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TheobromosHumper's avatar

What are your favorite complicated chocolate cakes?

Asked by TheobromosHumper (443points) February 26th, 2013

I’m looking for a cake that takes a lot of effort, uses complicated ingredients and will impress the POTUS. Or, at least, chocolate lovers in a very fancy restaurant. Can you impress me?

Oh, I think chocolate goes well with coffee, amaretto, mint and orange (and possibly lemon). I’m willing to experiment with other, less traditional things, like passionfruit and maybe coconut. Peanuts are forbidden. Any recipe with peanuts will be flagged as non-responsive. You have been warned! I prefer using fresh ingredients, like mint leaves and orange zest. The cakes needs to be rich, yet well-balanced, and not too heavy. I use high-fat butter. Oil had better not be an ingredient.

We’re talking death by chocolate here. Go for it!

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15 Answers

JLeslie's avatar

The Mounds cake at TooJay’s in FL. Chocolate cake with coconut inbetween some layers and two types of chocolate icing.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

No oil, no butter just southern flavor – - from Epicurious. Yes I’ve made it !


2 ounces bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), chopped
⅔ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1¾ cups boiling water
2¾ cups all purpose flour
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
1 cup sugar
1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
1⅓ cups mayonnaise (do not use reduced-fat or fat-free)
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


10 ounces bittersweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), chopped
1½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 cups powdered sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Special equipment: Three 8-inch-diameter cake pans with 1½-inch-high sides


For cake:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour three 8-inch-diameter cake pans with 1½-inch-high sides. Combine chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in medium metal bowl. Add 1¾ cups boiling water and whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Sift flour, baking soda, and baking powder into another medium bowl.Using electric mixer, beat both sugars and mayonnaise in large bowl until well blended, 2 to 3 minutes. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition. Beat in vanilla. Add flour mixture in 4 additions alternately with chocolate mixture in 3 additions, beating until blended after each addition and occasionally scraping down sides of bowl. Divide batter among prepared cake pans (about 2⅓ cups for each).

Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, 30 to 32 minutes. Cool cakes in pans on racks 20 minutes. Run small knife around sides of cakes to loosen. Carefully invert cakes onto racks and let cool completely.

For frosting:
Place chopped chocolate in medium metal bowl; set bowl over saucepan of simmering water and stir until chocolate is melted and smooth. Carefully remove bowl from over water; let melted chocolate cool until lukewarm, stirring occasionally.

Using electric mixer, beat butter in large bowl until smooth and creamy. Sift powdered sugar over butter and beat until well blended, about 2 minutes. Beat in vanilla. Add melted chocolate and beat until well blended and smooth, occasionally scraping down sides of bowl.

Place 1 cake layer on platter. Spread ¾ cup frosting over top of cake layer to edges. Top with second cake layer; spread ¾ cup frosting over. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining frosting decoratively over top and sides of cake. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover with cake dome and let stand at room temperature.

Cut cake into wedges and serve.

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thorninmud's avatar

Here’s one I came up with for a “very fancy restaurant” some years ago:

Chocolate Spoon Cake with Cognac Cherries


10 ounces dried cherries or 10 ounces tart cherries
⅓ cup water
⅓ cup cognac, plus
½ cup cognac
¼ cup sugar


⅓ cup chopped toasted almond
3½ ounces best-quality bittersweet chocolate or 3½ ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
½ cup sugar
4 large eggs, separated
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted


½ cup whipping cream, plus
2 tablespoons whipping cream
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
3 tablespoons milk
1 large egg yolk
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
4 ounces shaved chocolate for decoration (or thin chocolate tiles, if preferred)


For cherries: Combine cherries, water, ⅓ cup Cognac and sugar in small saucepan; bring to boil, stirring occasionally; reduce heat to low and cook until most liquid has been absorbed, about 30 minutes; cool; add ½ cup Cognac; cover; chill overnight.
For cake: Preheat oven to 300F; position rack in center of oven; butter bottom and sides of 9-inch-diameter springform pan; line sides with parchment paper strip; sprinkle bottom with almonds; melt chocolate in top of double boiler over simmering water, stirring until smooth; remove from over water; cool slightly.
Beat butter and ¼ cup sugar in large bowl until fluffy; add yolks 1 at a time, beating well after each addition; fold in melted chocolate, then cocoa; with clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites in medium bowl until soft peaks form; add ¼ cup sugar, beat until stiff but not dry; fold whites into chocolate mixture in 2 additions, folding until just combined; pour batter into pan; bake until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 35 minutes; cool on rack (cake will fall to a height of about 2 inches); cut around sides of pan to loosen cake; release pan sides; remove parchment; reattach sides of pan.
For custard: Preheat oven to 300F; bring cream to boil in small saucepan; remove from heat; add 5 oz chocolate; stir until smooth; whisk in milk, yolk and vanilla; drain cherries well, reserving liquid; press enough cherries onto top of cake to cover completely; wrap outside of pan with foil; pour custard over cake, covering completely and allowing some custard to fill space between sides of pan and cake; press down on cherries to submerge; using tip of knife, pierce any bubbles on surface; bake until custard is barely set, about 30 minutes.
Transfer cake to rack; cool completely; cut around sides of pan to loosen cake; if custard is not completely set, refrigerate cake 15 minutes; release pan sides; press chocolate shavings onto sides of cake; (Can be prepared 4 hours ahead; cover and chill).
Serve cake with ice cream; drizzle ice cream with reserved cherry liquid.

This is definitely a cold weather dessert. I call it a “spoon cake” because the cake and the custard meld into a moist, tender, spoon-friendly mass. It can also be prepared in individual cake rings. Do still use the parchment bands, though, to allow the sides of the cake to pull away from the rings, Cooking times would obviously be much shorter as well.

JLeslie's avatar

@Tropical_Willie I have never seen a chocolte cake recipe with brown sugar. That recipe looks delicious!

gailcalled's avatar

@Tropical_Willie: Remember the OP’s admonition against oil. That puts the kibosh on mayo as an ingredient.

JLeslie's avatar

@gailcalled Good point. I wonder if one could substitute sour cream?

wundayatta's avatar

@gailcalled But mayonnaise isn’t oil. It may be made from oil, but it isn’t oil. Of course, there are a million kinds of mayo, and it’s not clear which ones would be ok.

JLeslie's avatar

@wundayatta What’s the difference if it is oil or only part oil?

I’m curious to see what the OP says about it.

wundayatta's avatar

@JLeslie Big difference. The chemistry is quite different. The taste and feel are different. It’s like the difference between clarified butter (which probably wouldn’t be ok, since it is like oil) and softened, whipped butter.

Sunny2's avatar

Julia Child’s Queen of Sheba cake. Heavenly.

thorninmud's avatar

When you cook mayonnaise, its emulsion breaks down and the oil goes free. In the finished recipe, its exactly as if you had just put oil in the batter.

JLeslie's avatar

I wonder if the original recipe was a Hellmann’s recipe? LOL.

Soubresaut's avatar

This doesn’t really qualify as complicated, but it’s the only kind of cake I really care about, and it is delicious:
German Chocolate Cake. ‘nough said.
This is the recipe I use. It’s quite good. However omit the coconut extract—it’s can be difficult to find one that’s not imitation/has weird stuff in it, and anyway, you have real coconut already; the extract is redundant. Also, use German baking chocolate, like so.
It does call for 2 Tbs oil, sorry, it’s CookingLight… but the cake is ridiculously moist and fluffy. It’s fantastic. Yum.

Tropical_Willie's avatar

@JLeslie I used Hellman’s / Best Food when I baked it.

Adagio's avatar

This cake is certainly impressive, it tastes sensationally good, it helped me celebrate my 50th birthday.

DECADENT FRENCH CHOCOLATE CAKE (stupendously good, the best!)
(Recipe sourced from “The Chocolate Cookbook” by Christine France)

250g Nestle Dark Cooking Chocolate
225g unsalted butter
½ cup (scant) sugar
2 Tbsp Cointreau and zest of ½ orange
5 eggs
1 Tbsp plain flour

Generously grease a spring form tin and line the base with non-stick paper and grease.
Wrap bottom and sides of tin with foil to prevent water from getting into cake.
Put chocolate, butter and sugar into a saucepan over a low heat until melted.
Remove from heat and cool slightly and add the liqueur and orange zest.
In a large bowl beat the eggs lightly for a minute. Beat in the flour then slowly beat in the chocolate mix until well blended.
Pour into tin and place in a large roasting pan. Add enough boiling water to come 2cm up the side of the tin.
Bake for 25–30mins at 180c until edge of cake is set but centre is still a little soft.
Remove from the roasting dish and remove the foil. Cool on a wire rack (the cake sinks somewhat in the middle).
When cooled, remove the side of the tin and turn the cake onto a serving plate so base is the top.
Place strips of paper over cake and dust moderately with icing sugar (remove strips carefully).

Cut in thin wedges, serve individual portions on a plate with fork.

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