Chocolate Vertical Layer Cake
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Chocolate vertical layer cake is one of the most decadent cakes I’ve made, a great symphony of flavors and textures. Moist chocolate sponge cake filled with apricot jam and mascarpone coffee frosting, rolled and topped over a crunchy, buttery biscuit base, everything coated in Mascarpone frosting, topped with chocolate ganache and decorated with chocolate shards.
Not only it looks awesome due to its vertical layers but it’s also very delicate and flavorful. Coffee, chocolate and apricots make such a great flavor combination and the almond, buttery chocolate biscuit adds an amazing texture, so don’t think of skipping this step 🙂
Decorating the cake with chocolate shards makes the cake more impressive even though it’s probably one of the easiest ways to decorate a cake. Hope you will try it out and enjoy!
Prep time 1 hr + +chilling time
Cook time 25 mins
- Makes about 12-14 servings
- Chocolate Biscuit
- 1/4 cup (55g) butter, chilled, cut into small pieces
- 1/2 cup (50g) ground almonds
- 2 tbsp (30g) brown sugar
- 1/3 cup (40g) all-purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp (1g) salt
- 1 1/2 tbsp (12g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 tsp (5ml) water
- Chocolate Sponge
- 8 eggs, separated
- 1 cup (200g) sugar, divided
- 1 tsp (5g) vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (60g) all purpose flour
- 1/2 cup (60g) unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp (2g) baking powder
- 1/2 tsp (2g) salt
- Jam for filling
- 6 tbsp (120g) apricot/peach jam
- Mascarpone Frosting
- 1 pound (500g) Mascarpone cheese, room temperature
- 1 cup (120g) powdered sugar
- 1 2/3 cup (400g) whipping cream (35% fat), chilled
- 1 tsp (5g) vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 tsp (3g) instant coffee powder
- Chocolate Ganache
- 3.5 oz (100g) semisweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup (120g) whipping cream
- Chocolate Shards
- 2 oz (60g) semisweet chocolate
- 2 tbsp (20g) semisweet chocolate, for tempering
- 1 1/2 tbsp (15g) white chocolate
- 1/2 tbsp (5g) white chocolate, for tempering
- Prepare chocolate biscuit dough. In a large bowl combine flour with sugar, almonds, cocoa powder and salt. Incorporate chilled butter to the flour mixture, using a pastry blender, a fork or a pastry processor, until crumbs are formed. Add water and stir until incorporated. Wrap it with plastic, shape into a disc and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Roll the dough between two pieces of parchment paper or plastic wrap until it’s about 8 1/2 inch (21cm) in diameter.
- Use a 8 inch (20 cm) ring to cut a circle. Remove the excess dough. Refrigerate the dough for about 30 minutes before baking.
- Preheat oven to 350F (180C).
- Prick the circle of dough with a fork and bake for 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool completely.
- Prepare chocolate sponge. Grease and line with parchment paper two 12×16 inch (30x40cm) baking sheets. Set aside.
- Separate egg whites from yolks. Add ¾ cup (150g) sugar over the yolks and mix until creamy. Add vanilla and mix to combine.
- In a medium bowl whisk flour with cocoa powder and salt and incorporate into yolks mixture.
- Whip whites until foamy. Gradually add ¼ cup (50g) sugar and continue whipping until stiff peaks form.
- Gently and gradually fold the whites into the yolks mixture.
- Divide batter evenly into the prepared baking sheets. Spread the batter evenly and bake for about 10-12 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Sprinkle with powdered sugar. This helps the sponge cake not stick. Flip the cake over the paper. Remove the parchment paper it was baked with. Let cool completely.
- Prepare Mascarpone frosting. In a large bowl mix Mascarpone until smooth. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and coffee and mix until incorporated.
- In a separate bowl whip cream until stiff peaks form. Gradually incorporate into Mascarpone mixture. Refrigerate until ready to use.
- Assembly. Trim the edges of chocolate sponge. Cut each vertically in three equal strips.
- Spread evenly a thin layer of peach/apricot jam, about 1 tbsp (20g) of jam for each strip.
- Spread a thin layer of frosting onto each strip.
- Roll first strip of cake. Roll the first strip into the second sponge strip. Continue rolling into a spiral until all strips of sponge are used. Refrigerate for about 1 hour to set.
- Place the cooled biscuit onto a serving platter. Spread a bit of frosting. Add the rolled cake on top. Cover with remaining frosting. Smooth the edge and top of the cake.
- Use a 1M star tip to pipe frosting around the bottom of the cake.
- Refrigerate the cake for about 1 hour or overnight.
- Prepare chocolate ganache. Place chocolate and cream in heatproof bowl and place over a pan with simmering water. Melt over low heat.
- Use a spoon and start making drips around the edges. If the ganache hardened too much heat it a bit over bain-marie to get to a pouring consistency. When you finish all the drips on the edges fill the top with ganache and spread it evenly using the offset spatula. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes before decorating.
- Prepare chocolate shards. Melt 2 oz (60g) semisweet chocolate over bain-marie. Remove from heat and add 2 tbsp (20g) chopped semisweet chocolate for tempering. Stir until melted.
- Spread chocolate evenly into about 9 x 6 inch (23x15cm) rectangle on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
- Refrigerate for 10 minutes.
- Melt 1 ½ tbsp (15g) white chocolate over bain-marie. Remove from heat and add ½ tbsp (5g) white chocolate, for tempering.
- Drizzle with white chocolate on top of the dark chocolate.
- Refrigerate to set.
- Cut with a sharp knife in different shapes. Refrigerate until ready to decorate the cake.
- Before serving decorate the cake with chocolate shards by pressing each shard into the icing. Enjoy!