This month's Random Recipe challenge brought me to Debbi Fields' Great American Desserts. On page 194, you will find a recipe for a truly guilty pleasure - and I am guilty, because I loved using two entire pounds of semi-sweet chocolate in this dessert. My kitchen smells like a candy factory and I have licked every spoon and spatula from the batter, to the chocolate frosting, to the coffee Kahlua syrup. To say that there is a lot of sugar and fat in this recipe would be an understatement. Blame it on Dom. It was his idea to choose a random cookbook, open it to a random page and then ... stir, swirl, pour, and bake.
This cake was made for dear friends who are visiting this weekend. I promised a 'killer chocolate cake' knowing that I would be making this 'random recipe' - it's so rich that I had to wait half the month to make it 'for an occasion'. This is NOT the kind of dessert to make for just the two of us ... it's a 10" x 5" 'sugar bomb' that's just waiting for a pot of expresso.
So here we go!
Triple Truffle Cake involves making a bread crumb and almond flour-based jelly roll cake. The cake is sliced in such a fashion as to make a triple layer cake. Each layer is brushed with a coffee and Kahlua syrup and then frosted with a rich chocolate icing. The chocolate for the cake is melted in a microwave by using short intervals and frequent stirring. The almond flour and bread crumbs are whisked together beforehand to break up the almond flour. Butter and sugar get whipped until creamy and then egg yolks are added one at a time. The egg whites provide the leavening in this cake ... they're stiff when you fold them into the batter.
Once the batter is ready, a jelly roll pan is buttered and lined with buttered parchment paper. The batter gets a gentle spread into all the corners, is leveled out and baked for a short time. While the cake bakes, coffee syrup is made. I used instant coffee flakes (don't hate me!), sugar, Kahlua, and hot water. Once the coffee syrup is made, you can make the icing. Cream, corn syrup, and butter gets a fast boil and stir. Then, it's poured over a lot of semi-sweet chocolate blocks. It sits there and softens the chocolate until you can whisk the whole mess together to make a glossy icing. The icing gets refrigerated until it begins to thicken to a 'spreading consistency'. That leaves plenty of time for you to deal with the cake.
When the cake comes out of the oven, it gets a short rest in the pan before you tip it out onto a cooling rack, pull the parchment paper free, and tip it back onto some paper on the counter for final cooling. I got the serving plate ready and then measured and scored the tops while it cooled. Once cool, I sliced the cake into thirds and brushed each third just as I was getting ready to deal with it .
I thought I was going to be able to deal with the assembly and icing while the cake was on the serving platter. Nope. After I got all three layers, brushed with coffee syrup, given a layer of icing, and placed, I got the rest of the icing into a piping bag. I'm no professional, so I purposefully went with a 'random' squiggle approach when piping the icing - back and forth, back and forth across the top of the cake. Then it came time to go up and down, up and down around the sides. I just didn't have maneuvering room. This is where I began to swear a bit. I ended up sliding a piece of cardboard under the waxed paper that I (thank God!) had under the cake. I transferred the whole cake to an elevated platform (an upturned casserole pan), brought the cake to the edge of the cardboard and piped the icing up and down, up and down. It was a pain in the butt, but it worked. Then, when the sides had been piped. I used the rest of the icing to fill in gaps. I used the cardboard to transfer the cake back to the serving platter and ... voila! Triple Truffle Cake!
Now, if I can keep Silent Bob from dragging his finger down one side for a quick taste of the icing, I'll consider the challenge complete!
Triple Truffle Cake
courtesy of Debbi Fields’ Great American Desserts
4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
6 tbsp, unsalted butter
½ c. sugar, divided in half
4 large eggs, room temperature, separated
4 oz. finely ground blanched almond flour
1/3 c. plain bread crumbs (GF bread or matzo meal works just fine!)
½ tsp. cream of tartar
Chocolate Frosting Ingredients:
1 c. heavy cream
2 tbsp. unsalted butter
1 ½ tbsp. light corn syrup
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate, broken up
Coffee Syrup Ingredients:
¼ c. strong coffee
¼ c. sugar
1 tbsp. Kahlua (or another coffee liqueur)
Making the Cake:
1. Preheat oven to 325° F, butter a 10 x 15 inch jelly roll pan and line it with parchment paper. Butter the parchment paper too. Set aside.
2. Melt the chocolate in a small glass bowl in the microwave by heating it in 30 second intervals and stirring in between. When the chocolate is melted, set it aside to cool a bit while you begin the batter.
3. Whisk together the bread crumbs and almond flour together in a small bowl and set aside.
4. Separate the eggs, placing the whites in a clean glass bowl with the cream of tartar. Set aside.
5. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and half the sugar until creamy. Add the egg yolks one at a time and beat for a count of 20 between each one.
6. Turn in the bread crumbs and almonds and mix until incorporated. Set aside.
7. Using a mixer, whip the egg whites and cream of tartar until they are frothy. Then, add the other half of the sugar a bit at a time and continue whipping until the whites start to stiffen into peaks.
8. Turn one third of the meringue into the cake batter and fold it in to loosen the chocolate and flour mass.
9. Gently fold in the rest of the meringue until there are no white streaks in the batter.
10. Gently spread the batter into the jelly roll pan and bake in the pre-heated oven for 20 minutes.
11. Remove from the oven and let the pan rest for ten minutes. Then, turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and gently peel off the parchment paper. Tip the cake to a flat surface and allow to cool completely while you make the icing and coffee syrup.
Making the Coffee Syrup:
Mix the hot coffee and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the Kahlua and set aside with a brush for later use.
Making the Chocolate Frosting:
1. Place 12 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate in a deep bowl and set aside.
2. Mix the butter, cream, and corn syrup in a heavy saucepan and place it over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.
3. Pour the boiling hot mixture over the chocolate and llet it rest for five minutes. Then stir to break up and melt the chocolate.
4. When the chocolate has melted, whisk the mixture briskly until it is smooth and glossy.
5. Cover loosely and refrigerate until the icing cools to a spreading consistency.
Assembling the Cake:
1. When the icing has reached a good spreading/piping consistency, begin to assemble the cake.
2. Measure and score the surface of the cake. Slice it into three sections. Each section should be 10 inches long and 5 inches wide.
3. Line an elevated cake decorating platform with a stiff piece of cardboard and top it with a piece of waxed paper or parchment paper that measures a bit larger than the finished sized of the cake ( 10 x 5 inches).
4. Place one cake layer on the paper and brush the top surface with the coffee syrup.
5. Give it a thin coat of icing, then place the second layer on top, brush with syrup, and ice it thinly. Place the top layer on and brush with coffee syrup.
6. Place the rest of the icing in a piping bag that is fitted with a fluting tip. Pipe the icing back and forth across the top layer of the cake. Then pipe icing up and down all the way around the sides of the cake.
7. Let the cake set up for several minutes and then gently slide the cake (on the parchment paper) to a serving platter of your choice.
8. Decorate with chocolate leaves, fresh edible flowers and herbs, or pipe extra icing around the edges to hide the parchment paper edges.
9. Cover loosely to store. The icing will firm up so if you wait a bit, you can lay plastic wrap loosely around the cake without fear of ruining the effect.