Friday, April 15, 2022


One of the greatest compliments to me, as a baker, is when a cake I made is the first one to disappear from the serving platter. I always make desserts that I personally enjoy, and it warms my heart to see others love them as much as I do. Through food is how we bond, and it is a great pleasure and honour to be able to create something that will make people happy. I have found my calling in this, and I am thankful for every idea and inspiration I have had.
This little cake has been an instant favourite ever since I made it for the first time. The soft cake layers, different flavours and textures from the different mousse fillings, the extra dark syrup; just perfect. I believe I made this cake over a dozen times, and every time it is the first one to go. I always have, and always will take that as a great compliment.
On a final note, this cake is marvellous when served straight from the refrigerator, or even after a short stay in the freezer, as that makes the mousse fillings have a wonderful ice cream texture. Serve it with a good cup of coffee, hot and strong, and enjoy.

For the soft chocolate cake
250 grams plain flour
40 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
300 grams granulated sugar
10 grams baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
50 grams extra dark chocolate (95%), grated finely
425 millilitres boiling water
3 teaspoons instant espresso powder
100 millilitres vegetable oil
1 ½ teaspoons vanilla bean paste
For the extra dark chocolate syrup
120 grams granulated sugar
150 millilitres cold water
5 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
50 grams extra dark chocolate (95%), grated finely
For the vegan white chocolate mousse
200 grams vegan white chocolate, chopped finely
100 millilitres plant double cream
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
For the vegan milk chocolate mousse
120 grams vegan milk chocolate, chopped finely
200 millilitres plant double cream
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste
For the dark chocolate mousse
100 grams dark chocolate (75%), chopped finely
200 millilitres plant double cream
½ teaspoon vanilla bean paste

Start by making the chocolate fillings, as they need a bit of time to cool down, so they can be whipped into a mousse. Chop the chocolate bars finely, and divide them into three separate bowls. Prepare three bowls for heating the plant cream, and heat it up over low heat until almost boiling. Alternatively, you can carefully heat up the entire quantity of cream until it almost comes to a boil, and then divide the hot cream, measuring carefully, into each of the prepared bowls of chocolate.
Whichever approach you choose, pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate, and let it stand for a minute, so it starts melting, and then gently mix and fold, until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. If you find that the dark chocolate is not melting as quickly as others are, gently heat it up, over the lowest heat setting, until melted.
Once the chocolate has melted fully, cover the surface of each of the fillings with cling film, let them cool down to room temperature, and then place them into the refrigerator for at least four hours. This will make it easier to whip them into a mousse later on.
Next, make the chocolate cake layers. Sift the plain flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add in the sugar and the grated chocolate, and mix very well. Add the espresso powder to the boiling water, mix it well, and set it aside so it can dissolve nicely.
Take another large bowl, pour in the coffee, oil, and the vanilla, and blend it very well. Create a small well in the centre of the sifted dry ingredients, and pour in the wet ingredients. Whisk until only blended, being careful not to overmix.
Line a rectangular baking pan (20x30 cm) with baking parchment, bottom and sides, and pour in the batter. Tap the pan a few times on the counter, to remove and bubbles, and then bake it in a preheated oven, at 180°C, for about 20-25 minutes.
Check it for doneness early, as every oven bakes differently, and the cake should remain as soft and moist as possible. As soon as a toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean, it is done. Remove them from the oven and let the cake cool down in the pan for about 10 minutes, and then invert it on a wire rack, and let it cool down completely.
To make the extra dark chocolate syrup, place the sugar into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, sift in the cocoa powder, and whisk them together well. Pour in the water and mix to combine. Place the saucepan over high heat and let it come to a boil. Once it starts to boil, cook the syrup, stirring constantly, for 3-4 minutes, depending on the desired thickness of the sauce, and as soon as it starts to thicken, remove it from the heat. Add in the grated chocolate, and the vanilla, and whisk until melted and incorporated. Even if it seems runny at that point, it will thicken as it cools.
When everything is cool to the touch and ready, proceed to assemble the cake. Level the cake, if necessary, and slice it in half crosswise and lengthwise, to create four thin rectangular layers. Set them aside for the time being.
Take all of the fillings out of the refrigerator, and whip each one into a mousse, using an electric mixer. The textures of the fillings will vary depending on the type of chocolate. The vegan white chocolate mousse will be dense and creamy, the vegan milk chocolate will be very airy and voluminous, and the dark chocolate mousse will be somewhat dense and rich. Reserve half of the milk chocolate filling into a separate bowl, and set it aside.
Place the first cake layer on the serving platter, generously soak it with the cooled extra dark chocolate syrup, and carefully spread on the white chocolate mousse. Top with another layer; add the syrup, and half of the milk chocolate mousse. Repeat the process once more, with dark chocolate, and top with the final cake layer. Cover the entire cake in the reserved milk chocolate mousse, and place it into the refrigerator for at least eight hours. When ready, slice it into thin slices, and serve with additional dark chocolate shavings, and strong coffee. Yields 12 servings. © TINA VESIĆ 2022

Author's note: Depending on the type or the brand of vegan white chocolate used, the white chocolate mousse may be a tad softer after whipping. If you feel like the cake is weighing down on it, or you notice it being almost pushed out under the weight of the cake, create a little dam over it with the reserved milk chocolate mousse, or even a bit of the dark chocolate mousse. That should help greatly.
If you are more comfortable that way, reverse the order of the fillings, and start with the dark chocolate mousse, instead of white chocolate. That will give the cake more stability, which can come in handy if you are transporting the cake.