If you like chocolate this is the ultimate chocolate cake for all chocolate lovers. Loaded with chocolate fudge sponge, chocolate buttercream topped with macarons, a rich chocolate glaze and chocolate shards.
5g Baking powder
Chocolate Italian buttercream
300g caster sugar
4 egg whites
300g soft butter
5g vanilla paste
150g dark chocolate (70%)
190g milk chocolate (40%)
300g Icing sugar
250g Superfine almonds
50g 100% Cocoa powder
110g Egg whites
300g Caster sugar
110g Egg whites
Cocoa nibs & melted chocolate for garnish
Dark chocolate ganache
300ml double cream
300g dark chocolate (70%)
300g dark chocolate (70%)
625g Double cream
15 Gelatine sheets (45g)
200g 70% Chocolate
Make the chocolate sponge first as this will need time to bake and cool. Preheat the oven to 170c, line a 12in springform cake tin with baking paper(if you would like a cake with plenty of height you will need two tins and a double recipe) Mix all of the dry ingredients into a large bowl whisking to mix evenly. In a large pan heat the water butter and oil until all fully incorporated. Pour onto the dry ingredients whisk well. Add the eggs and mix in until you have a silky thick batter. Pour into the lined springform tins the, the mix should fill the tin ⅔. Bake @ 170 for 40mins. Push a small knife into the centre of the cake if it comes out clean the cake is ready. Leave to fully cool at room temperature.
The glaze is next, Place the gelatine into ice-cold water to bloom (Hydrating with water to help dissolve into the glaze) Place the sugar, water, cocoa and double cream into a pan and over a medium heat whisk constantly (this can burn very easily) once all the ingredients have dissolved into the water remove from the heat. Add the chocolate and whisk until smooth. Remove the gelatine from the water squeezing out as much water as possible. Add to the hot chocolate mix, whisk until fully incorporated. Pass through a fine sieve, cover with cling film pushing to the surface of the mix and leave at room temperature to cool.
For the chocolate shards, you will need a strip of acetate 60cm x10cm and a thick rolling pin. Temper the chocolate as per the instructions on the packed. Using a palette knife spread the chocolate thinly over the acetate. Leave to cool for 1 min the chocolate should be pliable and tacky, score with a knife in long triangles being sure not to cut through the acetate. Wrap around the rolling pin with the acetate side to the rolling pin to create curls. Tape to the ends of the rolling pin and chill.
Once set loosen the acetate and peel away from the chocolate. Keep in an airtight container.
To make the macaron shells set the oven to 150c and place a flat tray into the middle shelf. This will help conduct heat better into the base of the macarons. Mix the icing sugar cocoa powder, super fine almonds and the first 110g of egg whites. Mix to a smooth paste, cover with cling film and set aside. Line a flat baking tray with baking paper or a silpat. If using baking paper be sure to stick down with some oil as this will pull up from the tray when piping the macarons.
Make an Italian meringue with the remaining egg whites & caster sugar. Place the egg whites in a clean bowl for a kitchen aid or mixer and place at a slow speed. Meanwhile place the sugar into a thick based pan and cover with a little water, place over a high heat and bring to the boil. Keep checking the temperature until it reaches 121C. Remove from the heat and turn the mixer up to medium speed, the whites should be a little fluffy by this point. Slowly pour the sugar into the egg whites until half of the sugar has been added. Turn the mixer up to full speed the whites will go thick and fluffy, at this point, add the remaining sugar, this helps give a marshmallow texture. Keep whisking on full speed until the meringue has cooled but not fully, the emp should stay at around 40c. This will help mix the meringue into the almond mix.
Fold the two mixes together in 2 - 3 stages until fully combined, be sure to fold gently to keep as much air in as possible. When you drop a little mix from the spoon back into the bowl it should fully flatten.
Place into a piping bag with a ¼ nozzle and pipe onto the lined tray into 2.5cm rounds, when pulling off from the tray twist off to create a flat finish. Leave a 4cm gap between each macaron shell.
Sprinkle with cocoa nibs and leave to set, they are ready when you can touch the top of the shell and it's tacky but does stick. Bake @150c for 6 minutes. It may be longer depending on the oven, they are ready when you can pull them away from the tray. Be careful as these can easily overcook, remove from the oven and leave to fully cool.
Now for the dark chocolate ganache, heat the cream until steaming hot, whisk in the chocolate until fully incorporated. Leave to thicken for 5mins then using a stick blender blend until silky and fluffy. Place into a piping bag leaving at room temperature until needed.
To build the macarons
Match up the macaron shells in pairs that match in size with the flat side facing up, pipe with a decent amount of ganache into the centre and top with the matching macaron shell. Push down until the ganache comes just to the edge. To decorate, pipe a line of melted chocolate on one side of the centre and sprinkle it with cocoa nibs.
Finally for the chocolate buttercream place both types of chocolate into a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of simmering water (Bain Marie) to melt. Meanwhile, in a pan mix the sugar with 200ml water and place over a high heat. This needs to reach a temp of 121C. Do not shake the pan or mix the sugar as this will crystallize the sugar. While this is coming up to heat place the egg white into a mixer bowl and attached with the whisk ( this recipe can be down with handheld electric mixers but a lot more difficult) Once the sugar has come up to temperature remove from the heat and start to whisk the egg whites once the eggs whites start to froth start to slowly add the sugar. Once all of the sugar has been added, turn the mixer to full to fluff up the meringue, be sure to stay with it. The chocolate needs to be added while still warm. When the meringue has cooled to room temperature turn the mixer down and slowly add the chocolate until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla and salt and whisk at full speed again until cool. Turn to a medium speed and slowly add the butter a spoon at a time. (The mix may split but don't worry just keep adding and it will come back) Once all the butter is added whisk until fluffy. We are going to use the mix right away but this can be stored for up to 3 days in the fridge.
To build the cake
Remove the cooled cake from the springform tins. Slice each cake into 3 lengthways, work your knife around the edge before cutting through the centre this will help get an even cut. Lay one sheet of the sponge onto the board or plate that you are using. Spread a decent amount of buttercream over the sponge spreading evenly. Continue this step until all sponge has been used. Give the whole cake a crumb coat with the buttercream and chill. Once firm, give the cake a thick coat of buttercream trying to get the top and sides as even as possible. Chill until firm, you should now have a nice flat top to decorate. Now the chocolate glaze can be drizzled down the side of the cake if the glaze has become to firm place in the microwave 10 seconds at a time until workable, place a spoon of glaze onto the top of the cake in the centre. Using the back of a spoon spread to the edges and let drips run down the sides. Some will go to the bottom and some will set in between. Now you can decorate the top with the macarons, chocolate shards and gold leaf