Friday, August 25, 2023


I find all cakes wonderful. Chocolate cakes, fruit cakes, vanilla cakes, they are all equally wonderful to me. And every time I make a new cake, I am convinced it's the best one so far.
This is a lovely and rich celebratory cake, simply perfect for gatherings of all varieties. The cake layers are soft and fudgy, and the filling is absolutely glorious and smooth.
If I actually had to choose a favourite part of the cake making process, it would be making the filling. There is something so satisfying in mixing a smooth batch of chocolate cake filling, especially with a hand mixer.
However, this beauty does require a bit of preparation and chilling, especially if made on a summer day, but it is worth it. Seven layers of pure chocolate, nougat, and caramel.
Speaking of nougat, the kind used in the recipe is the Viennese nougat, a soft chocolate kind, which can be softened at room temperature and also melted, if necessary. I do have to say, if you can find soft vegan chocolate nougat, this cake can easily be made entirely vegan, which is something that I encourage. Simply replace dairy products with plant-based equivalents, and follow the recipe in the same fashion.

For the soft chocolate cake layers
160 grams plain flour
30 grams unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
big pinch of salt
180 grams granulated sugar
150 grams vanilla yoghurt
100 millilitres whole milk
100 millilitres sunflower oil
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
For the nougat filling
400 millilitres whole milk
40 grams cornflour
40 grams plain flour
75 grams granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
125 grams softened butter, diced
100 grams dark chocolate (80%), chopped
100 grams German-style hazelnut chocolate nougat (blød nougat), softened
For the caramel sauce
120 grams granulated sugar
120 millilitres double cream
30 grams butter
big pinch of flaky salt, optional

Start by making the caramel sauce. Add the sugar into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, shake it well, and place it over medium heat. Let it heat up slowly, without stirring. Heat up the cream in a separate pan and keep it warm. Once the sugar becomes fragrant and amber in colour, remove the pan from the heat and immediately add in the diced butter.
Stir vigorously until blended, and add in the cream. Stir until everything is combined well, returning to the heat for a moment, if necessary. Remove from the heat, add in the salt, if using, and transfer it to a container so it can cool down completely. Once cooled, place it into the refrigerator until set.
To make the base for the filling, pour the cold milk into a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add in the cornflour, plain flour, vanilla, and the sugar, and whisk until nicely blended. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and let it heat up slowly. As soon as it starts to steam, start whisking. Once it comes to a boil, cook it, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth, about 2-3 minutes. Remove it from the heat, transfer it to a large bowl, and add in the diced butter and dark chocolate, one piece at a time, whisking constantly. If you wish, you can use an immersion blender, as well. When the filling is nicely blended, cover the top with a piece of cling film or baking parchment and let it cool down to room temperature.
To make the soft chocolate cake layers, sift the flour into a large bowl, sift in the dark cocoa powder, and add in the baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk briefly, add in the sugar, and whisk well to incorporate. Make a well in the centre, pour in the milk, yoghurt, oil, and the vanilla, and whisk until just blended. Line two small round cake pans (15 cm) with baking parchment, and immediately bake, in an oven preheated to 180°C, for about 15 minutes. Check them even before the 15-minute mark, to make sure they stay soft and fudgy. Take them out of the oven, and let them cool down to room temperature in the pans.
Once everything is cool to the touch, proceed to assemble the cake. Level the cake layers, if necessary, and split each of them into two thin layers, and take the caramel sauce of the refrigerator so it can soften up slightly.
Beat the soft nougat with an electric mixer on high until smooth, and do the same with the chocolate filling base. That way, they will blend together much quicker. Add the soft nougat to the filling, and whisk on the highest speed for 2-3 minutes, until well combined. Divide the filling into three parts by weight.
Place the first cake layer onto the serving platter, place a cake ring around it, line it with a tall sheet of acetate, and close it in place. Add a third of the nougat filling, followed by a generous drizzle of the caramel sauce. Repeat the layering until all of the filling and all the cake layers are used up. There should be some caramel sauce left.
Cover the top of the cake with a piece of parchment, and place the cake into the refrigerator for at least 8 hours. When ready to serve, remove the cake ring, decorate as desired, and serve with the remaining caramel sauce. Yields 20 servings.