Four Layers of Chocolate Heaven


chocolatecake.jpgImagine a fluffy, moist chocolate sponge, drizzled with syrup, flavoured with coffee or orange liqueur, then spread with velvety chocolate ganache. Now multiply that by four. I bet I have your attention. Stop whatever you are doing and get in the kitchen. This cake is so worth your time.

Ingredients for the sponge

  • 60 grams cocoa
  • ½ cup boiling water
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 80 grams unsalted butter
  • 9 large eggs
  • 200 grams sugar
  • 150 grams all purpose flour

For the syrup

  • ½ cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • 5 Tbs Tia Maria or any other liqueur of your choice

For the chocolate ganache

  • 500 grams good quality semisweet chocolate
  • 550 grams cream


Preheat oven to 175 C (350 F). Butter the base of two 22,5 cm (9 inch) round springform pans. Line base with parchment paper.

Prepare the ganache. Chop chocolate in a heatproof bowl. You can also use a foorprocessor for this. Heat the cream and as soon as it comes to a boil, remove from the heat and pour on top of the chopped chocolate. Leave to stand for 5-10 minutes, then stir with a spatula until chocolate has melted and mixture is smooth. Cool to room temperature until spreading consistency. If your kitchen is too warm (or you live in Cyprus!), chill ganache in the fridge, stirring occasionally, until spreadable. Ganache can be prepared up to two weeks in advance and chilled. When you are ready to decorate, leave the ganache out of the fridge overnight, so that it’s spreadable again. If ganache is still thick, stir over a bowl of warm water until desirable consistency.

Make the syrup. Put sugar and water in a small saucepan over high heat. Stir to dissolve sugar. As soon as mixture boils, take it off the heat and cover with a lid. Leave syrup to cool completely. Add liqueur and mix.

Make the chocolate sponge. In a medium bowl mix the cocoa with the boiling water and the vanilla. Leave to cool. In another saucepan melt the butter over low heat. Leave aside to cool slightly.

Break the eggs in a bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the whisk attachment. Add the sugar and beat at high speed for approximately 10 minutes, until mixture becomes really fluffy and doubles in volume. Meanwhile sift the flour in a bowl.

Take about one cup of the egg mixture and add it to the cocoa. Stir with a spatula until incorporated.

Fold the sifted flour to the egg mixture and mix gently with a spatula. Try not to deflate the mixture too much. Add the cocoa mixture and keep folding gently until incorporated. Finally, fold in the melted butter.

Divide mixture into prepared pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until a cake tester or wooden skewer comes out dry. Run a small metal spatula around the cakes to loosen from the sides of the pans. Leave the cakes to cool in the pans for ten minutes.

Invert cakes on two cardboard rounds or plates and remove the parchment paper from the base. Re-invert the cakes again so that they are facing the right side up. Leave cakes to cool completely.

Split cool cakes in half so that you have 4 round pieces, cut side up. Brush the syrup on all four cakes. The syrup might look too much but it’s not. It will be absorbed by the cakes. Let the cakes stand for 30 minutes. At this stage you can wrap cakes in plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge fro 24 hours. Actually, chilling the cakes will make it easier for you to stack them, as they become firmer and less fragile.

Assemble the cake. Lay one round piece of cake on a round serving platter. Spread with ganache and top with another piece of cake. Repeat process and finish by spreading the remaining ganache on top of the final layer and the sides of the cake. Keep assembled cake in the fridge. Remove one hour before serving. This cake is best assembled one day before serving.

Note: You can half the ingredients and make a two layer cake if you wish. It would still be delicious. In the half dose version, you can use 5 eggs.

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