Monday, April 26, 2010

Chocolate Overload Cake

I'm an introvert. I'm a hermit. I don't like to go to parties. Nevertheless, I was invited to what I thought was going to be a simple party for most of the ladies in the Spanish & Portuguese department of my university, but it turned out to be a bridal shower X 3/baby shower/farewell to departing colleagues/dancing fiesta instead haha.
We played a bunch of shower games such as wearing g-strings over our clothes (I placed my thong on my ears and under my chin hehe), dressing the two (out of 3) brides-to-be in toilet paper, placing condoms on big cucumbers, making and listening to marriage advice, etc. There was also a LOT of good food such as different types of salads, sandwiches, tamales (yum!), Challah bread, fondue, cream puffs, bacon-wrapped dates, etc. It was a fun party even for an introvert like me.
The main reason I originally agreed to go was because my friend/colleague, the host of the party, wanted me to make a chocolate cake for them. I was nervous about making a cake for everyone; it was my first time to do something like this.

I wanted my cake to be spectacular, so I thought of my chocolate mousse cheesecake (yes, I'm bringing this one up again) and made my own rendition of a Chocolate Overload Cake. All the components of the cake have been seen on my blog, but I'm going to post the recipes here along with process photos. Because of the over-abundance of chocolate, I decided to make vanilla bean ice cream to go with the cake. I doubled the recipe, so I used two vanilla beans in it. It was awesome. I'm not going to post the ice cream recipe here, but you can find it here. It is definitely my go-to recipe for vanilla bean ice cream.
My friends/colleagues were very impressed with the cake and ice cream. They kept asking me if I made the cake and if I'd made all of it. I had to keep saying, "YES YES YES!" hahah. They raved over it. I'm telling you, they were so loud and energetic throughout the party until they took the first bite of the cake. The talking stopped immediately; it sounded like I was in a library or something. LOL! Then they started telling me how good it was. The colleagues who have visited my blog started telling everyone about my blog. I felt so embarrassed. I wanted to just walk out because I don't like a lot of attention on me. I guess I should have realized ahead of time that that would happen with this cake. It did evolve into something much better than I had imagined. My cake-decorating skills are slowly getting better. I definitely need more practice, but I was pretty proud of how this cake looked. (I also found out that I need practice in taking photos of non-food items. Almost all of my photos were blurry at the party.)

I had enough buttercream to cover the cake and make the (wimpy) rosettes, but I didn't have enough to make a border at the bottom of the cake. The ganache dribbling down to the bottom of the cake helped a bit, though.
WHEN you make this cake, because you will hehe, eat the slice from the bottom to the top because the top is freaking orgasmically good! I love saving the best for last.

Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake
adapted by Hershey's and found here on my blog
(this recipe is also on the back of the Hershey's cocoa canister)

2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa (I used the dark cocoa this time)
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup buttermilk (I used whole milk)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling water (I used 2 Tbsp espresso + 1 cup boiling water instead)

Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans, and flip over onto wire racks. Cool completely. 10 to 12 servings.
Cut the top of the dome of the cake to make it even (My cake was too crooked, but it worked out fine). Then place the COOLED cake in a springform pan top-side down (see photos in the mousse recipe section below).
Mousse au chocolat/French Chocolate Mousse
adapted from Tyler Florence on Food Network and found here on my blog

6 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, chopped (I used Guittard this time; use good chocolate)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
2 tsp espresso powder (added to intensify chocolate flavor, optional)
3 eggs, separated
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream, cold (do not use half-frozen cream; the whipped cream will curdle)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

THE chocolate!If I don't get my block of chocolate from the grocery store, I go to a baking supply store called All-In-One Bake Shop in Austin, TX. They have different types of Guittard chocolate in bulk. I think it is a better deal to buy big blocks of high-quality chocolate than to get little four-ounce, packaged chocolates at the grocery store. Also, Guittard (or Callebaut, my other favorite) is a better quality of chocolate than the more common type in the store. Of course, there are other fantastic brands. Callebaut and Guittard are my favorites, though. I used up almost all of this chocolate in this Chocolate Overload Cake! WHOA!

Place the chopped chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl, and place over a saucepan containing barely simmering water (or use a double boiler). Melt the chocolate and butter together and stir with a whisk until smooth. Add in the espresso powder. Remove from heat and cool slightly. Add the egg yolks to the chocolate, 1 by 1, beating with a whisk until incorporated. Set aside.

In another bowl, beat the egg whites until foamy. Add the cream of tartar, and continue to beat. Gradually whisk in 1/4 cup sugar, and continue beating until stiff peaks form.Top: Egg whites; Bottom: Heavy cream

Beat heavy cream in a chilled bowl with chilled beaters until it begins to foam and thicken up. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons sugar and vanilla. Continue to whip the cream until it holds soft peaks.

Gradually and gently fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Then, delicately fold in the whipped cream. Take care not over work the mousse, but make sure you blend in the cream well.
Place the mousse on top of the first layer of cooled cake while still in the springform pan. Add the other cake layer. Add the other half of the mousse to the top layer. Flash freeze the cake for 1 hour and then cover with clear wrap to let freeze for 3 more hours or overnight.

Top left: cake pan turned upside down to release cake into springform. Other photos are of the layering process. I could have cut one layer of cake in half, but I wanted a tall cake. You could make this cake a four-layer cake, but I didn't want that responsibility haha. As you can see, just the first layer of cake went over the rim of the springform pan. Also, the cake was smaller than the pan, but it worked out fine.

Prepare the buttercream below, and refrigerate it if doing it ahead of time. If not, make it the day you'll be eating the cake.

Chocolate Buttercream
from the Daring Baker's Dobos Torte. Recipe copied from PastryPal

4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Guittard semi-sweet chocolate)
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons cocoa powder, Dutch-processed
1 1/4 cups (125 g) powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fill a pot with water, bring to a boil, and place a larger bowl filled with the chocolate over it. It will melt gently.Let the chocolate cool to lukewarm on the side. Meanwhile, beat the butter until completely smooth. Add cocoa powder and beat in. Sift the powdered sugar directly over the bowl and beat that in. Next, in goes the vanilla and the melted chocolate. Mix together, and place a crumb coating on the cake. Refrigerate or freeze the cake for 30 mins-1 hour. Then, add another coat of frosting.
I apologize for the awful photos. At least you can see what I did here. I scraped the sides of the cake because of the mousse peaking out of the cake layers. Once I evened out the sides, I was able to add a crumb coating of buttercream. After refrigerating the cake (and preferably the frosting as well), I added the second layer of buttercream.

If you want to do a lot of decorating with his frosting, I suggest making another half portion of this frosting or doubling it.

Espresso Ganache
adapted from and found here on my blog

1/2 cup heavy cream
4.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Guittard semi-sweet)
1-2 tsp espresso powder (optional)
1 Tbsp dark rum (I used vanilla extract instead)

Heat the cream in a small sauce pan over medium heat. Heat it up just BEFORE it boils. Place the cream over the bowl of chopped chocolate. Stir the mixture until smooth. Stir in the espresso powder and rum or vanilla extract. Allow the ganache to cool for about 15 minutes before pouring the mixture on top of the buttercream.
The process of making ganache.

Save the rest of the ganache for decorations (if you whip the ganache when it's cold, you can pipe a beautiful decoration) or save it for something else.
I totally need to learn how to take photos that don't include food and in low-light situations like this party. That is my next on non-food photography. My party photos look awful and shaky. I realize now that I should have increased the ISO.


  1. Que verdadera delicia de pastel, Un saludo

  2. Wow!!! Looks pretty good!!!
    Freeze the mousse overnight? Will it melt or stay put as mousse when it comes to room temperature?
    Hoping to make this :)

  3. Wendy - I froze the cake overnight and then placed it in the refrigerator the next day while I made the buttercream. The mousse was just fine. You do, however, want to make sure the entire cake isn't still frozen right before serving it. Alternatively, you could place the cake in the freezer for the 3-4 hours and then transfer it to the refrigerator overnight.

    Oh, I do hope you make this cake! It is beyond divine.

  4. wow che delizia!! complimenti!!!

  5. Wonderful! I love chocolate and ganache... yum. Cheers! Petra :)

  6. Wow so much chocolate. Looks brilliant.

  7. I was at the party and can confirm the cake was FANTASTIC!!!

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  9. This looks gorgeous and extremely, extremely chock full of chocolate. Save me a piece please!

  10. Memoria,
    The cake was divine! It really did shut us all up for a while. Thanks so much for making it for us!

  11. Te puedo asegurar que, hasta que no ví tu maravillosa tarta, no tenía hambre. Me habría encantado estar en esa fiesta y poder comer un trozo.
    Vou tentar o teu bolo. Debe ser incrível.
    Muito obrigado!

  12. This looks decidedly decadent...

    Come visit my blog, I have an award for you in this post

  13. I am sure this cake tastes amazing. Loads of chocolate, I like that!

  14. Wow!!!! it looks so delicious!!!!!

  15. That cakes looks like something someone forked over $50 for at a fancy bakery. It's gorgeous!! And quite a few people have told me about that Hershey's recipe being the best chocolate cake recipe in the world. I am sold now, especially after seeing what you did with it. I'm definitely going to have to try baking one.

  16. It looks beautiful! Congratulations on conquering your fears.

  17. I was giggling at the whole recipe. I see the orgasmic factor.

  18. Oh, I am totally a hermit too. I hate having to go to parties and the like - it is just so not me. But I'll tell ya, if I ever do have to arrive somewhere w/ a spectacular cake, this could be it. It is gorgeous. You did a beautiful job decorating!!

  19. This cake looks INTENSE. And dreamy.

    That espresso ganache is making me drool everywhere. You did a beautiful job!

  20. Wow, what a great looking cake...all chocolate :-) Looks so rich and full in flavor! Great pictures!

  21. I'm not surprised that they raved! This sounds awesome! I love the way ganache looks dripping down the sides :D

    I'm kind of an introvert, too. I'm not a huge fan of parties... I prefer to be in my kitchen most Friday nights ;)

  22. Wow, you pulled out all the stops on this cake. Callebaut chocolate--doesn't get better than that. Looks terrific.

    Thanks for stopping by my site!


  23. Wow your baking is absolutely fabulous.

  24. Usted debe estar muy orgullosos de su pastel. Es espectacular.

  25. I can only sit here and wish I was your colleague! 5 stars for this cake!!!!

  26. wow! i think I just gained 5 pounds!

  27. WOW! love it! Can you send a piece? I'm craving strawberries , like you said, so I'm going to try make your strawberry cake, Yummos!! Me encanta tu blog!!

  28. Ay! Que dulce tentacion! I'm speechless after just looking at it. This cake looks heavenly! :)

  29. Absolutely one of my favorite chocolate cake recipes. Yum!

  30. Oh. My. God. That looks divine. isn't it funny how people flip out over homemade ice cream? Gorgeous.

  31. Holy moly! This cake looks crazy. I'm a homebody too but I'd totally come out of the house for this cake! :)

  32. You can never go wrong with chocolate. Here's another treat, a chocolate dessert fondue. It takes no time to prepare, yet it can really adds impact to your party. You can get as creative as you want with the choices of dippers. Satisfy your craving with a classy chocolate fondue!

  33. Wow, you have outdone yourself, Memoria!!! And you should be very proud of your decorating skills - I made a cake similar to this one once and titled the post, "Ugliest, tastiest birthday cake"- LOL! I made a MESS of it! This looks like absolute heaven; I bet your co-workers were blown away!!!

  34. oh my god! not only are your recipes AMAZING, but your blog is wonderful! i love the photos you take, and the attention to pay to detail. i love it!

  35. OMG! I'm soooo craving a piece of this cake right now...salivating all over my laptop....
    love all the instructional photos...

  36. Holy moly Memória! This cake looks amazing. Dang those ladies are so lucky to have you in the same department. I love how you brought all these components together to what can only be described as the best chocolate cake ever. Also -- I'm with you on the non-food photos. Mine are awful. I now just use the auto settings on my camera.

  37. What a cake, what a tutorial!!! Mem, this is just amazing. The effort you put in is simply commendable. Thank you for this. And you should really be proud of yourself. It's a beautiful, beautiful cake!

  38. It was the best chocolate cake I've ever eaten. I'm a huge food snob, have an italian mother and a chef grandmother. So take that as the biggest compliment ever. Memoria, you should open up a side business when you become a professor :) Because I would pay good money for another slice!

  39. Your frosted cake with the rosettes was nice but then you added the ganache and it became BEAUTIFUL.

    Sam has been wanting chocolate cake with chocolate mousse and of course he loves espresso and ganache so I'm pretty sure he'd love this!

    BTW, I'm surprised that you were able to frost this cake with the layer of mousse of top. Is that because you frosted it while it was frozen? Did it not need an extra layer of cake on top tp support it?

  40. I can never can overloaded with chocolate ;p

  41. Gorgeous cake... so many wonderful chocolate things about it!!! I can't believe you shared it!

  42. Gorgeous! I love how dark the cake is. And the photos are fabulous - perfect lighting.

  43. Oh my....I am so impressed!!! What a treat you brought to that event! Bravo to you....BRAVO big time!!! :-)

  44. What an amazing cake! I'm a chocoholic, so this is a home-run winning cake. I'm sure the dessert was the star of your party :)

  45. This looks amazing, Memória! I know, I hate those parties, too. So juvenile, in a way. You did well and are a good sport. It is impossible not to draw attention to yourself when you take good food!

  46. Lol! I have never ever been to such a wild party! That must have been a blast even for a hermit like you.

    Your cake. I know it is amazing, because I make this one too. Only your's looks much prettier than mine.

  47. Better late than never--I finally got an opportunity to join in on the wonderful array of comments about this delicious looking cake! Que bellisima, Memoria :o) I want a big happy slice of this amazing cake sitting on my plate sitting in my dining room right now--Wow, all I can say is WOW! I so appreciate the attention to detail that you expended on this masterpiece, and I am so happy that (but not that surprised) that it was a hit at your party! You little chef, you!

  48. In this situation, an overload (of chocolate) is certainly a good thing. looks yummy!

  49. girl, those were some interesting shower games you played! wow! Great looking cake. Muy sexy!

  50. wow! that looks gorgeous !! =) i cnt wait for achance to make it!! sigh dreamy.. =)
    also i think your food photography skills are wonderful! if u could please put up some hints on how u do it, it would be ever so helpful!

  51. Rich, decadent and beautiful!

  52. Okay so at my next part YOU are invited. Bring this cake you hear!

  53. This is amazingly gorgeous and I can tell it was absolute chocolate-heaven! Good job, girl!

  54. Wow, your cake looks amazing and your step by step pictures are informative. What a great blog you have!

  55. YUM! Today is my boyfriend's birthday and when he told me he wanted chocolate cake I knew this was the one! I did most of the work yesterday, and will let you know how it tastes once we try it tonight! Do you wait until the last minute to put the ganache on? Does it need to stay in the fridge once buttercream and ganache are on?


  56. I love chocolate....I just love them...even though it is making me fat but I DON'T CARE! this cake is definitely awesome!

  57. Yummy Cake Recipe. This looks simply delicious. Your Cake looks awesome. Thanks for this recipe.

  58. Thanks for the recipe!!
    I made it for my best friend's birthday,
    and she LOVED it! :)

  59. ....WOW!!! What a wonderful cake!! Just want to make it as soon as possible!!

  60. MMMmmm madre mía que maravilla!!!
    Estaría horas miando tus deliciosas recetas!
    Que pena que tengo que irme a trabajar, pero esta noche seguiré mirando tu blog.

  61. BIG, BIG Like!!!!
    grazie for sharing teh recipe!!!
    It's marveous!!! Meraviglioso!!!!!


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