Take-Home Chocolate Cake

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I was in Barnes & Noble the other day (I know, how quaint, right? I actually like to buy books IN the bookstore…RIP bookstores) and I saw this beautiful cookbook called Sweet. I knew I had to have it based on the cover alone (yep, I judged it by its cover…and I’m glad I did). I sat and drooled over the recipes and kept bookmarking recipe after recipe to try. The first? Take-home cake.

Mother of Dragons…this is a special cake. It’s so moist. It’s dense. It’s brownie-like. The espresso makes the chocolate pop in such a decadent way and paired with the dreamy ganache and the espresso mascarpone whip that I may, or may not have, piped directly into my mouth (read: I did. I did do this.)…it was the most delicious dessert I have had in a long time and the fact that I had baked it myself made it even better.

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Ingredients – Cake

  • 1 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp / 250 g unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 3/4-inch / 2-cm cubes (plus extra for greasing)
  • 7 oz / 200 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), chopped into 3/4 inch / 2-cm pieces
  • 1 1/2 tsp instant coffee granules, dissolved in 1 1/2 cups / 350 ml boiling water
  • 1 1/4 cups / 250 g granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 3/4 cups plus 2 tbsp / 240 g self-rising flour
  • 1/2 cup / 30 g Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Ingredients – Ganache

  • 7 oz / 200 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken or chopped roughly into 3/4-inch / 2-cm pieces
  • 3/4 cup / 180 ml heavy cream
  • 1 tbsp light corn syrup
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature

Ingredients – Espresso Cinnamon Mascarpone Cream

  • 1 1/2 cups plus 1 tbsp / 375 ml heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup / 190 g mascarpone
  • scraped seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod
  • 2 1/2 tsp finely ground espresso
  • 3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 1/2 tbsp confectioners’ sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350* F / 170* C. Grease a 9-inch (23-cm) round spring-form pan and line with parchment paper, then set aside.
  2. Place butter, chocolate and hot coffee in a large heatproof bowl and mix well until everything is melted, combined and smooth. Whisk in the sugar by hand until dissolved. Add the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk again until thoroughly combined and smooth. Sift the flower, cocoa powder and salt together into a bowl and whisk this into the melted chocolate mixture. The batter here is liquid, but don’t think you have missed something, this is how it should be. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 60 minutes, or until the cake is cooked and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean or with just a few dry crumbs attached (in my oven, it took 75 minutes). The top will be a little dry and cracked, but that is to be expected, so don’t worry. Cool IN THE PAN for at least 20 minutes (I think you should cool completely in the pan. Because the top cracks, if you pull from the pan when the cake is still super hot, you run the risk of it cracking in half – so if you have time, I say cool on a wire rack, in the pan until at room temperature). If you do flip it out, cool right side up (with the cracked top facing up).
  3. Meanwhile, make your ganache. Grab a food processor and finely chop the dark chocolate. In a small pan over medium high heat, scald the cream and corn syrup. Just before it begins to boil (as soon as you start to see bubbles), pull the pan from the stove. Turn the food processor back on, and pour the scalded cream mixture in a steady stream into the food processor. Process for about 10 seconds more, then add the butter. Process for another 30 seconds or so or until the butter is completely incorporated. Pour the ganache into a glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap (with the plastic wrap TOUCHING the ganache). Cool for a least 20 minutes (if you want a ganache glaze) or for about 2 hours (if you want a more spreadable ganache).
  4. For the espresso mascarpone cream, combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and whip with a wire whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Serve on the side.

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