By Michael Harris-Arzon, The Simplistic Professional
They say ‘The Devil’s in the details’. That doesn’t mean that it should be more work. I used to always bake cakes completely from scratch. That is, until I realized the number of steps I could skip… if I used a prepared cake mix and added the extras.
Baking is a very precise process. The ingredients MUST be measured out exactly or the end result could be disastrous. That is because baking relies on the chemical interactions of the various ingredients in order to work. Just a pinch too much of baking powder will make your cake as dense as a rock.
For that reason, using prepared mixes are ideal for those that don’t bake often. Simply follow the instructions on the box and add nuts, chocolate chips, coconut or other flavors to enhance the basic nature of the cake.
- 1 Box German Chocolate Cake Mix
- 2 Boxs Instant Chocolate Pudding Mix
- 3 Cups Heavy Cream
- 3/4 Cup Whole Milk
- 1/2 Cup Hazelnut Coffee Creamer (Liquid)
- 1/2 Cup Light Brown Sugar
- 3 Large Eggs
- 1/3 Cup Melted Butter, Salted
- 1/4 Cup Dark Cocoa Powder
- 1/2 Cup Pecans, Chopped Medium
- 1/4 Cup Almond Slivers
- 1/2 Cocoa Nibs
- 1 Cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
- 2 Tbs. Bustello Expresso Powder
- Non-Stick Cooking Spray
- All Purpose Flour
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
- In a small bowl, melt your butter in the microwave and set aside to cool down. Cooking Tip: When using melted butter in recipes that also include eggs, let the butter cool down, to almost room temperature, so that when you add it to your recipe, you don’t end up scrambling the eggs.
- Take a large metal bowl and place into your refrigerator to get cold. Place your heavy cream into a small metal or glass bowl and place into the freezer until needed. Cooking Tip: Whenever you are making mousse, you want your cream and mixing bowl to be as cold as possible, with out actually being frozen.
- Next, to a large mixing bowl add your cake mix, cocoa powder, light brown sugar and expresso powder. Mix together well with a wire whisk until all lumps have been removed from your dry ingredients.
- Once you have your basic dry ingredients combined, add your hazelnut creamer, whole milk and your 3 eggs to your mixing bowl. With a wooden spoon or hand mixer, mix your cake batter until everything is well combined. About 100 strokes if by hand or about 2 minutes with the hand mixer.
- Next, add your melted butter and mix until combined. Add your cocoa nibs, 1/4 cup of chopped pecans and your chocolate chips. With a wooden spoon or rubber spatula, gently fold into your cake batter.
- Now you will need 2 9″ round cake pans that have been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Take about 1/4 cup of all purpose flour and add to each cake pan. Gently swirl the flour around in the pan until the entire surface has a light coating of flour. To ensure there are no lumps, dump out the excess flour and tap the upside down cake pan on the bottom to remove any lumps of flour.
- Next, divide your batter between the two cake pans and bake on the center rack of your oven for 25-30 minutes. When you remove them from the oven, gently bang each cake pan on your cutting board to help each cake come out of the pan easier for cooling. Place your two cakes onto a cooling rack until they are completely cooled down to room temperature. Cooking Tip: When baking cakes that are darker in color, you need to check them a little more often than say a yellow cake that you can tell is golden brown and close to being done. You can tell if your cake is done baking when you lightly touch the center of the cake and it bounces back like a sponge and when a tooth pick is inserted into the middle and it comes out clean.
- While your cakes are cooling, remove your heavy cream from the freezer and your mixing bowl from the refrigerator. Add your two boxes of instant pudding and your heavy cream to your large, metal mixing bowl. With a large wire whisk or hand mixer, whip your mousse ingredients together until it reaches stiff peak stage. Cooking Tip: The best way to test your mousse and make sure that it is whipped enough is to turn the bowl upside down and not even a drop should come out of your bowl.
- Finally, lets put together this amazing cake. The first thing you want to do is to place your bottom cake layer onto a cake plate or dessert platter. Then, with a bread knife, gently cut the top of the cake off so that it is flat and not rounded. Take about half of your chocolate mousse and using a rubber spatula, spread evenly across the top of your bottom cake layer. Place your top cake layer and spread about half of the remaining chocolate mousse over the top of the cake. Place your cocoa powder into a small, hand held, mesh colander and gently tap to provide a light dusting of cocoa powder. Then, add your remains mousse into a piping bag or medium size ziplock bag that has had a corner cut off. Pipe medium size dollups around the edge of your cake and sprinkle with your remains nuts. Cooking Tip: When you are decorating cakes, place a dollop of frosting or in our case, mousse to the center of your cake plate. This prevents the cake from moving around while decorating. Then it is best to take 3-4 pieces small pieces of parchment paper and place around the edges of your plate to keep the edges clean while decorating. Once you are done decorating, gently pull out the parchment paper pieces and you will have a pristine edge surrounding your beautifully decorated cake.
- Enjoy this amazing, yet simple, Nutty Expresso, Hazelnut Chocolate Cake With Chocolate Mousse the next time you are entertaing family and friends.