I’m calling this Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake the ultimate celebration cake. It’s bold, it’s beautiful and it’s absolutely packed with chocolate. Four gorgeous layers of cocoa-laden cake come together with a generous coating of thick real chocolate frosting and drippy dark chocolate ganache.
Of course, a triple chocolate cake would not be complete without, well, more chocolate! So atop this four layered dessert is a mess of chunky shards of dark chocolate bark with creamy milk chocolate swirls. It’s every chocoholic’s dream!
How was your weekend? I know some lucky readers celebrated a Labour Day long weekend in America. It was actually Father’s Day here in Australia so I had plenty of quality family time. I also mastered a special cupcake recipe (coming soon, I promise) and even got to see my name in print!
You can find my Chocolate Bundt Cake recipe featured in CSR Sugar’s new cookbook, Made for Memories which will be out in October. But of course, Monday seems to roll around so incredibly fast. I need cake.
I loved making this cake. It was a special cake for my sister-in-law’s birthday. The theme I set for myself was chocolate. I used my tried and true chocolate cake recipe, that also features in my popular Peanut Butter and Chocolate Layer Cake. It produces lovely and soft chocolate cakes, simply using cocoa and buttermilk.
Next comes my favourite Chocolate Frosting that I introduced you to last week, a fluffy buttercream that uses real dark chocolate for flavour. It is the perfect frosting for icing a lovely layer cake like this one.
After you pour over the silky dark chocolate ganache, you just need a finishing touch. Have you made chocolate bark before? It’s incredibly easy and makes for such a striking cake decoration. After melting a layer of dark chocolate, you simply dollop melted milk chocolate over the top and use a knife to create pretty swirls.
Pop it into the fridge for an hour or two and then chop it up into uneven pieces. It is such a simple but super effective way to jazz up your beautiful cake. I hope you love this recipe and if you get a chance to try it, please let me know on Instagram, tag @sweetestmenu!
Chocolate Fudge Layer Cake
Makes 9 inch / 21 cm four layer cake
Chocolate cake (Makes two 9 inch / 21 cm cakes – make the chocolate cake recipe twice for four layers)
1 and 1/2 cups (210 grams) plain flour
1 cup (80 grams) cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (160 grams) brown sugar
1/2 cup (100 grams) caster sugar
1 cup (230 grams) unsalted butter
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup (240ml) buttermilk
Chocolate fudge frosting
3 cups (345 grams or 3 sticks) unsalted butter
1 and 1/2 cup (200 grams) good quality dark chocolate
5 cups (625 grams) icing or powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk
Dark chocolate ganache
1 cup (150 grams) good quality dark chocolate
1 cup (240ml) thickened or heavy cream
1 and 1/3 cup (200 grams) good quality dark chocolate
1 cup (150 grams) good quality milk chocolate
Preheat the oven to 180 C (360 F). Grease and line two round 21 cm (9 inch) springform cake tins with baking or parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and then add the sugars. Pop the butter into the microwave for short bursts, 10 seconds or so at a time, until it is just melted. Give it a stir with a fork to eliminate any lumps. Whisk together the butter, eggs, vanilla and buttermilk until combined – don’t worry if it goes a little lumpy. Then add the wet mixture into the dry mixture and gently fold until just combined.
Spoon the mixture evenly into your prepared tins and pop into the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until cooked through. Leave to cool for 10 minutes. Gently run a knife around the edge of the cake before turning out of the tin. To get a nice flat cake which will make it easier to frost, set the cake upside down on a wire rack to cool completely – the domed top will naturally flatten as it cools.
*If you are making four layers, repeat this step.
Chocolate Fudge Frosting
Place your softened butter in a large mixing bowl and beat with an electric mixer on medium speed for approximately 4 minutes (use a timer). Meanwhile melt the chocolate in a microwave, stirring in between 20 second bursts, until just melted and set aside to cool.
Once the butter is very pale and creamy, add in half of the powdered sugar and beat on low until the sugar is incorporated and then beat on medium speed again for a further two minutes. Next, add the rest of the sugar and the milk, and again beat on slow until the sugar is incorporated before turning up to medium for another two minutes.
Next you will want to add in your melted chocolate to the buttercream mixture, ensuring the chocolate is still smooth and melted but is not warm at all. Beat until the chocolate is completely mixed through. Pop into the fridge.
Before you frost your cake, let’s prepare your chocolate bark so it will be ready for decorating. Line a large oven tray or cookie tray with baking or parchment paper. Then gently melt both your dark and milk chocolate separately. I melted the dark chocolate using the boiler method and when that was nearly done, melted my milk chocolate in the microwave.
Place a small saucepan on medium heat with about 5cm or 2 inches of water in the bottom. Pop the dark chocolate into a small heatproof bowl and place the bowl on top of the saucepan, ensuring the bottom of the bowl will not touch the water below. Gently stir as the steam slowly melts the chocolate and it becomes silky and smooth.
For the microwave method, add the milk chocolate to a heatproof bowl and microwave for 20 seconds at a time, stirring in between bursts, until the chocolate is completely melted.
Then pour your dark chocolate onto your baking paper and use a plastic spatula to gently spread it out so it is fairly thin and roughly rectangular in shape. Then dollop blobs of your milk chocolate all over the top. Use a butter knife to make swirly patterns in the milk chocolate. Then leave your chocolate bark in the fridge for 1-2 hours to set.
Frosting the cake
Once your cake layers are completely cool, you may need to cut the tops of your cakes to ensure they are completely flat – I like to use a cake leveller but if you have a steady hand, you can simply use a serrated knife. Then, use a small dollop of buttercream to secure your first cake layer onto a cake board. Smear the top with a fairly generous layer of buttercream. Add another cake layer on top – top side down. Add a layer of buttercream and continue with extra cake layers.
Finally, using an offset spatula, smear the entire cake with a thin layer of frosting – this will form the crumb coat. Use a cake spatula to scrap off any extra frosting on the outside. It’s perfectly fine to have part of the cake showing through. Pop the entire cake into the fridge for 30 minutes or until the frosting is no longer sticky to touch.
Then you will add your final layer of frosting. Generously cover the sides and top of your cake with frosting and use a cake leveller to get a nice clean edge. Pop into the fridge until you are ready to pour over your ganache.
To make the ganache, finely chop the dark chocolate and place into a bowl. In a small saucepan, warm the cream on a medium-low until it is slightly bubbling but before it is boiling. Pour the cream over the chocolate, cover with plate and leave it for 3-4 minutes. Gently whisk the mixture until it becomes smooth. Refrigerate the chocolate ganache for 15-30 minutes or so until it thickens slightly. When it reaches your desired consistency, pour it over the top of your cake.
Roughly chop your chocolate bark with a knife into long but jagged pieces. After you have poured over your ganache, stick pieces of the chocolate bark into the cake and arrange however you wish.