This is the only photo I have of the actual birthday cake. Clearly demolished. It was a big hit which brought joy to my heart!
I am very picky when it comes to chocolate cake. VERY picky.
Mostly because chocolate cakes are not my first pick (I know, blasphemous). I’m more a lover of rich and creamy cheesecakes, like the peanut butter and chocolate cheesecake I made recently, or any other cakes with a creamy texture. I’ve also never been a big fan of overly rich cakes and I find that most chocolate cakes tend to be extremely rich. So! This recipe is one that I really love, it’s chocolatey and moist (and stays delicious and moist for days) with a really great chewy and dense texture without being overly rich. One of my favourite chocolate cakes growing up was the Woolworth’s chocolate mud cake (you’re probably thinking that I have terrible taste in chocolate cake now, but bear with me!).
I’ve made quite a few chocolate cakes in the past, usually cupcakes when I have a strong chocolate craving (doesn’t happen often), but this one is a little different. This cake I made for a friends 30th birthday party. As I mentioned before something I’ve really loved doing lately is just asking people what kinds if flavours, textures, and colours they like and designing a cake based on that. The requirements my friend gave me were that it should be a chocolate cake, with a dense texture, and her favourite colour is mustard. Another friend also reminded me that the birthday girl loves Oreos so I worked that into the recipe too.
This is from the Thermomix recipe. This was really delicious, and I topped it with chocolate Italian meringue and chocolate ganache
What I ended up making was a dense chocolate cake with Oreo Italian meringue, covered with white chocolate ganache and finished off with a mustard yellow glaze. Sadly, I was in such a rush to finish the cake and have it ready at the party that I totally forgot to take a photo of it. If you want to watch my decoration process though you can watch my decorating video on my instagram page.
So I tried different chocolate cake recipes multiple times in preparation for the party. I tried 3 different recipes and made 4 practise cakes before I made the giant 4 tiered version for my friends birthday.
This is the Cupcake Jemma recipe. Very yummy but not as moist as the Beatty recipe or the Thermomix recipe.
The recipes I trialled were Beatty’s Chocolate Cake by Ina Garten, The Ultimate Chocolate Cake Recipe by Cupcake Jemma, and The Best Ever Mud Cake by Thermomix. I love all these recipes. They’re all very delicious moist cakes and so simple to make. The Thermomix recipe is one I have made a few times in the past for myself and it was very moist and very chocolatey. I think it’s on par with Beatty’s chocolate cake which is the recipe I went with. Cupcake Jemma’s recipe is also a fantastic one, the one thing I did find with this recipe is that it doesn’t stay as moist as the other two recipes, it’s more crumbly as well. Beatty’s recipe was absolutely perfect. So moist with such a great dense and chewy texture, and it really stayed moist and fresh tasting for days.
If you’re like me and enjoy a chocolate cake that is chocolatey without being overly rich, and can last you a few days then you’ll love this recipe!
I was so stressed about getting this cake to the party on time that I didn’t take a photo of the cake when it was set properly on a cake board. This is a frame from the decorating video I made. Dense and Moist Chocolate Cake with Oreo Italian Meringue, covered in White Chocolate Ganache and Mustard Mirror Glaze Ingredients Chocolate Cake (Beatty’s Chocolate Cake with sugar cut by 50% and replacing some of the cocoa powder with chocolate blocks)
Butter, for greasing the pans
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
250g of 70% dark chocolate
1/3 cup cocoa powder
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoon baking powder
2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cup buttermilk, shaken
1 cup vegetable oil
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
(Note: this is double the original recipe as I needed to make 4x 8 inch pans, roughly 2 inches deep.)
Oreo Italian Meringue
210g egg white, chilled in fridge
270g caster sugar
600g unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 and 1/2 packet of original Oreos
White Chocolate Ganache (I used the Cupcake Jemma recipe for this and just replaced the dark chocolate with white chocolate)
300g white chocolate
150g unsalted butter
150g heavy cream
Mirror Glaze (I used the mirror glaze recipe from Chelsweets)
2 1/2 tsp or 1 envelope of powdered gelatin (7 grams), bloomed in 1/4 cup of additional water
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (300 grams)
3/4 cup water, room temp (180 grams)
2/3 cup sweetened condensed milk (170 grams)
2 cups miniature white chocolate chip (350 grams)
Instructions For the chocolate cake
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees celsius. Butter four 8-inch x 2-inch round cake pans (you can also dust the butter with flour, I didn’t need to do this).
Place the dark chocolate and coffee together in a pan and melt on low heat. Set aside the melted chocolate and coffee mixture.
Mix the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt together in a bowl and set aside.
In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, chocolate and coffee mixture, and vanilla. Sift in the dry ingredients and mix with a hand mixer or stand mixer. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
If you’re preparing the cake ahead of time, then I recommend you let the cake cool in the tin for about 5 mins, then turn them out and wrap them in 2 layers of cling wrap and place in a air tight container and place in the freezer. This is a great way to trap more of the moisture from the heat of the cake into the cake. When you’re ready to use the frozen layers, take it out to defrost before use.
For the Oreo Italian meringue
Separate the Oreo biscuit and the Oreo cream into two bowls. Place the Oreo biscuits into a food processor and break the biscuits up until it becomes crumbs. Set aside.
Place your sugar in a small pot and add water to the sugar. Do not stir this mixture.
Heat the sugar and water mixture until it hits 118 – 120 degrees (celsius). Do not mix at all, if you leave this mixture along it should dissolve without crystallising.
Once the sugar reaches around 100 degrees, you can start beating the egg whites. Beat the egg whites in a stand mixer on high until 100% firm.
Once the sugar mixture is ready, pour this slowly into the egg white while still mixing on high. This prevents the egg white from cooking. Make sure you pour the sugar in slowly and in a consistent stream.
Continue to mix the egg white and sugar mixture until the mixture is room temperature. This could take a while.
Make sure the egg white and sugar mixture is at room temperature before adding the butter in or it will melt. Turn the mixer to low and gradually add in the butter.
Mix on high until the smooth.
Slowly add in the Oreo cream (you can taste in between to see if you want to add more or less). Mix until smooth.
Finally add in the Oreo biscuit crumbs into the mixture. Mix until evenly distributed.
You can pop this in the fridge to chill for a bit if needed – the meringue will need to be room temp when decorating.
For White Chocolate Ganache
In a bowl, place the white chocolate (broken into little pieces) and butter together. Microwave in 20 second intervals, stirring the mixture in between until the chocolate is melted and the butter and chocolate is fully combined.
Add in cream and stir until all combined and smooth. Set aside.
For Mirror Glaze
Begin by mixing gelatin in a bowl with 1/4 cup of water. Set aside to let it bloom while you begin the glaze.
Pour sugar, water, and sweetened condensed milk in a heatproof bowl.
Heat for 90 seconds on high power in the microwave.
Remove the mixture and stir the mixture until smooth. Pour in the bloomed gelatin and whisk until the gelatin is fully dissolved.
Melt the white chocolate chips in microwave by heating it in 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval. Once the white chocolate is fully melted, pour the chocolate into the warm gelatin mixture.
Carefully whisk mixture until fully combined. Pour through a sieve to remove any chunks of unmelted chocolate or stubborn bits of gelatin.
Continue to stir occasionally (to prevent a skin from forming), until the glaze is just slightly warm to the touch. Mix in a few drops of food colour until you achieve a colour you like. To get the mustard colour I used the AmeriColor softgel paste food color in 106 Egg Yellow. I also separated a small amount of the glaze and mixed in the Over the Top Edible Metallic Paint in Classic Gold.
Place a chilled buttercream cake (in the freezer at least 10 minutes or the fridge for 1 hour) on top of a circular object smaller than the cake board, and set this on top of large baking sheet to catch the run-off glaze.
Assembling the cake
So the way you decorate this and put it all together it entirely up to you, but this is the way I chose to put it all together.
You can trim each cake layer to ensure that it’s smooth. If you froze the cake then I’d recommend trimming while the cake is still partially frozen so it’s easier to trim and crumbs less.
Now, if you intend to pour a glaze over the cake later, I’d recommend you get a cake board which is the same size as your cake layer or cut a piece of cardboard to the same size. Place that at the bottom of your turntable.
Place one cake layer down on the cake board/cardboard if you’re using it (you can put a bit of Italian meringue at the bottom of the cake layer to keep it stable on the turntable). Cover with a layer of the Oreo Italian butter cream, you can make this as thick as you like. Continue this process until you’ve used each layer of chocolate cake.
Use the remaining Oreo Italian meringue to cover the entire cake. Cover and smooth out the meringue until the entire cake is covered and you’re satisfied with the coverage and neatness. This acts as your crumb layer. Pop this in the fridge to set, this makes it easier when you smooth the ganache over the top.
Smooth the ganache over the meringue layer until even. Make sure the ganache is at room temperature when doing this so it doesn’t melt your meringue layer. Place this in the fridge again to set until hard and cold.
Now, you’ll want to gently remove it and place it on top of something flat which is slightly smaller than your cake base. The reason is that you want the glaze to run over the cake and be able to drip off the edge. Place a large tray beneath this setup to catch the run off glaze.
Pour the glaze evenly over the cake, make sure that you’ve covered the entire cake. You may find that you’ll need to layer the glaze over the cake. After each layer, let the cake set for a little bit until no more glaze is running off the cake.
Once you’re happy with the glaze covering, and no more glaze is running off the edge, use a knife or cake spatula to smooth the bottom edge of the cake until you’ve cleaned up the glaze.
Gently pick up the cake and place on to a large cake board or serving plate and voila! You’re done!
Enjoy the recipe and if you try it out, share with me your results! Happy baking!