This cake is intensely chocolate, rich, moist and an utterly decadent treat.
The cake layers and mousse can be made a day or two ahead. Keep refrigerated until assembly time. Then the whole thing goes into the freezer until serving time. Perfect for entertaining.
If you are fortunate to have a slice or two of cake left, just wrap them and place in your freezer. The frozen slices will keep for up to 3 months.
Total Time: See Below Active Time: See Below Number Serves: 12+ Equipment: Mixing bowls, electric mixer, 3 cake pans, parchment paper, shortening for greasing the cake pans, heavy bottomed saucepan
Cake Prep: 10 minutes Bake Time: 20-25 minutes
Mousse Prep: 7 minutes Chill Time: 1 hour
Ganache Prep: 7 minutes Cooling Time: 15-20 minutes
Preheat oven- 350 degrees
CAKE LAYERS- (Can be made ahead)
2 cups sugar
1- 3/4 cups flour sifted
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup boiling water
CHOCOLATE MOUSSE- (Can be made a day ahead)
1 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 quart whipping cream
1/2 package of plain gelatin
CHOCOLATE GANACHE- (make just before assembling the cake)
3 cups- semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups- half & half cream
*Line the cake pans with parchment paper (see note). Grease and flour the pans. (*Note: This step is not required but will make removing the cooled cake layers from the pan much easier.)
Combine the dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Stir to combine. Beat for 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water.
Divide mixture between the three pans. Bake for 20 minutes. The cakes are done when toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Let cake pans cool slightly, then remove the cakes to a rack and cool completely. Wrap and chill until ready to assemble.
Combine the cocoa powder, sugar and the whipping cream in a deep bowl. Beat the mixture with an electric mixer until partially whipped. Part way through the process, sprinkle 1/2 of the package of plain gelatin across the surface of the semi-whipped mixture and continue beating until fully whipped. The gelatin helps stabilize and firm the mixture. Cover and chill.
Place the cream and chips in a heavy bottomed pan and melt over medium low heat stirring gently. Cool slightly.
Remove the parchment and lay first layer of cake on a plate. Spread with half of the chocolate mousse. Place the next cake layer on and spread with the remaining mousse. Place the last layer of cake on top and slowly pour the ganache over it to completely cover the top. It will run over the sides of the cake.
(Note: The ganache recipe makes more than the cake needs. There will be some left over. Use leftover ganache to dip fruit or serve over ice cream.)
Place the cake in the freezer for a minimum of 4 hours. Can be frozen several days ahead. Remove from the freezer 10-20 minutes before serving.
Note- Any leftover cake can be frozen. Cover with plastic wrap and freeze. It stays fresh for 1-2 months if properly wrapped.