About a year ago I made a cake for my Dad’s birthday that has continued to be an extremely popular post, which is not really a surprise considering its delicious title: “Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Layer Cake“. I had big plans for an elegant chocolate collar around that cake, but a number of technical difficulties forced me to leave it naked with the insides exposed. Looking back, I really like the rustic look of an unfrosted layer cake, but this time I wanted to work on my technique and dress the cake properly. I was baking a cake for my Grandma’s birthday after all, decency had to be considered. So here it is, my Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Layer Cake redux with an outer coating of hazelnut buttercream, chocolate ganache topping, and a sprinkling of toasted hazelnuts. Okay, on second thought, maybe this cake is a little indulgently inappropriate after all…
I realize my buttercream’s not perfectly smooth, the ganache wasn’t quite as “drippy” as it should have been, and my cursive would shame my 2nd grade teacher — but I was still very excited to present this cake to my Grandma, I felt like a real baker! I haven’t posted many fully completed layer cakes, mostly because I avoid attempting them in the first place since they’re generally more time consuming than a batch of cupcakes, but also because with all the amazingly beautiful cakes floating around in the blogosphere, I’m simply intimidated. I can pipe a mean swirl of frosting on a cupcake, but baking and building an evenly stacked cake, with smooth frosting, and darling decorations is a much more daunting task. However, last weekend I had a whole Saturday with no plans (my favorite kind of Saturday), so decided to hone my skillz and make my Grandma a special birthday treat. My Grandma is the Queen of Chocolate, and seeing as she is my father’s mother, I knew she would enjoy it just as much as he did for his birthday.
The cake was just as delicious the second time around and I’m so glad I had the time to conquer a layer cake and help ease my comfort with them. Now I’m anxious to attempt more flavor combinations and decorating schemes, but unfortunately our upcoming school schedule doesn’t seem to have much room for such aspirations. Maybe I can fit in some smaller cake endeavors in between crazy a8am-5pm dental classes and starting to study for the boards. I mean let’s face it, who would I be if I wasn’t irresponsibly baking during the busiest times of my life??
Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse Layer Cake
For the cake and mousse filling recipe, follow instructions here:
For the chocolate hazelnut buttercream (for frosting the outside):
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3-1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup hazelnut mousse (from above)
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
- Slowly add the sugar and beat until well-incorporated.
- Add the mousse and beat well (add more mousse if you want a thinner consistency).
For the chocolate ganache glaze:
4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
- Place the chocolate in a medium bowl.
- Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering, then pour it over the chocolate and let it sit a couple of minutes.
- Whisk until the mixture is smooth and homogeneous, then blend in the corn syrup and vanilla.
- Pour the glaze into a measuring cup with a spout, and let cool for about 7 minutes (I let it go for 10, and thought mine was too thick. If you think yours might be too thick to pour nicely, just pop it in the microwave for 5 second intervals)
- Slowly pour glaze over the cake, ensuring the top is covered and some of the glaze drips over the sides.
For some great tips on putting together and decorating layer cakes, check out these awe-inspiring blogs that put me to shame beyond belief:
Sweetapolita – 50 Tips for Baking Better Cakes
I am Baker – Cake Decorating Ideas