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Mt. Chocolatta

Sometimes it's fun to step away from the boring "perfect" and fancy cakes... and step into a cake that is just a big pile of decedent delight.

BLOG POSTINGS > Desserts & Baking

Mt. Chocolatta

by zirbirt

I have noticed a disturbing trend in cake as of late. It seems everyone is focused on making a very pretty cake, but not really all that concerned with how the cake tastes. Fondant, I think, is the ultimate proof of this. Fondant is just plain gross.. yes it is pretty, but I don't want a mouth full of thick barely edible sugar paste when I take a bite of a cake.

So, its time to put away the cake tips and bags.. throw the fondant where it belongs.. and set aside that classic buttercream frosting.. Its time to leave the food colorings in the cupboard and make a cake that is a huge middle finger to all those decorated cakes.. but is also delivers ecstasy in every bite.

It is time to build Mt Chocolatta.

Mt Cocolatta was a concept I came up with some years ago. The idea is actually pretty simple. I wanted a cake that was rich and moist and chocolaty.. but also gooey and sticky and all the things you love to feel in your mouth with a good dessert. So, I built a cake based on that concept... and it was UGLY.. but really good. So, I had a choice, I could either figure out how to make it pretty.. and be in line with the rest of the cake baking world.. or I could take it to a new level of ugly.. and make it all wrong. On this one, I wanted to play into the ugly.

The Basic Elements of this cake are:

1) 4 layers of Rich Moist Chocolate sponge (cake)
2) Chocolate Mousse between each layer
3) Boiled frosting (Very similar to marshmallow in flavor and texture)
4) Chocolate Ganache for the top

STEP 1: The Sponge

2 cups flour (all purpose)

3/4 cocoa
1 Tbs Espresso Powder
2 tsp Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt

2 cups sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup Milk
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 cup water

* note the above makes enough for 2 9-inch cake pans... with a little left over for a couple of cupcakes. I actually used 14" pans, so I made a bit more than is shown in the above recipe.

So first I sift my dry ingredients (basically the whole first part of the list up to and including the salt). You can use a sifter for this.. I don't own one, I just don't like to have big clunky things I don't really need, so I use a metal strainer and just put everything in there and tap it over a bowl until it is all sifted in.

Next I take the vegetable oil and the sugar and put them in my stand mixer with a paddle attachment (or you can use a regular mixer if you want).. I mix that on high for about a minute... then slide in my milk and vanilla.. and add the eggs 1 at a time.

Then I mix in my flour mixture in 3 stages... making sure it is fully incorporated.

It will seem a little thin.. and this next step will make you cringe because it will seem VERY thin after it.. I add in, 1 cup of hot water and mix it in thoroughly.

I then transfer this to my prepared pans. (prepared meaning I sprayed them with cooking spray and added flour to the pan, and made sure flour covered the entire inside of the pan)

Now I just bake this at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes.. then check every 3-5 minutes after to see if they are done. They are done when you can press gently on the top and they spring back up.

Cake is funny stuff. It can go from moist and delicious to dry and blown in a matter of minutes. So, as it gets closer to being done, you want to check on it a little more frequently. So, if it's very wobbly on top, then wait 5 minutes before checking.. but if its just a little loose.. go 2 or 3 minutes before checking. As soon as it bounces back, remove the cake from the oven.

Let the cake cook for a few minutes, then transfer it to a wire rack till fully cooled.

Then we need to split each cake into 2 layers.. I begin by taking a large knife and slicing the top of the cake to make it level. I then take either some thread or dental floss (unused hopefully).. and wrap it around the cake, basically where I want the cut to be. I overlap the two ends.. and pull, and the cake is then split into 2 layers.

I do this with both cakes, (4 layers total), then separate them with seran wrap, and freeze them for at least 4 hours.

* remember this is a 14" cake, these layers are no where near as thin as the look in the picture.

So, why freeze it? you might ask. Well.. the frozen cake is MUCH easier to work with, and it will cool the filling and the frosting. So it is an all win. By the time I am done working with it, the cake will no longer be frozen, but by then it will be fully encased in frosting, so it doesn't matter.

next up:

STEP 2: The filling

I like my filling to be wet. Meaning, I like pudding, mousse or fruity fillings over boring frosting fillings. In this case a simple chocolate mousse will be perfect.

Simple Chocolate Mousse Filling
2 cups milk
2 cups heavy cream
2 Packages Instant chocolate pudding.

For this I use a whisk attachment, but again standard beaters will work.

I put 2 cups of milk and 2 packets of pudding into a bowl and mix it until it becomes thick.

Then I put in 2 cups of Heavy cream and mix on high until it turns into mousse.

I then take my cake from the freezer, and put a third of this between each layer. Doing my best to keep everything nice and level.

Now we can move onto...

Step 3: The frosting

Boiled Frosting
3 Cups Sugar
1 Tbs Corn Syrup
1/4 tsp Salt
2/3 cup water
4 Egg Whites
3 tsp vanilla

For this we will need a hand held electric mixer and a double boiler. I have done this before with a metal bowl over boiling water, just be sure that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl.. you want all the heat to come from the steam.

Separate your eggs. I usually use 2 small bowls, one for collecting the leftover yolks, the other for separating the white into. As I finish each egg, and the white is yolk free, I dump it into my main bowl. This way, if I mess up, I only mess up the one egg and not the whole group.

While I am doing this, the water in the bottom of my double boiler is on the stove heating up. The top of my double boiler (unheated) is sitting on the counter, so I can all everything to it. Once I have the eggs done. I just add everything in the list to the pot, and mix it for about 1 minute. It will look a little like milk.

Now, I stick this on my double boiler base, and leaving the heat on about medium, I just keep beating it over the heat for about 8 minutes. It will thicken up a lot. I am looking for soft peaks to form.. but if I'm not sure if it is ready, I just take a clean spoon pull out a dab and make sure I don't feel any sugar crystals when I eat it.

Now.. the best way to describe this frosting.. is that it is kinda like melted marshmallow. It is sticky, and it fluffy and it is really good.. but it is NOT super firm like butter cream.. at least until it is chilled and set. The normal method to frost a cake with this, is to do a thin layer, chill the cake, do a thin layer chill the cake. When this frosting cools it becomes a lot more firm, but harder to frost, so you usually want to frost then chill to firm. If that makes sense...

Anyhow.. I'm just gonna put this one as if I think its not gonna ooze as it cools. Why? because I want it to ooze for this, I want it to look kind of like a mountain.

I don't bother trying to get it perfect here. I know, that once this sits in the fridge, it will change dramatically. a lot of the frosting will seep downward and the edges will round out significantly. I'm counting on it... but I set this in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes.

Next up...

Step 4: The Ganache

What is ganache? It is melted chocolate.. with cream added.. when its warm it pours like a dream, then when it cools it is kinda like a chocolate frosting. Yes, I am giving you 2 NOT BUTTERCREAM frostings, in 1 cake... amazing really.

Ganache, for all it's fancy name.. is super easy to make. First take 1 cup of heavy cream and put it in a sauce pan.. heat it over medium low heat until it comes to a boil.

Next take 8 ounces of chocolate (bitter sweet or semi sweet).. I'm using dark chocolate chips... and put them in a bowl.

Once the cream is boiling pour it over the chocolate and whisk.

Now, I just pour that over the cake... making sure it "drips" all around. Put the whole thing in the fridge and let it set for at least an hour.

That is it.. hope you enjoyed this posting.

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