Something chocolate…

I love making fancy desserts, but I rarely do unless I’m feeding a crowd. Partly because I don’t want to end up eating it all myself, but mostly because I want an audience! I had the opportunity to let out my inner pastry chef a week ago when I hosted birthday brunch for a friend. When asked what kind of dessert they wanted, they replied, “something chocolate.” Easy enough.

But, I didn’t feel like doing it the easy way. I decided to do chocolate – three ways in fact: chocolate cake, chocolate ganache and chocolate mousse, all layered together with raspberries. It was a hit – and, luckily, another food blogger brunch guest reminded me to snap some pics before cutting into it!

Triple chocolate birthday cake
Triple chocolate birthday cake
Triple chocolate birthday cake
A slice of heaven

Here you go – amended slightly from epicurious.

Cake
2 3/4 cups cake flour (I used regular flour)
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 3/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream (I used plain yogurt)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Ganache
3 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 pounds bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
I added a pinch of cinnamon and a pinch of cayenne pepper

Mousse
4 1/3 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1 1/4 pounds bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped

Assembly and serving
2/3 cup seedless raspberry jam
raspberries for decoration
Make cake:
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Butter and flour two 10-inch-diameter cake pans with 2-inch-high sides; line each with round of parchment paper or waxed paper. Combine first 5 ingredients in medium bowl; whisk to blend well. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, eggs and egg yolks in large bowl until very thick and heavy ribbon falls when beaters are lifted, about 6 minutes. Add oil, sour cream and vanilla, then dry ingredients all at once to egg mixture. Beat at low speed until just blended, about 1 minute. Scrape down sides of bowl. Beat at high speed until well blended, about 3 minutes. Divide batter between prepared pans (about 3 3/4 cups batter in each).

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Cool cakes completely in pans on racks. Cover; let cakes stand at room temperature overnight.

Make ganache:
Bring cream to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Transfer ganache to glass bowl. Let stand until thick enough to spread, about 4 hours. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover; chill.)

Make mousse:
Using electric mixer, beat 3 1/3 cups cream in large bowl until peaks form; refrigerate. Combine remaining 1 cup cream and corn syrup in heavy medium saucepan and bring to simmer. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until melted, smooth, and still warm to touch. Pour warm chocolate mixture directly onto whipped cream and fold in gently. Chill until mousse is set, at least 8 hours. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated.)

Assemble and serve cake:
Cut around pan sides; turn out cakes. Peel off paper. Cut each cake horizontally in half. Place 1 cake layer, cut side up, on 9-inch tart pan bottom or 9-inch cardboard round. Place another layer, cut side up, on clean baking sheet. Spread each with 1/3 cup raspberry jam. Chill until jam sets, about 15 minutes

If ganache is chilled, microwave on defrost setting in 15-second repetitions until just soft enough to spread, stirring occasionally. Drop 1 cup ganache by rounded teaspoonfuls over each jam layer. Using offset spatula, gently spread ganache to cover jam. Drop 3 cups mousse by heaping spoonfuls onto each ganache layer; gently spread to cover. Refrigerate cake layers 30 minutes. Using large metal spatula, place cake layer from baking sheet, mousse side up, atop cake layer on tart pan bottom. Place third cake layer, cut side down, on cake (reserve remaining cake layer for another use). Spread 1 cup mousse over top of assembled cake. Using long offset spatula, spread sides of assembled cake with enough ganache (about 1 1/2 cups) to fill gaps and make smooth surface. Transfer cake on tart pan bottom to platter. Decorate top of cake with piped mousse and raspberries.

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