The perfect chocolate birthday cake has rich cake layers, soaked in a coffee simple syrup, filled with a decadent chocolate ganache filling, wrapped in an outer layer of chocolate frosting. It sounds like a lot of steps, but all the components are easily made while the cake is baking away in the oven. The longest part of making this cake is waiting to put the candles in it and sharing it with family and friends.
Cake and Frosting
250 g / 2 cups All-purpose flour
350 g / 1 ¾ cups Granulated sugar
55 g / ⅔ cup Dutch process cocoa powder
2 g / 1 tsp Baking powder
1 g / 1/2 tsp Salt
170 g / ¾ cup Mirage Margarine
2 large Eggs
5 ml / 1 tsp vanilla extract
170 g / ¾ cup Sour cream
310 ml / 1 ¼ cup Coffee, cold
1 recipe Vanilla frosting
112 g /1/2 cup Mirage margarine
200 g / 1 cup Golden brown sugar
7 g / 1 tbsp Instant coffee powder
300 g / Dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa), chopped into small pieces
125 ml / 1/2 cup 35% Cream
225 g / 1 cup Granulated sugar
250 ml / 1 cup Water
7 g / 1 tbsp Instant coffee
- Preheat the oven to 350 F (175 C).
- Grease two 8” round cake pans. Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a large bowl mixing bowl and set aside.
- In a separate bowl combine the Mirage margarine with the sugar, vanilla extract and cream with an electric mixer for 3 minutes on high. Add in the eggs and continue to cream for another 2 minutes.
- Add the sour cream and coffee to the mixture and stir just until combined.
- Sift together the dry ingredients, and add them to the wet ingredients. Stir them together using a rubber spatula, mixing just until there are no signs of dry flour left.
- Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, tapping the pan on the counter to remove any large air bubbles.
- Bake the cake for about 35 minutes, until a tester inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean and the top bounces back when lightly pressed. Cool the cake in the pan for 30 minutes then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- While the cake is baking, prepare the simple syrup by adding the sugar and water together in a small pot, stirring until all the sugar is wet. Bring the syrup to a bowl over high heat. Turn off the heat once it begins to boil and all the sugar is dissolved. Add in the instant coffee and stir just until dissolved. Set the syrup aside until it’s time to decorate the cake.
- Prepare the vanilla frosting as directed.
- For the filling, melt the Mirage margarine in a medium sauce pot, then whisk in the sugar, instant coffee and 35% cream. Continue to whisk this over medium heat until the mixture begins to bubble.
- Turn off the heat and add in the chopped chocolate. Let the chocolate sit for 2 minutes before beginning to whisk the mixture from the centre, working to the outer edge.
- Divide the filling into 2 even parts and allow the mixture to cool completely until it is smooth and spreadable, but still holds it’s shape.
- To decorate your cake, gently lift the cakes one at a time and remove the parchment from the bottom of the cakes. Using a serrated bread knife, cut off the top dome of the cakes, (this is called the bloom) giving you a flat surface to work with.
- Using a pastry brush, generously brush the cut top of the cakes with the coffee simple syrup, letting it soak into the cake. If you like, do a second coating with the syrup.
- Spread about a tablespoon of the filling onto the center of your cake stand, this will help keep the cake from sliding as you decorate it. Place the first cake on top of the platter with the cut side up.
- Gently spread one half of the filling over the top of the cake, making sure to take the filling just to the edge of the cake.
- Place the second cake, cut side down on top of the filling. Now look at the cake from eye level and press down on the top cake, securing it in place and giving yourself a nice and level surface.
- Place the cake in the fridge for 30 minutes, allowing the centre filling to set. While this is setting, work on your frosting.
- Place your vanilla frosting in a large bowl, add in the other half of the chocolate filling and begin creaming the two together with an electric mixer. Scrape the sides of your bowl often and keep mixing until the frosting has an even consistency.
- Remove the cake from the fridge. With an offset spatula, coat the entire cake with a thin layer of the chocolate frosting. This layer is called a “crumb coat”, it keeps the crumbs from getting into your final presentation layer. Place the cake back ion the fridge for 30 minutes, allowing the crumb coat to set.
- Remove the cake from the fridge and begin decorating your cake. Place a generous amount of frosting on the top of the cake and begin spreading the frosting with an offset spatula, around the top, slowly working the frosting down the sides of the cake. This can take several passes with a spatula to get nice and smooth. Alternatively, you can go with a rustic look and make give the cake a nice rippled look.
- If you would like to add decorations, try different piping tips to add little rosettes or beads around the bottom and top edge of the cakes.
- Your cake is now ready to serve. It will last up to 3 days, uncut on the counter.
- If you want to store your cake in the fridge, be sure to remove it 1 hour before you want to serve it, to allow it to soften at room temperature.