Mocha Brownie Cake with Kahlua Ganache- TWD

The past few days have been rather quiet where my baking is concerned. I burnt my right hand index finger while baking this cake…..don’t ask me how. Each burn scar on my hands (and there are many) has a story to tell! But then I am sure that is the case with many of us – especially scatter- brained ones like me.

This Mocha Brownie Cake recipe is from Baking with Julia” by Dorie Greenspan and the contributing chef is the “Guru of Ganache”, Marcel Desaulniers. He is an American chef and the author of many cookbooks including the famous “Death by Chocolate”.

Brownie cake sliceAnyone who is a fan of Julia Child must have this in their collection of cookbooks. The book is based on her American tv show of the same name where she invited pastry chefs, all masters in their fields, into her kitchen and baked with them. The instructions are so detailed that even a novice baker like me can pass off as a pro :-).

I normally avoid making egg based cakes because my husband, who is a vegetarian (he does not eat eggs), is unable to taste the fruit of my labour. But this cake sounded too tempting, not to say decadent, to miss up on. Besides, I was expecting guests and reasoned to myself that this would make a great dessert to serve them. (Also I WAS doing my husband a favour by not tempting him with this ….he is on a weight-loss program).

The cake is, to state the obvious, a chocolate based one using both semi-sweet and unsweetened chocolates. The ratio of flour used is less, giving the cake a brownie-like texture. The ganache is made of chocolate and coffee decoction (mocha). This is then poured between the layers and on top, making it a chocolate-coffee lover’s delight!!

I made some changes to the original recipe not because it needed any but simply because I wanted to make a smaller cake and I did not have some ingredients.

My modifications-

I changed all cup measures to weight where possible as I prefer weighing out the ingredients. I also used half the quantity to make a smaller cake.

The original recipe calls for 5 eggs and I used 2 whole eggs and an egg yolk.

I did not have any sour cream so I substituted hung yogurt for it.

I baked the cake in an 8″ by 4″ loaf tin and since it was a dark coloured pan, I reduced the oven temperature to 150C/300F. I baked it for 32 minutes in my oven.

One hint that I followed from a fellow baker was to leave out the sugar and butter in the ganache. It could most definitely do without the extra calories!! And the ganache and cake were sweet enough as it is.

When I first tasted the ganache, it tasted of chocolate with no hint of coffee. Maybe I had used a weak decoction. Then I had an ‘aha’ moment. I added a couple of tablespoons of Kahlua liqueur to the ganache to accentuate the coffee flavour. I think that really hit the spot!! And elicited a lot of ‘ahas’ from people who ate it :-).

To assemble, I lined the loaf tin with parchment paper which came up 1″ above the top of the pan to make it easier to remove the cake from the pan.

I also trimmed the sides of the cake and then cut it into three layers. I find it easy to cut the cake into layers using a twine.Visually divide the cake into the required number of layers and make slits at the spot with a sharp knife. Use kitchen twine (or strong sewing thread, as I did) and holding it with both hand slip it into the wedge. Hold one hand steady and slowly pull the twine with the other hand along where you want to cut the layers. Go down the entire length and slowly bring the other end of the twine to meet the first. Cross over the twine ends and pull to separate the cake layers.

Brownie cake layersTo give fair warning, though the cake and ganache were easy to make, it did take time (and patience) to assemble as the cake and ganache had to be chilled before using and also between layers. So please earmark a full day to make this one.

Update- I have been remiss in my account and realized that while going through the experience of the other members of TWD. Most of us had issues with getting the cake out of the pan. Despite generously greasing and flouring the pan, my cake stuck resolutely to the pan and refused to come unstuck. I finally ran a plastic knife along the edges, upturned it and gave the tin a solid whack (OK, maybe two). To my relief (and eternal gratitude) that did the trick. Next time round I will be lining the bottom of the tin with parchment!!

Mocha Brownie Cake with Kahlua Ganache

Mocha Brownie Cake with Kahlua Ganache

This cake is one that you must try out. I have adapted the recipe for the cake slightly. The ganache does not resemble the original in quite a few ways. If you do want to follow the original recipe, click here

For the cake:
50 gms all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
65 gms semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or chips)
35 gms unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped (or chips)
42 gms unsalted butter
2 whole eggs + 1 egg yolk
100 gms sugar (I used caster sugar)
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 Tbsp sour cream (I used hung yogurt)
For the ganache:
150 ml heavy cream
165 gms semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (or chips)
30 ml hot strong brewed coffee
2 Tbsps Kahlua liqueur (optional)
To make the cake:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 165C/325F(150C/300F).
Butter a 9-inch round cake pan (I used 8" by 4" loaf tin) and dust with flour, tapping out the excess; set aside.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and reserve.
Heat an inch of water in the bottom of a double boiler. Put the semisweet and unsweetened chocolates and the butter in the top of the double boiler, and heat, stirring occasionally, until the mixture is fully blended and smooth.
Remove the pan from the heat.
Put the eggs, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, or use a hand mixer, and whip on high speed for 4 to 5 minutes, or until the eggs are slightly thickened and doubled in volume.
Add the melted chocolate and mix and medium speed for 15 seconds. Don’t worry if the chocolate is not fully incorporated — it will blend in as you add the other ingredients.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and, working with a rubber spatula, gently but thoroughly fold in the dry ingredients.
Give the sour cream (hung yogurt) a vigorous turn or two with a whisk to loosen it, and fold it into the batter. The batter will be quite thick.
Pour the batter into the pan and, with a spatula, smooth and level the batter.
Bake the cake for 45 to 50 minutes (since my cake was smaller it got done in 32 minutes), until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let cool in the pan for 20 minutes.
Turn the cake out onto a cardboard cake round (or the round from a tart pan with a removable bottom) and refrigerate, uncovered, for 1 hour.
To make ganache:
Heat the heavy cream in a heavy bottom pan till it comes to a boil.
Put the chopped chocolate in a large bowl and pour in the boiling cream and the hot coffee.
Set the mixture aside for 5 minutes, then stir until smooth.
The ganache must cool thoroughly. you can leave it to cool at room temperature — which could take an hour or so — or you can refrigerate it.
The ganache thickens as it cools. You want to use it when it just begins to thicken and can be poured rather than spread over the cake.
To assemble cake:
Remove the cake from the refrigerator and invert it onto a clean, dry work surface. Working with a long sharp knife, cut the cake into 3 even layers.
Place the top layer of the cake, cut side down, in a 9-inch spring-form pan; check that the sides of the pan are closed. (I lined the tin with parchment)
Pour 1 cup of the ganache over the layer, spreading it evenly to the edges with a rubber spatula; refrigerate, uncovered, until set, about 15 minutes.
Top with the center layer, pressing it gently into place, and pour over another cup of ganache, again taking care to get the filling out to the edges; refrigerate until set.
If at any point the ganache has thickened and is no longer pourable, heat it over the lowest heat, stirring constantly, until it returns to its proper consistency.
Place the last layer, cut side down in the pan, and press down firmly but carefully to position it.
Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour before applying the icing.
Cover the remaining ganache with plastic wrap and keep it at room temperature.
To finish, run a knife around the inside edges of the cake pan; release the sides of the springform. Pour over the remaining ganache and use a long icing spatula to smooth the ganache over the top and around the sides.
Allow the icing to set in the refrigerator or at room temperature.
To get a clean cut, heat the blade of a serrated knife under hot running water and wipe the blade dry before each cut.
Place the slices on plates and, if cold, allow them to sit at room temperature for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.
Once the ganache has set, the cake can be covered and kept in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

The Tuesdays with Dorie group is currently baking from “Baking with Julia”. I think what I really look forward to, as the reveal day approaches, is to see how the others have tweaked the recipes and done amazing things with it. They really are a talented bunch and you must visit them to check out the Mocha Brownie cakes that they have baked.
The recipe is given on page no. 282-283 of the book.


Mocha Brownie Cake with Kahlua Ganache- TWD — 13 Comments

  1. Your cake looks nice and moist- maybe the egg yolk substitution? Good idea with the Kahlua.

  2. I bet Kahlua made it taste fabulous! My ganache did not have any noticeable coffee flavor either. I have made ganache several times – this being the first with the addition of butter and sugar. In my opinion, it doesn’t need it.

  3. Your cake looks delicious. The addition of kahlua to the ganache was a good idea. I will need to try the string method for slicing cake layers.

  4. Ooh Kalua! I bet that made it amazing! I tried to make the coffee as strong as possible, but agree the coffee taste wasn’t very strong. It was a good cake though!

  5. Your cake look beautiful!
    Great idea to use a loaf pan, I love the look of your servings!!
    I enjoyed this recipe, I served it with ice-cream: so decadent!