Chocolate-Coffee Layer cake

This cake is basically a chocolate and coffee lover’s dream. Layers of dark chocolate cake with an Ovaltine latte soak, whipped chocolate ganache, a chocolate cookie crumb, cocoa-coffee French buttercream, and coffee tuiles. With each layer, I wanted to make sure they all brought different forms or textures of chocolate or coffee. We have the whipped ganache for a mousse-like texture, a fudgey dark chocolate cake that is soaked with the Ovaltine and coffee to bring out the rich, bitter cocoa notes, a silky coffee French buttercream, crunchy dark chocolate chip cookie pieces, and espresso tuiles to add a nice finish on top!

With the chocolate cake, we used Ovaltine to really intensify the chocolate flavor. With the cookie crumb, there’s cocoa powder in the actual dough, but also chocolate chips to add another hit of chocolate throughout and to give that nostalgia of double-chocolate chip cookies. I wanted the soak to have both Ovaltine to tie back in with the cake, but also coffee to add another complimentary flavor to the chocolate, and to tie in with the other coffee-based elements. When it comes to the brewed coffee I used in the recipe, I recommend using a French press for optimal flavor, but a drip filter works just as well! You don’t have to splurge and go with Blue Mountain by any means – I just used chicory coffee, since I prefer that kind of bitterness. Reducing that coffee helps to intensify the flavor, while it then goes into a silky French buttercream and the tuiles that go on top of the cake to give it a delicate and dainty appearance!

For the chocolate cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup Ovaltine powder
1 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
3 tbsp vinegar
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp vanilla extract
a pinch of salt
3/4 cups canola oil

Mix together to form your batter. Spread onto a lined quarter sheet tray and bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Cool down and cut into 2 6-inch rounds and form a 3rd round using the scraps.

For the chocolate cookie crumb:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/4 cup dark chocolate chips
1/2 tsp baking soda
a pinch of salt
3 tbsp granulated sugar
3 tbsp canola oil
1/4 tsp vanilla extract

Mix together to form a dough. Crumble into thumbnail-sized pieces and spread on a lined sheet tray. Bake at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes. Cool down before using in the assembly.

For the Ovaltine latte soak:
1/4 cup brewed coffee*
1/4 cup milk
2 tbsp Ovaltine powder
a pinch of salt

Mix together to form your soak. Keep cold.

For the brewed coffee:
3 tbsp coffee grounds
1 cup hot water

In either a drip filter or a French press, steep the coffee, straining and pressing to release as much flavor as possible. Reserve for both the soak, tuiles, the buttercream.

For the whipped ganache:
a pinch of salt
1/3 cup heavy cream
1 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup dark chocolate

In a pot, heat up all of your ingredients until fully melted together. Pour onto a sheet tray and cool down in the freezer until firm to the touch. Transfer to a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and whip until soft.

For the cocoa-coffee French buttercream:
2/3 cups brewed coffee
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 egg yolks
3 tbsp cocoa powder
2 sticks unsalted butter
a pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract

Bring coffee and sugar to a boil and reduce by 3/4. You want the mixture to resemble a thick syrup. Pour over the egg yolks while whisking until completely combined. Mix into that the cocoa powder. Then mix in the butter, salt, and vanilla, whipping until everything is fully combined.

For the espresso tuiles:
1/4 cup brewed coffee
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 egg white
a pinch of salt
3 tbsp canola oil
1/4 cup all-purpose flour

Reduce coffee and sugar into a thick syrup. Whisk the syrup into the egg white first just to combine the two together. Then add in the salt, canola oil, and flour to form your tuile batter. Spread onto Pavoni feather molds and bake at 350 degrees F for 8 minutes. Press the tuiles, while still warm, on a rolling pin so that they curl.

To assemble:
Line a 6-inch ring mold with acetate. Start with the scrap layer, then pour on your soak. Pour on 1/3 of your ganache and spread. Sprinkle on 1/3 of your cookie crumbs. Then spread on 1/3 of your buttercream. Repeat for the second layer. For the top layer, start with the soak and swirl on top of that the buttercream and ganache. Place on top of the set ganache your cookie crumbs, and place on the tuiles. Freeze for at least 2 hours before attempting to unmold.

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