Wednesday 2 May 2018

Triple Chocolate Torte

Another, rather better attempt at the top cake for my wedding. Last time there were a number of features I was unhappy with, so this time I had a rather different plan of attack.
  • I used tins for the cake. This made the entire process a lot easier and faster. As well as being faster to prepare, and needing less trimming, they were also deeper, so I only had to use 4 layers for a similar height.
  • A different cake mixture, with half the flour replaced with ground almond. This led to a softer, moister cake, which I much preferred
  • White chococate icing, dark chocolate ganache. Working with dark chocolate ganache is much easier, and the colour constrast is much greater, so it's way more dramatic. It also makes the inside stripy (rather than brown-on-brown).
  • Decorated with macarons, not strawberries. it's a look I much prefer.
It's not perfect...the chocolate ganache went on too cold, so was a bit lumpy (I'm not 100% sure if this was the ganache being too cold, or the cake being too cold. Normally I chill it for an hour, however this time it was much longer). That said, I'm prety sure putting the ganache in the microwave for 10 more seconds would have resolved it. The podium cake is a little too small (13 macarons around the top is ominous, so I'll increase the podium size next time so I can fit more).

The macarons can be done well ahead of time. These were a mior variation on the red velvet macarons I've done recently (I was practicing, and getting the temperature right)...the only difference was the filling was a circle of cream cheese frosting, with a blob of red jam in the middle (so I can call them Strawberry Cheesecake Macarons, which sounds suitably decadant). I won't re-do the recipe for these, as it's an exact copy of the previous one.

Triple Chocolate Torte - Recipe

  • Pre-heat oven to 180'C
  • Grease and line 4 20cm round cake tins with baking parchment 
  • Grease and line 1 20cm square tin with baking parchment

Sponge Ingredients

  • 6 large eggs
  • 240g caster sugar
  • 40g cocoa powder
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 100g ground almond
  • 1tsp baking powder
1) Place the eggs and caster sugar in a stand mixer with the whisk attachment

2) Whisk until thick and creamy, and at the "ribbon" stage (this will take 7-10 minutes)

3) While this is happening, sieve the flour, almond, cocoa and baking powder together

4) Once the eggs are fully whisked, fold the dry ingredients into the eggs carefully. I did this quarter of the mixture at a time, ensuring all dry pockets were resolved before adding more mixture

5) Pour 150-160g of the batter into each of the round cake tins, and then tip them carefully to level the mixture across the tin. Pour the remainder of the mixture into the square cake tin.

6) Bake the tins in the oven for 6-7 minutes each...they are done as soon as the mixture begins to pull away from the sides

7) Turn out onto wire racks covered with baking parchment (to stop them sticking, and picking up wire marks) and leave to cool completely.

White Chocolate Meringue Buttercream Ingredients

  • 3 egg whites (105g of egg white)
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 300g butter (room temperature)
  • 200g white chocolate
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
1)Place the butter in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment

2) Beat the butter hard until it is pale, smooth and soft. You'll need to scape the sides down a few times.

3) Set up a bain-marie

4) Break the white chocolate up into a heatproof bowl

5) Melt the chocolate over the bain-marie, then place to one side to cool (but remian liquid)

6) Place the egg whites and sugar into a large heatproof bowl.

7) Whisk the egg whites over the bain-marie using a hand whisk until the form shiney, stiff peaks. Place to one side to cool.

8) Once the chococlate is cool (but still liquid) beat into the softened butter. Also add the vanilla extract

9) Once the meringue is cool, fold into the buter and chocolate mixture. The end result should be a light buttecream that holds its shape


note - you'll need a 23cm cake board, and a decorating turntable. Also useful are a small palette knife, and a dough scraper, as well as a spoon.

1) Place a very small amount of icing in the middle of the cake board, and place a cicular layer of the cake in the middle.

2) Add 2-3 tablespoons of the buttercream on top of this, and using a small palette knife evenly coat the top of the cake.

3) Carefully place a second layer of the cake on top, and press down. Repeat for teh remaining cake layers. You need to ensure that they are straight-sided, and don't put too much icing in or they will slip around.

4) Add a very thin layer of the buttercream across the top and sides of the entire cake, and smooth down with the dough scraper and pallette knife. This is the crumb-block layer, and it acts as an undercoat of sorts,.

5) Chill the cake in the fridge to firm up the icing.

6) Using a 7-8cm circle cutter, cut out 2 rounds from the square cake layer.

7) Sandwich these using some buttercream

8) Using a small palette knife, add a crumb-block layer to this cake as well. place on a plate in the fridge to firm up. Cover the remaining buttercream while the cakes are chilling

9) Once the crumb-block is chilled, place the remaining buttercream in a piping bag with a round nozzle.

10) Place the cake on the turntable, and pipe most of the remaining buttercream onto the sides and top, spinning the cake to get a good coverage.

11) Use the palette knife and dough-scraper to level and flatten the sides. Take your time, and try and get it as sharp and clean as possible.

12) Return to the fridge to firm up.

13) Repeat this process for the smaller podium cake.

14) Once chilled, using a damp cloth clean the cakeboard

Chocolate Ganache Ingredients

  • 100g dark (50%) chocolate
  • 100g double cream
1) place the chocolate and cream in a small heatproof bowl

2) Place in the microwave for 20 seconds, then stir thoroughly

3) Repeat, using 10 second bursts, until all the chocolate has melted, and you have a smooth, glossy, creamy ganache.

4) Transfer to a small piping bag

5) Place the podium cake on top of the main cake, centrally

6) Pipe ganache around the base of the podium cake to seal the edge

7) Drip the ganache over the edges of the main cake, to form the classic "Drippy Cake" look. If the ganache is too cold this will go a bit claggy...if this happens put teh ganache back in teh microwave for 10 seconds (obviouly you also don't want it too hot, or it will melt the buttercream!)

8) Repeat for the podium cake, dripping chocolate down the sides

9) Flood the top of both cakes, and if required smooth carefully with a small palette knife.

10) Decorate with maracons and strawberries!