Double Chocolate Valentine

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Baking Time: 30 to 40 minutes

This cake is really the final word in chocolate cake, and it is based on my purest chocolate fantasy. It features a cocoa layer cake that uses the best cocoa, all egg yolks to give it its fullest flavor, and, to finish, a sweet injection of melted chocolate and cream. Astonishingly easy to make, it is at once fudgy moist and soft within, and becomes encased in a thin glaze of chocolate that forms by itself after brushing in the ganache. For Valentine’s Day, I like to bake the cake in a heart-shape pan, then I top it with fresh red raspberries gilded with currant jelly and pipe whipped cream around the base.

Ingredients

Batter

Volume Ounce Gram
unsweetened (alkalized) cocoa powder ½ cup plus 1 tablespoon (sifted before measuring) 1.5 42
boiling water ½ cup (4 fluid ounces) 4.2 118
about 4 large egg yolks, at room temperature ¼ cup plus ½ tablespoon (2.2 fluid ounces) 2.6 74
water 3 tablespoons (1.5 fluid ounces) 1.5 44
pure vanilla extract ¾ teaspoon . .
cake flour (or bleached all-purpose flour) cups plus 1 tablespoon (or 1⅓ cups), sifted into the cup and leveled off 5.5 156
superfine sugar 1 cup 7 200
baking powder teaspoons . .
salt ½ teaspoon . .
unsalted butter (65° to 75°F/19° to 23°C) 9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) 4.5 128

Special Equipment

One 9 by 2-inch heart-shape or round cake pan (8 to 8 ⅔ cups), encircled with a cake strip, bottom coated with shortening, topped with parchment cut to shape, then coated with baking spray with flour

Method

Preheat the Oven

Twenty minutes or more before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.

Mix the Cocoa and Water

In a medium bowl, whisk the cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent evaporation and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. To speed cooling, place it in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature before proceeding.

Mix the Remaining Liquid Ingredients

In another bowl, whisk the yolks, the 3 tablespoons water, and the vanilla just until lightly combined.

Make the Batter

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and the cocoa mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1½ minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

Starting on medium-low speed, gradually add the egg mixture in two parts, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Using a silicone spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface evenly with a small offset spatula.

Bake the Cake

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until a wire cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven.

While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze.

Make the Ganache Glaze

See recipe.

Apply the Glaze and Cool and Unmold the Cake

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, place the pan on a wire rack, poke holes all over the top with a wooden skewer, and use a brush to dabble half of the ganache glaze onto the cake. It will take about 10 minutes. Run a small metal spatula around the sides of the pan and the cake, pressing firmly against the pan, and invert the cake onto a flat surface, such as a cardboard round or plate that has been covered with plastic wrap. Peel off and discard the parchment and poke holes all over. Dabble with the remaining glaze, brushing a little onto the sides of the cake as well. Cool completely, for 1 or more hours, or until the chocolate is firm to the touch. Invert the cake onto a 10-inch cardboard round or 10-inch perfectly flat plate covered with plastic wrap. It is now top side up with plastic wrap sticking to it. Peel off the plastic wrap, then reinvert the cake onto a serving plate so that it is bottom side up; remove the remaining plastic wrap.

Make the Whipped Cream

See recipe.

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