So I’ve blogged this quote from Molly Wizenberg’s A Homemade Life, a while back. But really it’s all I can think about all day. So let’s start there.
“It’s going to sound silly, I know, but I think that what it all comes down to is winning hearts and minds. Underneath everything else, all the plans and goals and hopes, that’s why we get up in the morning, why we believe, why we try, why we bake chocolate cakes. That’s the best we can ever hope to do: to win hearts and minds, to love and be loved.”
I’m on a layer cake kick. My new office has more people than my previous one, which is the perfect excuse to bake something a little bigger, without worrying about leftovers. These cakes get devoured in just a few hours. I’ll tell you a secret…I thrive on that feeling. It brings me so much joy. So, besides the fact that this chocolate cake with chocolate mousse filling, chocolate ganache and raspberries is just pure chocolate decadence, once it was all assembled, I realized it’s also a pure “winning hearts and minds” cake too.
It’s a little about fitting in. It’s a little about declaring who I am. Both take perfect shape in the form of chocolate cake.
So I threw this thing together. While it seems over the top, it was really quite simple for me. And I think that’s why I love it. Baking. Chocolate. Feeding people. It means so much. It’s not complicated. It just makes sense.
You can really put these components together in any form…layered cake, cupcakes, a trifle. I spread the mousse between the two cake layers, frosted the top with the rich chocolate ganache and garnished it with fresh raspberries. Make it your own and share it with people around you. I promise it will stir up something to talk about.
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pans
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 3 large eggs
- 1 1/2 cups buttermilk
- 3/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350°. Butter round or square cake pans, and line bottoms with parchment; butter parchment, and dust with cocoa.
- Into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, sift cocoa, flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. With the mixer on low, stir in eggs, 1 1/2 cups warm water, buttermilk, vegetable oil, and vanilla until smooth, about 3 minutes.
- Divide batter among prepared pans. Bake, rotating once, until tester inserted in center comes out clean, 35 to 45 minutes for 8-inch layers, depending on amount of batter.
- Let cakes cool in pans on a wire rack for 20 minutes, then remove from pans and cool completely, right side up on rack.
- 1/2 cup + 1 Tbs sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 3 ounces finely chopped chocolate
- In a small heavy saucepan, combine sugar and cocoa powder.
- Gradually add just enough milk to make a paste, then stir in the rest.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly with a spatula (make sure you’re getting the corners of the pan) until mixture comes to a boil. Boil gently, and stir for about 2 minutes.
- Remove from heat and add vanilla.
- Let cool for 5 minutes. Stir in chocolate until melted and smooth.
- Cover the surface of the frosting with wax paper and let cool until spreadable.
Chocolate Mousse Filling
- 2 1/2 cups cold, heavy cream, plus an additional 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- In a small heavy saucepan, combine the confectioners’ sugar and 1/2 cup heavy cream. Add the chocolate chips, stirring until they melt and mixture becomes well blended.
- Remove chocolate mix from heat and stir in the vanilla. Set aside
- Using the whisk attachment in stand mixer, beat the remaining heavy cream on medium speed. Gradually add the granulated sugar. Once incorporated, beat the mixture on high until stiff peaks form. Gently fold in the chocolate mixture with the whipped cream. (You might not use all of the chocolate.) Don’t over mix. Refrigerate for at least one hour before using.