We celebrated my mom’s 49th birthday at her house in Jamestown this past weekend. As an amazing gift, her good friend came over and made our whole family dinner and hors d’oeuvres. She took care of everything, just asking me to make the cake! My mom’s not a huge cake fan, which posed a bit of a challenge because likes the frosting much more than the actual cake! She does like chocolate chip cake so I decided to do 2 layers of that with a third layer in the middle of marble chocolate chip cake. For the filling I went with a simple chocolate ganache and a traditional buttercream for the frosting. To “dress” it up and add more frosting than neccessary I iced it in a basket weave design and made chocolate curls to top the cake.
First make the cakes, starting with the chocolate chip layers. Preheat the oven to 325 degree and prepare two 9″ round cake pans by buttering them and putting parchment rounds in the bottom. Whisk 3 cups all purpose flour, 2 1/2 tsp baking powder and 1/2 tsp salt in a medium bowl, set aside. Cream 2 sticks room temp unsalted butter and 1 cup + 2 tbsp sugar in the bowl of an electric mixture. Add 4 large egg whites in one at a time. In alternating additions add the flour mixture and 3/4 cup buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour. Fold in 2/3 cup mini chocolate chips, divide evenly among the pans and bake for 30-35 minutes.
Next, make the marble chocolate chip layer. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and prepare one 9″ pan the same way as before. Whisk 1 3/4 cups all purpose flour, 2 tsp baking soda and 1/2 tsp salt in a medium bowl and set aside. Combine 1/3 cup whole milk and 1/3 cup heavy cream in a small bowl and set aside. Beat 1 stick room temp unsalted butter and 1 cup sugar in the bowl of a mixer on medium speed for 5 minutes. Add3 large eggs one at a time and mix in 1 tsp vanilla. Add the flour and the milk mixtures in alternating additions, starting and ending with the flour. Fold in 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips. In a separate bowl, mix 1/3 cup cocoa powder with the boiling water and then stir 1 cup of the cake batter into it. Fill the pan alternating the batters in a sort of checkerboard pattern and then use a skewer to “marble” the cake. Bake for 30-40 minutes.
Next make the ganache filling and the chocolate curls, because both will need time in the fridge to firm up. Make the ganache by simmering one cup of heavy cream and pouring it over 9 oz of chopped semi sweet chocolate. Let it stand for a minute and then whisk until smooth and put in the refrigerator to firm up. To make the chocolate curls, put 2 ounces semi sweet chocolate and 1 tbsp crisco in a pyrex measuring cup and microwaving for 20 seconds. Mix with a fork until the chocolate is smooth and then pour it onto the back of a cookie sheet. Spread the chocolate as thin as you can and then put it in the freezer. This is the tricky part… you need the chocolate to be firm enough the curl but not so cold that it just breaks into pieces. There’s no science to it you just have to keep pulling it out and trying it. Use your spatula to push lines in the chocolate and it will curl. Just keep doing it until you have the desired amount. Store in the fridge in a Tupperware container.
Make the buttercream frosting by creaming 1 cup unsalted butter and 1 cup crisco in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add in 2 tsp pure vanilla extract and then 8 cups sifted confectioner’s sugar. Add in 2-4 tbsp milk, one tbsp at a time until it gets to the right consistency… light and fluffy and not too stiff but not too thin either. Stack the cakes like this… chocolate chip layer, half the ganache, marble layer, the last half of the ganache and then the other chocolate chip layer. Crumb coat the cake with the buttercream, filling in all the holes in between the layers. Put the remainder of the icing in a pastry bag fitted with a #47 tip. To make the basket weave pattern, make one vertical line and then make short parallel lines leaving open spaces in between each one. Make another vertical line over the short lines and repeat, filling in the spaces. Repeat until the entire cake is done. Change to a #1m tip and pipe around the bottom of the cake. Alternate rosettes with herseys kisses along the top of the cake and then fill in with the chocolate curls.