There’s nothing better than a chocolate cake. Be it by itself, with dulce de leche, with a chocolate ganache... It doesn’t really matter. The truth is, chocolate is always good, no matter the form it comes in!! Yes, this is my sweet tooth talking.
I’ve been looking for the perfect chocolate cake recipe for years, and I mean literal years. Back in Buenos Aires, when I was little, I remember devouring chocolate cake on the weekends. But in all honesty, they always came out of a box. Good, but not the real deal.
My model for the perfect chocolate cake would have to be my aunt’s Cuti’s one. I sometimes dream of it, I think. I still remember as if it were yesterday, my joy, my absolute joy when I would go for a visit, and there it would be, over the counter, starring at me. The most delicious cake ever. Or that other time when I was sick and she brought me huge piece. The only thing I remember of that whole week...
Even though we are melting away here, chocolate cake is never out of season, in my personal opinion. So when my friend Julio wanted me to make his birthday cake, and asked for the classic chocolate and dulce de leche cake, I said: oh yes! Everybody loved it.
Pre-heat the oven at 170 C.
Prepare your mold. If it has a base, make sure to butter and flour your mold. If you are using a baseless ring like me, this is not necessary!
Sift all of the dry ingredients together (cocoa, flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt). Set aside.
Butter should be the consistency of mayonnaise. This is called "Pommade"; butter should not be melted. In order to make "beurre pommade", either leave it outside (if it’s really hot it will turn to that state by itself), or put it in the microwave 5 seconds at a time, mixing together before reheating for another 5 seconds. Once you obtain it, mix together the mayonnaise and the butter and set aside.
Whisk together the eggs and the sugar until it is thick and pale yellow. When you lift your whisk the mixture should hold together (It will take 10 minutes give or take!) This is the most important part of the cake! If you don’t whisk enough, the cake will be to liquid. This is what it will hold it together.
Now you are ready to add the mayonnaise/butter. Whisk to combine.
Add half of the fry ingredients and half of the water to your mixture, and mix it together (not with a whisk, but with a spatula!). Add the other half and fold in.
Pour batter into the mold and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes.
The time is approximate! It will depend on the type of oven you have, on the size of your cake. Stick in a knife or a cake tester in the middle to verify if it’s cooked; they should come out dry!
Transfer onto a rack to cool down.
Remove cake from the mold. If you used a ring, do this using a small knife in between the ring and the cake.
For the Chocolate Ganache
Once you’ve put your cake in the oven, it’s time to prepare the ganache.
Cut the butter into cubes.
Cut the chocolate into small pieces and place in a bowl.
Heat the cream (it doesn’t have to boil!), and pour it over the chocolate. Let it rest for about 3 minutes. Using a small whisk start stirring very slowly at the centre of the bowl. Once you notice that the color begins to change, meaning that the chocolate and cream are coming together nicely, you can speed up your movement!
The most important thing when making a ganache is: keep your whisk really perpendicular to the chocolate/cream mixture, and mix really slowly. This will result in a really smooth, free of bubbles, shiny ganache!
Add the butter and mix until combined.
Cover and let it cool down at room temperature.
Once the cake has completely cooled off, cut in half. Try to make both rounds of the same height. Also, cut off the top curved part of the cake if it has risen unevenly in the oven, so that you have an even surface for covering the cake.
Cover the bottom round with dulce de leche. I used a piping bag to evenly spread it.
Make sure you leave 1 cm between the dulce de leche and the border of the cake.
Cover with the second round.
Cool in the fridge for about 10 min.
Once the ganache has hardened enough to manipulate, using a small off set spatula, or the back of a spoon, cover the chocolate cake!
If you have a piping bag and a piping tip, make sure to set a side some off the ganache for final decorations!
Keep the cake outside of the fridge!! It will be hold of perfectly for 2 or three days.
If you want to make the cake in advance, you can freeze it once it’s cooled down, for up to a month. (It’s easier to manipulate when frozen… for slicing it, for example).
For the ganache, if it hardens too much, you won’t be able to cover your cake. In that case, place over the heat the necessary time to make it the right consistency to work with.
It’s important to use good quality cacao for this recipe! As is the quality of the chocolate for the ganache.