Chocoholic’s Triple-layer Chocolate Cake recipe

{Chocoholic’s triple-layer chocolate cake recipe} This is my ultimate chocoholic’s chocolate cake creation. A triple-layer chocolate cake dressed in mocha ganache frilled with milk chocolate shards and topped with caramelised hazelnuts and chocolate pastille roses. The trickiest must be the caramelised hazelnuts, only because things could get very messy! And cooled caramel is a bit of a pain at clean up. I like to bring my pans and pots to a boil to ease the work of cleaning up. Just be very careful working with hot caramel and heated baking trays, pans and pots. Having said that, I find chocolate to be the best fool-proof cake. Few people I know don’t love chocolate cake!

I’m always inspired by chocolate. It’s the ubiquitous luxe dessert and always a must on my hubby’s birthday, just because I know he’ll always love it. He shows this by taking a bite then letting his eyes roll to the back of his head. A big smile of appreciation and his delighted look of absolute approval tells me I’ve reaffirmed my status as his domestic goddess. Hah. This was another cake I made for his birthday. Another candle was lighted, a wish whispered in closed eyes and amidst the kids’ excited giggles, my good man C blew out the candle as we applaused in glee. What’s a birthday without a to-die-for cake in our household…

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To make and assemble a Chocoholic Ultimato Cake of your own, you ought to use your favourite favourite chocolate cake concoctions. Mine was triple-layered but a double or single is fine as well. The main thing is to dress it up for the wow factor. If you haven’t got your own fave, the following is my somewhat altered, abridged version of Donna Hay’s Chocolate Mud Cake recipe, a wickedly decadent recipe in itself but doubly wicked once paired with my rice chocolate icing. Wicked on the waistline but heavenly in the mouth…if you’re trying out this recipe, always try to spend a little more on getting good quality baking chocolate. It really blankets the final fudgey taste like nothing else can. I like to use Plaistowe 70% Premium Dark Chocolate for mine.It is a recipe for double layers only. You’ll have to double it for extra layers.

Besides the caramel coated hazelnuts, I’ve decorated it using chocolate pastillage roses (dries harder than gum paste; but can be substituted by chocolate fondant), edible gold paint and lined its edges with some cracked milk chocolate shards. I constructed those out of melting chocolate then sandwiching it between two sheets of baking paper then letting it set hard in the fridge.

CHOCOHOLIC ULTIMATO CAKE
375g butter, softened at room temp
2 C brown sugar
3 eggs
2 C plain flour; sifted
1/2 tsp baking powder
2/3 C cocoa powder, sifted twice
200g dark chocolate, melted (can be substituted for milk chocolate if preferred)
3/4 C milk
Chocoholic Ultimo Cake
Directions:
1. Have your oven heated to 160 degrees. Beat the butter and sugar for 8-10 min until light and creamy. Gradually add eggs (1 at a time), beat well.

2. Fold in the sifted flour, baking powder, cocoa and melted chocolate and stir in the milk.

3. Spoon the batter into a 22cm (8 1/2″) round cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Bake for 65-75 min or till done (tested with a skewer).

4. Cool in the tin. If serving without fudge glaze icing, dust with cocoa and serve on its own or with cream.

CARAMEL COATED HAZELNUTS
A handful of hazelnuts, toasted lightly and skinned
3 C sugar
3/4 C water

Directions:
Stack a few pots above on your countertop and a baking tray resting above the tallest pot. Line the countertop with parchment or ‘baking paper’ as we call it in Australia and reserve some wooden skewers to skewer the top of the nuts for dipping. Simply stick the skewer into the top of each hazelnut by a fraction of an inch. Dip the nut into the caramel, let the excess run off, and set the caramel coated nut on the parchment to dry. Remove the skewer once the caramel hardens.

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Directions:
Heat sugar and the water in a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sugar is dissolved and syrup turns clear. Stop stirring; cook until syrup comes to a boil, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush to prevent crystals from forming. Continue to boil, gently swirling occasionally, until mixture to amber in colour. Remove from stove to stop the cooking; let stand until thickened, about 5-10 minutes. (To test: Dip a skewer in caramel and lift a few inches; if a thick drip slowly forms and holds a string, the caramel is ready.) Dip a skewered hazelnut into caramel, letting excess drip back into pan. When dripping syrup becomes a thin string, secure opposite end of skewer with scotch tape on the baking tray stacked on top of your tallest stacked pot. Repeat with remaining hazelnuts. (If caramel hardens before all hazelnuts have been dipped, rewarm it over low heat.) Let stand until caramel string has hardened, about 5 minutes; break each string to desired length. Carefully remove skewers. You should try to use them on the same day or store uncovered at room temperature until ready to decorate your dessert.

DARK CHOCOLATE ICING

2 C icing sugar, sifted finely
120g butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla extract
200g dark chocolate, melted
1/2 TB Cointreau ( or any other orange liquer)
1/2 TB milk

Directions:

Slice cake into half when it has cooled completely. In a large bowl, using an electric whisker set at low speed, beat the icing sugar with the softened butter,and the vanilla extract and orange liquer till they are all well mixed. Add the melted chocolate (slightly cooled), beat everything together until light and fluffy. Apply half the glaze to the top of one half of the mud cake, then sandwich the other half on top of the glazed half. Continue to glaze the top of the whole cake including the edges till the whole cake is covered in the glaze. Let the icing set (it will become firm to the touch) and refrigerate the cake till fully set.

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