I love making cakes. It’s like building a house, but on a much much smaller scale. You mix the cement, you lay down the foundations, you erect the framework, and you plaster the walls and shingle the roof top. For the dinner party I hosted, I made one of the most chocolaty cakes I’ve ever made before. The cake itself has cocoa powder and dark chocolate as ingredients (which makes it the “double” chocolate cake). The filling is made out of extra-dark chocolate mousse, and the frosting out of dark chocolate buttercream.

I’ve made many cakes before, and this recipe caught my attention because it introduced the idea that the filling of the cake should not be the same as the frosting. I absolutely agree! There are many times a great cake is ruined by the fact that there is just too much frosting. A different filling allows you to take a break from the frosting and throws in a different mix of flavours, although in this case, you can’t get away from the chocolate.

To make the cake, first two 9 inch cake pans are buttered, and lined with cake paper. Most recipes will tell you to use parchment paper for the cake paper, which aids in the removal of the cakes from the pans after baking and cooling. Parchment paper isn’t that expensive, but I found a cheaper, and eco-friendly alternative. I use cut out brown paper bags from grocery stores. I have a ton of these bags laying around, and once in a while, I’ll cut out a stack of 9 inch rounds for my cake pans. It’s free and works perfectly. One thing to note is that you want to place the inked side down so that the side that has no print faces the cake. I’ve had times when the ink would leak and stain the cake, although no one would ever see that once the cake is frosted.

After the cake pan is lined, the paper and the sides of the pan is buttered again, and floured (in this case with a mixture of regular flour and cocoa powder). I like to sprinkle some flour in the middle of the pan, and then swirl it around until the bottom is completely coated, then hold the pan at a 90 degree angle, and tap and turn the pan as the side is coated with flour.

The pans are set aside until they are ready to use.

To mix the batter for the cake, you first whisk together the dry ingredients, which includes baking powder, flour, salt, and dutch pressed cocao powder.

For the wet ingredients, brown sugar, white sugar are beaten together on a stand mixer with eggs until pale and fluffy.

Then vegetable oil and melted and cooled bittersweet chocolate is added and beaten in, then buttermilk and vanilla.

The dry ingredients are folded gently into the wet ingredients, and the batter is ready to be used.

The cakes are baked in the oven and cooled on racks. I set these aside until I was ready to assemble the rest of the cake.

To make the delicious dark chocolate mousse filling, eggs and sugar are beaten until pale and fluffy.

Then extra bittersweet chocolate that has been melted and cooled is added to the mixture.

Once thoroughly mixed, some homemade whipped cream is folded in gently in two parts.

Please note that folding does not mean stirring. There are many video instructions online about how to fold in whipped cream, and I suggest checking these out if you are unsure what “folding” means. It’s a necessary skill to have for baking, and detrimental to the success of many different cakes, fillings, desserts in general. And it’s not as hard as some may think, just takes a bit of practice and common sense.

The finished mousse should have a consistency that is like whipped cream but slightly heavier. You can eat this as is or use it in the cake. Please note that if you do keep the mousse in the fridge as you work on the rest of the cake, that it will harden slightly, and you probably want to take it out of the fridge 10 or 20 minutes before you assemble the cake, or it will be a little hard to spread.

To make the chocolate buttercream frosting, some egg-whites and sugar are whisked in a metal container over a simmering pot of water until the sugar is completely dissolved, then the mixture is beaten until stiff and glossy.

Then, while the mixer is running at medium high speed, room temperature butter is added, a few tablespoons at a time, into the mixture, thoroughly incorporated before adding the next pieces of butter. The melted and cooled chocolate is added to this mixture once all the butter has been beaten in. At this point, you will be ready to assemble the cake!

I like my cakes nice and tall, so I halved each layer of cake to two, and my cake will have 4 layers of cake, and 3 layers of mousse in all.

I first spread a layer of chocolate mousse filling on one layer of cake, then top with the next, and the process is repeated until the top layer. Then I finished off the cake by frosting the whole thing with the buttercream frosting. The recipe tells you to cover the cake with a very very thin layer of frosting first, then refrigerating the cake for 10 minutes before proceeding with the completion of the frosting. This will ensure that your frosting does not have any crumbs in it.

I topped my cake with some salted caramel pieces and crushed chocolate toffee, as if there wasn’t enough chocolate already.

When I slice into my cake, I can see that all four layers are even, and my frosting is pretty even. This is something I try to perfect since the structural integrity of the cake is dependent on it, and visually it looks good.

Double-chocolate layer cake: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/double-chocolate-layer-cake-tom-douglas
Rich chocolate buttercream frosting: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/rich-chocolate-buttercream
Dark chocolate mousse filling: http://www.foodandwine.com/recipes/dark-chocolate-mousse-filling