I will be bringing a cake next Tuesday for a co-worker’s birthday. The request is for a chocolate cake with mocha buttercream frosting.
I am looking for a moist somewhat fudgy chocolate cake. Which one from TCB can you guys suggest? I haven’t tried any of the chocolate cake from the book. The cake will need to be baked in 9x13, I’m planning to cut it into two then stack them together (I think that’s enough for 15 people, don’t you think?).
I am also thinking of putting a filling in between those two layers. Something with a crunch for texture. Any suggestion? I was almost thinking of making something like a praline buttercream with small bits of praline for the crunch. Will that work? I am open to doing other types of filling if you guys have something that you have tried before.
Jess, the chocolate fudge cake is lovely, with a deep, dark, moist crumb and a bittersweet flavor. It’s texture is lighter, though, not dense. It would pair well with any of the buttercreams flavored with coffee and/or Kahlua and chocolate. I would probably choose chocolate mousseline with Kahlua, but then I have a freezer full of egg whites…
Nuts, or pralined nuts, would make a nice filling mixed in with the buttercream, you could also encrust the sides with them.
If you are looking for a more dense texture, the Domingo is rich, mellow and more fudgy/dense in texture, almost like a brownie that’s extremely tender instead of chewy. They’re very different cakes. And the All-American would work well, too, classic taste and texture.
Hi Jess! Amount of cake seems about right. You might have extra. Rose says 40 servings for a wedding, but dessert-sized or coffee break servings would probably be around 20
Check out Rose’s recipe for praline ganache, p 270 TCB—a variation on her regular dark choc ganache. I would be tempted to use it for the filling only, unbeaten to keep it dense and rich, and stick with your co-worker’s request for a mocha frosting. I love the classic or neo-classic mocha espresso variation. Or you could do straight coffee, if you’d like more colour contrast with the chocolate cake and ganache filling. (The coffee icing is pictured on p. 1 of the colour plates). All those flavours go together so well—chocolate, coffee and praline. mmmmm
As for the cake, lots of choices. Have never made her Chocolate Fudge Cake from TCB. But the Chocolate Velvet Fudge Cake in the new book is the same recipe as her Perfect All-American Butter Cake in TCB, except for how the water’s added. I’m making the new version a little later today. Will let you know what I think!
Thanks, Julie! The chocolate fudge cake sounds good. I think for the filling, I’ll set aside some plain buttercream, add some Kahula, make praline paste and mix it with the cream. Then I’ll fold in small bits of praline for texture.
I guess I got my work cut out for me. I appreciate your help!
Thanks for your suggestions. I finished the cake today. I baked the Chocolate Fudge cake, filling is Pecan Praline crunch buttercream, and frosted with Coffee buttercream. The buttercream base is neo-classic BC.
I forgot to use my baking strips so the cake domed a little bit. I trimmed the cake to cut the dome from the tops. Since I am taking this to work for a co-worker’s birthday, I didn’t slice the cake. However, I did try the combination using the cut-off top, the praline BC, and the coffee BC. I really liked the combination. I thought everything went well together.
Here is a picture of the finished cake. I am out of practice with my piping so it’s not very uniform and clean.
Jess, that’s totally gorgeous!!! And tasty as can be, I’m sure. I’m curious. Was the fudge cake from TCB or RHC? Did you find a good recipe for the praline paste? If so, would love to know about it.
Let us hear the reaction from your coworkers. I have no doubt they’ll be looking to you for cakes in the future.
p.s. Your piping is beautiful! They have a saying in 12-Step groups that I like to remind myself of from time to time: “Progress, not perfection.” Aren’t we all just our own worst critics??!!
The fudge cake was from TCB. I still want to try the one from RHC.
For the praline BC, I actually didn’t use praline paste. I made my own praline with hazelnuts but the recipe I used was not very good. The instruction was to put sugar and nuts in the pan and cook them until the sugar is melted and the right color. I ended up cooking the sugar too long so it had a little bit of bitterness. I personally liked it but I’m not sure if other people would. So I bought the Praline Pecans from Trader Joe’s and used that instead. I just put it in a food processor until they were ground (see the bottom of the cake, that’s the texture of the praline). I just mixed the ground praline to a portion of the BC that hasn’t been flavored with coffee.
I’ll let you know what my co-workers think of the cake.
Very resourceful, Jess! I asked just because it is so hard to make good praline paste at home, and also hard to find as a regular consumer. When I made Rose’s chocolate praline wedding cake a few years back, I went to a local chocolate-making company and shamelessly begged them to let me buy sufficient praline paste from their stock.
It was worth the embarrassment! The cake was divine. I love the result of your experiment with Trader Joe’s praline pecans. Noticed the ground praline around the bottom of the cake. So cool. Well done!
Jess, that is a lovely cake! The piping looks great, I’m sure mine wouldn’t be that nice…
I love your flavor combinations! Coffee combines so well with nuts, caramel and chocolate.
Rose has a recipe for homemade praline “crunch” paste in TCB- I think cooking the nuts along with the sugar would end up over-browning the nuts and producing a lot of bitterness. For hers, you just caramelize the sugar, pour it over the nuts, and chop or process in the FP when cooled.
When smooth praline paste is called for (as in praline silk meringue buttercream), I make the caramel version then add hazelnut paste (got mine from L’epicerie.com).
I have to check the TCB again for the Praline Crunch recipe. I didn’t find one when I was looking for it. I love praline and I love BCs with crunchy praline.
I am also on the lookout for praline paste. I have a few recipes from school that use praline paste and I’d like to make them again. I’ll check out your source Julie and see if I can get some from there.
Julie, about the praline recipe in TCB, are you referring to the one for praline powder on p 315? It was still “early days” for me in extravagant (?!) cake-making when I was doing that chocolate praline wedding cake. So when Rose wrote elsewhere in the book that it’s impossible to make non-gritty praline paste at home, I went in search of a commercial variety. Thank goodness, such things are more readily available now! I like your idea of combining the less expensive powder with the often very expensive commercial paste.
I’m also pleased to be reminded of Rose’s recipe in order to produce crunchier versions. I’ll stop the FP a little sooner, i.e. before the hazelnut brittle is completely pulverized into powder. Jess’ praline pecans from Trader Joe’s looked so nice around the bottom of her cake! And the texture would be a lovely contrast to the cake and bc.
Carolita, FYI, I’m a “he”. Jess is such a common nickname for women, so you’re not the only one who’s made that mistake. If you can get some Pecan Pralines from Trader Joe’s, you should try it! I think it’s pretty good and addicting. It has a buttery/slightly salty taste to it. I though it went really well with the cake.
Rose’s recipe for homemade praline powder (crunchy) is on p.315 of TCB. She reports that it is impossible to achieve smooth praline powder at home.
The product I get from Lepicerie.com is smooth hazelnut paste (100% nuts, no sugar). Since Rose’s silk meringue buttercream already has a caramel version, when I want praline I just add hazelnut paste to the caramel SMBC. Actually, I make a double or triple batch of the caramel SMBC, then divide it up and freeze. I can use that as caramel, as well as use it for the base to make burnt orange, coffee-caramel, and praline.
Sooo… Everyone loved the cake. They thought it was amazing and they couldn’t stop eating the frosting (though some of them usually don’t eat frosting). The celebrant thought it was the best birthday cake she’s ever tried.
And, the person in charge of birthday parties at the office asked me if I can be the official provider of birthday cakes. She asked me how much I charge. I haven’t even thought about that yet. Something for me to think about.