  • ¾ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 8 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled - I used Valrhona 66%
  1. Make the Cake: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 6-inch round baking pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. I used springform pans. Grease the top of the parchment paper and sides of the pan, and then lightly dust with cocoa powder.
  2. Place the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Pour the hot coffee over the mixture and whisk until smooth. Refrigerate mixture for 20 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt and baking soda in a medium bowl; set aside.
  4. Whisk the oil, eggs, vinegar and vanilla extract into the cooled chocolate mixture until smooth. Add the flour mixture and whisk until smooth.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake until the cakes are set, firm to the touch, and a cake tester comes out clean, 22 to 25 minutes. Cool the cakes in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then remove the cakes from the pan and place on the wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour.
  6. Make the Frosting: In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix the butter, sugar, cocoa powder and salt until smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the corn syrup and vanilla extract and mix until just combined. Scrape the sides of the bowl, then add the chocolate and mix until smooth and creamy.
  7. Assemble the cake: Once the cakes have cooled completely, cut each cake in half horizontally, making sure the layers are approximately the same size, flat, and even. You may have to scrape the top layer of each cake to make it flat. You will end up with four layers of cake.
  8. Place one layer of cake on a cake stand or cake board, smooth about 1/5 of the frosting on top; repeat with the remaining layers. Crumb coat the entire cake and stick in the fridge for 20 minutes until crumb coat has set. Frost cake with the remaining frosting. Top with any kind of decoration you desire or leave as is.

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