Friday, December 27, 2019


With the end of the year being so very close now, I think it is time for chocolate cake. Nine layers of dark chocolate cake, white chocolate filling, and a gorgeous cookies and ganache topping.
Milk and cookies are a classic dessert combination, for many the first they experience, and pairing it with chocolate felt like the right decision for this lavish holiday cake. It does not have to be a holiday cake; it can very well accompany a hearty Sunday lunch or compliment a brunch, with a glass of fine dessert wine.
Beauty in simplicity and plenty of chocolate. And if you are anything like me, and love ice cream cakes, place it in the freezer about 15 minutes before serving, and it will have a marvellous, frozen texture.

For the cake layers
400 ml tepid water
45 ml vegetable oil
100 grams jam
100 grams ground walnuts
150 grams granulated sugar
250 grams plain flour
15 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
For the filling
500 ml whole milk
60 grams plain flour
40 grams cornflour
50 grams granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
100 grams white chocolate
200 grams unsalted butter, softened
50 grams icing sugar, sifted
50 ml cold milk, for brushing
For the topping
150 ml double cream
100 grams dark chocolate (60% cocoa solids)
200 grams chocolate chip cookies
For the decoration
100 ml double cream
30 grams icing sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
assorted cookies

Start by making the filling, as it takes a bit of time for it to cool down completely. Take out about 100 ml of the cold milk and pour it into a medium bowl. Sift in the cornflour and the plain flour, and whisk until smooth. Pour the rest of the milk into a heavy-bottomed pot, tip in the sugar, and bring it to a boil over medium heat. Once it starts to boil, pour in the cornflour mixture in a thin stream, whisking constantly with a wire whisk. Cook for about 2-3 minutes, still whisking constantly, or until thickened. Remove from the heat, and add in the vanilla bean paste and the white chocolate. Whisk vigorously until the chocolate is melted, and then cover the surface with cling film, and let it cool down to room temperature.
To make the cake layers, pour the water into a large bowl, add in the oil and the jam, and whisk until the jam is dispersed. Add in the ground walnuts and the sugar, and mix again. Finally, sift in the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda. Whisk until combined. Line four small round cake tins (15 cm), and divide the batter evenly between them. Bake, in a preheated oven, at 180°C, for about 12-15 minutes, or until it springs back when lightly touched. These will bake very quickly, so watch them carefully. Once they are baked, let them cool slightly in the tins, and then transfer them to a wire rack to cool down completely.
When the filling has cooled to room temperature, beat the softened butter with the icing sugar on the highest speed until light and fluffy, and then, beating constantly, add the cooked custard, a tablespoon at a time, to the butter. The filling should be completely smooth and creamy when completely blended. If you wish, level the cake layers if needed, brush them lightly with cold milk, and then gently place the first layer on the cake platter. Wrap a tall layer of acetate around it, and then place a cake ring to hold it in place. Spread one fourth of the filling on the cake layer, top it with another cake layer, and repeat until all of the cake layers are used up, and the last layer is covered in filling. Place the cake in the refrigerator for at least an hour, to firm up.
For the topping, chop up the chocolate and place it into a large bowl. Heat up the cream until very hot, but not boiling, and pour it over the chocolate. Gently mix until the chocolate is melted, and set it aside. If the cookies you are using are particularly soft and chewy, place them in a hot oven, at 180°C, for about 5-6 minutes, until crisp, and let them cool down. If they are already thin and crunchy, just place them in a food processor, and pulse until coarse crumbs are formed. Add the cookie crumbs to the ganache, fold them through, and pour everything over the chilled cake. Return the cake to the refrigerator, for at least 4 hours. For the final decoration, whip up the double cream with the icing sugar and the vanilla, decorate as desired, and arrange some more cookies on top. Serve well chilled, in thin slices. Yields 16 servings.