Over-the-Top Chocolate Layer Cake with Coffee Mascarpone Cream and Chocolate-Coffee Ganache

(Love the combination Chocolate - Coffee (photo: Sharon Heinrich
Have you ever had coffee in Paris? If so, I bet you’re pursing your lips right now and recalling how the coffee in the city of culinary delights is, well, not much to write home about. You’re right—despite the fact that in the past few years many new cafés have opened, including big-name chains, Paris’ coffee scene is still underdeveloped and a work in progress. Young people come to Paris from all over the world to study, work, and be inspired, adding their own touches to the local culinary scene, particularly café culture. Up until not so long ago, we had to travel half an hour to get a good cup of coffee, the kind made by a barista who knows his way around an espresso machine, and, more importantly, prepared with fresh milk. Yep, that café au lait that you drink in a Parisian bistro is made with shelf-stable, Tetra pak-packaged milk. But at least it comes with a view of the most beautiful city in the world, right?

Recently two friends—one French, the other Australian—opened a new café right near our house. It’s called O Coffeeshop, and not only is it cute, but we can also (finally!) get good coffee without having to take the metro. Timothy, the Frenchman, and Matthew, the Australian, have become our friends, and in the days of the galettes leading up to Epiphany, every day they would wait for us, and together we’d slice a galette, analyze its flavor, and look for the charm inside. And thus we got our first neighborhood café.

I absolutely love coffee and think it’s great in desserts, especially chocolaty ones. Frigid winter days led me to concoct one of my most over-the-top cakes of late: it has butter, mascarpone, heavy cream, chocolate, and—the real star—coffee. And no, I don’t think it’s overkill—instead, call it rich, delicious, and heartwarming. Now I’m off for a run… Here’s the recipe in the meantime!

(So so yummmy (photo: Sharon Heinrich
Chocolate Cake with Coffee Mascarpone Cream and Dark Chocolate Coffee Ganache
Makes one 20x25-cm (6 cm tall) (or 25-cm ring) cake

Ingredients:
Chocolate-Nut Cake
200 grams butter, softened (not melted)
140 grams sugar
4 large eggs
100 grams nuts, finely chopped
150 grams good-quality dark chocolate (I used 66% cocoa)

Whipped Milk Chocolate Ganache
300 grams milk chocolate
300 grams heavy whipping cream, plus additional 100 grams to add during whipping

CoffeeMascarpone Cream
280 grams heavy whipping cream
100 grams white chocolate, chopped
280 grams mascarpone
3 tablespoons coffee mixed with 2 tablespoons hot water to form a paste

Dark Chocolate Coffee Ganache
180 grams dark chocolate, chopped
200 grams heavy whipping cream
1 tablespoon instant coffee crystals

Preparation:
Chocolate-Nut Cake:
1.    Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius and grease a 20x25-cm pan. Mix together the sugar, eggs, and butter in a large bowl using a whisk, hand mixer, or stand mixer. No need to whip them—just mix until combined.
2.    Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or the microwave. Cool slightly. Then add it to the butter mixture and mix until combined. Add the nuts and mix.
3.    Pour into the pan and bake until set, but not dry, about 30 minutes. Cool to room temperature.

Whipped Milk Chocolate Ganache:
4.    Heat 300 grams cream in a small pot until simmering.
5.    In a medium bowl, pour the hot cream over the chocolate, wait a few seconds, then stir to make a smooth ganache. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours.
6.    Remove from the fridge, add the remaining cream, and whip until light and airy. Be careful not to over-whip, as the ganache can break.
7.    Pour the ganache over the chocolate cake and smooth using an icing spatula. Refrigerate until firm.

Coffee Mascarpone Cream:
8.    Heat the cream until simmering.
9.    Pour the hot cream over the chocolate in a bowl, wait a few seconds, then stir to make a smooth ganache. Refrigerate for about an hour.
10.  Combine the mascarpone and chocolate ganache, add the coffee paste, and mix. Refrigerate for 2 hours.
11.  Remove from the fridge, and whip until stiff peaks form.
12.  Spread the mascarpone cream over the whipped ganache layer, smooth with an icing spatula, and refrigerate until firm.

Dark Chocolate Coffee Ganache:
13.  Combine the cream and coffee and heat until simmering.
14.  Pour the hot cream over the chocolate, wait a few seconds, then stir with a spatula to make a smooth ganache. Stir very carefully without lifting the spatula from the bottom of the bowl in order to avoid incorporating air bubbles.
15.  Pour the ganache over the cake, and shake the pan lightly to spread it or use an icing spatula to smooth and make designs.
16.  Refrigerate for a few hours; then, dig in!

(So are you going to make it? (photo: Sharon Heinrich


Yours
Sharon

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