One of my first weekends in Auckland a couple of months back involved a big Friday followed by a BYO Saturday, and some scrumpy, and a basketball court, and some karaoke, and then a gin, which lead to a series of events involving an awkward encounter with a guy I'd been on a blind date with way back in December, a friend's couch, and my stomach lining. I had to say sorry to aforementioned friend, and when at her flat a couple of weeks later it was decided, through tears of laughter recoiling the story (not without comparison to this story, and in fact involving the same friend, but I'll spare you the details), that I would make them all a chocolate cake to say sorry. They all threw ideas at me: "cookies and cream!" "berries!" "layers!"
I love a good layer cake, and I love nothing more than dedicating hours on end to baked goods for loved ones. These friends live in a purple palace in Grey Lynn, and when they wanted a chocolate cake, they got a freakin' chocolate cake.
I used the same recipe I'd used to make a wedding cake earlier in the year (still, ahem, to be blogged) which makes a full proof, dense, moist and fudgey cake. Don't be alarmed that it uses two and a half cups of caster sugar (!!!) - I used a little less than that and it was fine; this cake is enormous. I made it in two cake tins of about 32cm and cut each cake in half to make a 4 layer cake with 3 fillings, and ganache on top.
Purple Palace Layer Cake
the original recipe was suggested by Lucy as a wedding cake when I was begging for help on twitter. Published here, it also contains a useful conversion chart for making it in different sizes.
Serves at least 16.
250g chocolate (I used dark, but you can use a mixture)
250g butter (if using unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon salt with the butter)
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules/powder
188ml (3/4 cup) water
325g (2 cups plus 2 tablespoons) plain flour
30g (1/4 cup plus 2 teaspoons) cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups caster sugar
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons oil - sunflower or canola
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk
Line a tin with baking paper - you made need to make this in batches unless you're making a giant one. I made mine in 2 large springform pans.
Place 250g chocolate, butter, coffee and water in a large saucepan over low heat, stirring occasionally. When chocolate and butter are melted, remove mixture from heat and allow to cool.
Sift the flour, cocoa powder and bicarbonate of soda together into a very large bowl, and add sugar and mix together.
In a medium bowl, place eggs, oil, vanilla and buttermilk. Whisk the wet ingredients together until well combined.
Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir until well combined.
Add the chocolate mixture to the egg and flour mixture in a three batches, stirring until combined after each addition.
Pour mixture into pan and cook for about 1 hour. If making one large cake, you may need between 1 and a quarter and 1 and a half hours. For different sizes and cooking times, check the original recipe here.
As mentioned above I cut each of my two cakes into two layers. The first layer, at Abbie's request, was cookies and cream. This involved whipping a whole heap of cream, then adding a packet and a half of coarsely chopped oreo cookies.
The next layer up was a raspberry coulis of sorts. I simmered a small packet of frozen raspberries with a squeeze of lemon juice, a little vanilla and some sugar.
The top layer, and Rob's favourite apparently, was simply softly whipped cream with a generous teaspoon of good quality vanilla extract, and a little icing sugar.
I topped it off with chocolate ganache. Valrhona dark chocolate melted with cream, and left in the fridge to thicken. I had some pink cream cheese icing leftover from my cousin's birthday cake, so dotted that around the edge for fun.
It was beautiful, it weighed about 3kgs, and from what I hear it was demolished with love.