2015 is nearly over. I wish I could lament on how sad I am to see this year go. But I think I will leave that for when 2016 has arrived, because even as we bring a close to a year that has brought joy and plenty sadness to not only our lives but maybe much more to others, this is the happiest time of the year. At least for me.
It is a time to be thankful for a year that has given me so much. It has brought me an immense amount of tears as well but I value them as I would my most precious jewels. I wear my tears as a warm blanket reminding me how grateful I am for the things I have and the people that share my journey with me. I am known to spend immense amounts of time thinking but this season truly is a time to look back and reflect.
In India, the festivities used to start with the coming of Diwali which eventually rolled into Christmas. Months of celebrations and parties. Months of the entire city being lit up as if it was a giant Christmas tree in itself. The early darkness and the city coming alive. The trees lit up as if they were adorned with jewels. It is a magical time and I want to hold on to it with all my heart.
This cake embodies everything that I feel. It is rustic, imperfect, dark, spiced and is made so deeply rich with chocolate and alcohol. It is a cake that feeds the soul with all its lavish combinations. And when you bite into it you feel the earth and know you belong to it.
For the frosting of this cake I turned to the mighty Linda Lomelino. We all know how amazing she is. 🙂
- For the Chocolate Cake
- 255 grams all-purpose flour
- 180 grams butter
- 85 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1¼ cups strong coffee
- ½ cup whiskey
- 200 grams granulated sugar
- 100 grams light brown sugar
- 1½ tsps baking soda
- ¾ tsp fine sea salt
- 3-4 tsp ground cloves
- 1½ tbsp ground piment
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsps vanilla extract
- 1 cup dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
- For the Caramel Sauce
- 150 ml heavy cream
- 200 grams granulated sugar
- 100 grams cold butter, in cubes
- ½ tsp sea salt flakes
- 2 tbsp whiskey
- For the Whiskey Caramel Frosting
- 4 large egg whites
- 180 grams granulated sugar
- 250 grams butter, at roomtemperature, cut in cubes
- ½ cup whiskey caramel (recipe above)
- 2 tbsps whiskey
- To prepare the cake, preheat oven to 160°C. Butter two 7-inch springform pans. Dust with cocoa powder.
- In a medium saucepan on low heat, warm coffee, whiskey, butter and remaining cocoa powder, whisking occasionally, until butter is melted. Whisk in the sugars until dissolved. Remove from heat and cool completely.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, pepper and cloves. In another bowl, whisk together eggs and vanilla. Slowly whisk egg mixture into chocolate mixture. Add dry ingredients and whisk to combine. Fold in the dark chocolate.
- Divide batter into your prepared pans. Transfer to oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, 55 to 65 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack.
- Once completely cool cut each cake into half using a large serrated knife. Don't worry if it not completely even!
- For the caramel sauce, gently warm the cream in a small saucepan. Set aside.
- Put the sugar in another saucepan and heat on medium high until the sugar starts melting around the edges. Carefully swirl the sugar with a heatproof spoon until all the sugar has melted.
- Add the butter, piece by piece, and stir until melted. Carefully add the warm cream (it will bubble up so be careful!) little by little and stir until smooth.
- Pour caramel into a jar and let cool 10 minutes before adding salt and whiskey. Cool completely.
- To make the whiskey caramel frosting, pour egg whites and sugar in a double boiler. The bowl should fit snugly, and the water should not be touching the bowl.
- Whisk the sugar and eggs with a whisk constantly until the mixture reaches about 65°C. Just rub some mixture between your fingers. If the sugar has melted and the mixture is hot to the touch, it's ready.
- Remove the bowl from the heat, beat until white, fluffy and cool with an electric mixer. This step can take about 5-10 minutes.
- When the bowl feels cool to the touch, start adding the butter, piece by piece. Add the caramel and beat until completely smooth. Finally add the whiskey and mix to incorporate.
- To put the cake together, put one layer (you should have 4) of the chocolate cake on a cake stand and add ⅓ of the frosting and even it out. Place another layer on top and repeat the process till your final layer has been placed. Use the remaining frosting to cover the cake on all sides. I've frosted to get a naked cake effect but you could completely cover the cake on all sides if you like.
- Pour some of the remaining caramel on top of your frosted cake. How much you use is up to you!
- I have used dried autumn leaves but you could decorate it however you please...