As soon as my mom and dad decided to come and visit me, I knew the perfect way to welcome them would be to bake them a cake. And I knew exactly what I wanted to make for them : The most heavenly and delicious looking black and white cake that I had been dying to try out. Since this was going to be my first attempt at making a layered cake with two different creams, I wasn’t expecting it to be perfect!! I also summoned my boyfriend to help me with the “layering” part of it.
As expected, we had a few disasters in between. The cake turned out to be really nice and the dark chocolate cream was amazing too. We did have some trouble with the white chocolate cream though (more about that with the recipe). After debating for a while on what to do to salvage the cream and the cake, we decided to have just three layers instead of the original four (we had enough white cream for one layer only).
End result? It was actually pretty delicious :):) Mom and Dad loved it, they couldn’t believe we made it ourselves and whenever I make it next (SOON!!!!), it is going to be even more awesome 🙂
Recipe for Black-and-White-Chocolate Cake
adapted from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home To Yours, pages 258 to 260 | Makes 10 servings
For the Cake
- 2 cups cake flour
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/8 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1-1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup buttermilk*
For the Dark Chocolate Cream
- 2 cups whole milk
- 4 large egg yolks
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch, sifted
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted
- 2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces, at room temperature
For the White Chocolate Whipped Cream
- 6 ounces premium-quality white chocolate, finely chopped
- 1-1/2 cups heavy cream
For the garnish
Chocolate shavings or curls, dark or white or a combination, for decoration (optional)
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.
To Make the Cake
- Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes. Add the eggs one by one, and then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don’t be concerned if the mixture looks curdled.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula.
- Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean. Transfer the cakes to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then unmold, remove the paper and invert to cool to room temperature right side up on the rack.
To Make the Dark Chocolate Cream
- Bring the milk to a boil.
- Meanwhile, in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar, cornstarch and salt until thick and well blended. Whisking without stopping, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk – this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won’t curdle – then, still whisking, add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream.
- Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (make sure to get into the edges of the pan), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat. Whisk in the melted chocolate, and let stand for 5 minutes. Then whisk in the pieces of butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the chocolate cream is smooth and silky.
- Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the cream until chilled, or for up to 3 days. Or, if you want to cool the cream quickly, put the bowl with the cream into a large bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water and stir the cream occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.
To Make the White Chocolate Whipped Cream (This cream is a little tricky)
- Put the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and put the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir frequently to melt the chocolate evenly. It is important to use a really good quality white chocolate like Guittard, I found it in Sur La Table.
- Bring 1/2 cup of the heavy cream to a boil.
- When the white chocolate has melted, remove the bowl from the pan. Pour the hot cream into the melted chocolate and let it sit for a minute. Using a small spatula, stir the chocolate gently until it is smooth. Let it sit on the counter until it reaches room temperature – it can’t be the least bit warm when you add it to the whipped cream (very important).
- Working with the stand mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the remaining 1 cup heavy cream only until it holds the softest peaks. Turn the machine to high, add the cooled white chocolate all at once and continue to beat until the whipped cream holds firm peaks.This is the tricky part, you have to pay a lot of attention as to when the firm peaks start forming. When they do, STOP immediately. Beating it for even a second more will make the cream curdle and separate, which is what happened on our first attempt at making the cake.
- Turn the whipped cream into a bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap gently against the surface to create an airtight seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 6 hours.
To Assemble the Cake
- If the tops of the cake layers have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. Slice each layer horizontally in half. Place one layer cut side down on a cardboard cake round or on a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper.
- Remove the dark and white chocolate creams from the refrigerator and whisk each of them vigorously to loosen and smooth them.
- With a long metal icing spatula, spread enough dark chocolate cream (about 1 cup) over the cake layer to cover it completely. Top the cream with another cake layer, cut side up, and cover this layer with white chocolate whipped cream, making the white layer about the same thickness as the dark layer. Cover with a third layer, cut side up, and cover with another cup or so of the dark chocolate cream. (You’ll have some dark chocolate cream left over – use it as a dip for madeleines or sables.)
- Top with the final layer of cake, cut side down, and frost the sides and top with the remaining white chocolate whipped cream. If you’d like to decorate the top with chocolate shavings or curls, do it now. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
Remove the cake from the fridge about 20 minutes before serving. Use a serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to cut it. Though the cake is particularly good with coffee or tea, it also goes well with a sweet or sparkling dessert wine.
While both the dark chocolate cream and white chocolate cream can be made ahead and kept tightly covered in the refrigerator, once assembled, the cake is best after about 3 hours in the fridge. However, it can be refrigerated overnight – just cover it loosely and keep it away from foods with strong odors.