As I’ve already mentioned, the family is a determined chocolate cake bunch and they never want any other type. This is more of a mild chocolate, still flavorful, but not a deep dark cake. When you add the chocolate ganache, glaze and a little shaved chocolate it is the perfect mix, really chocolaty but not too sweet and looks really impressive without a lot of work. This makes a great birthday cake for adults, especially those who really don’t want the actual number of candles anymore!
1/2 cup butter
1 2/3 cup sugar
1 t vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup cocoa
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t salt
1 cup buttermilk
4-8 T liqueur of your choice – optional (I used Framboise, a raspberry flavored one)
Grease and lightly flour (or use non-stick spray) three round 9″ cake pans (or 2 10″ pans). Cream the butter, gradually add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt and add to creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk. Divide into the pans and bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool on a wire rack. You have the option of using the layers as they are for a 2 or 3 layer cake or splitting them and making 4 or 6 layers. After the layers are sliced (if you are going to do that) poke many small holes in the cakes with a toothpick and carefully drizzle the liqueur over each layer using enough to moisten but not drown the cake.
2 1/2 cups heavy cream
2 cups good quality chocolate chopped into small pieces
Place the chocolate in a heat proof bowl (I use my mixing bowl so I don’t have to wash an extra one). Heat the cream in the microwave until it just starts to bubble, pour it over the chocolate and mix until smooth. Pour 1/4 of the mixture into a small microwave safe bowl and set aside. Place the mixing bowl in the refrigerator until it thickens to a pudding like consistency, around 1 hour. It can stay there overnight but then you will have to let it warm a little to soften before finishing. When the chocolate is thickened, using the whisk attachment, whip the chocolate/cream mixture until it is light and fluffy. Before icing the cake, place wax paper strips around the edges to catch any icing or glaze that drips. Fill and ice the cake with the whipped chocolate ganache. Using the remaining ganache mixture, put it in the microwave for a few seconds until it is pourable, then pour it over the cake, spreading carefully with a spatula to smooth it over the top towards the sides. It doesn’t matter if it completely covers the cake. Sprinkle the top with chocolate shavings made with a vegetable peeler and a chocolate bar. Refrigerate until about 20 minutes before serving, carefully remove the wax paper strips using a knife to cut the glaze around the bottom of the cake first, and garnish with the fruit if you choose.
To serve place a swirl of chocolate sauce on the plate and garnish with some raspberries or other fruit – and of course ice cream for a birthday.