Sunday, December 9, 2012

dn's Chocolate Sin Cake

If you are looking for a decadent dessert to serve this holiday season - or any time of year for that matter - look no further!  Have I got a chocolate dessert for you!!

Just over a year ago, while having dinner out with some gal pals, I had THE most decadently chocolate dessert that I've ever had in my life! It was called Chocolate Sin - a dense, moist dark chocolate cake with a creamy chocolate filling and a bittersweet chocolate ganache! It truly was to die for!

I decided to attempt to create my own version of this amazing dessert. I looked for recipes online but what I found was far more complicated and fussy than I was willing to attempt - even for that intense chocolate fix! I wanted something that was fairly simple to do - that didn't require major baking skills.

Yup, I wanted a lazy version!

The cake itself was the easiest part. I used my tried and true Better Than Sex Cake recipe. If you have a good dense dark chocolate cake recipe, you could easily substitute it for the cake - assuming you want to make it from scratch! 

The filling and ganache would be trickier. Real ganache is made with high quality chocolate and whipping cream. I refuse to buy whipping cream as it is ridiculously expensive and way too rich for my taste.  I also hate trying to heat it then temper it with the chocolate to make a smooth ganache. It is finicky and prone to disaster if you aren't really careful!

There had to be a simpler way that I could imitate the original without all the fuss and bother!

With a bit of thought, I decided to try doing the filling with a combination of melted bittersweet chocolate and Nutella combined with softened light cream cheese. The first attempt at the filling was a bit on the dry, crumbly side but with a bit of tweaking, I came up with a smooth creamy filling. The ganache to spread over the entire cake would be made with additional melted bittersweet chocolate and Nutella.

I made the cake for a friend's birthday and they raved that it was the best cake ever! I also made the cake for the same gal pals I had dined with and they thought I had indeed captured the flavours and textures of what we had devoured at the restaurant!

This recipe can be made using two 8" or 9" round cake pans. I have also used smaller round pans to make mini cakes - see near the bottom of this post for smaller pan sizes, bake times and altered quantities for filling and ganache. There is also a version for a lemon cake with the chocolate filling and ganache!

A little goes a long way with this cake so the full size will easily serve 12-14.

dn's Chocolate Sin Cake

1 devil's food chocolate layer cake mix
1 instant chocolate pudding mix - 4 serving. Not the low cal variety!
3/4 cup chopped almonds - toasted
1 cup semi sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips
4 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable/canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup fat free sour cream

Pre grease two 8 or 9 inch round pans.* Preheat oven to 350F

Combine the cake mix and pudding mix. Remove about 1-2 Tablespoons and mix it with the chocolate chips and almonds. Set aside.

Add the eggs, oil, extract and sour cream to the remaining cake/pudding mixture. Mix on low to combine then increase to medium and beat till light and smooth. Stir in the chocolate chips and almonds.

Divide batter evenly among the pans and bake till toothpick test comes out clean - about 30 - 35 minutes depending on pans and your oven.

Remove to cooling racks and let cool for about 10 minutes. Carefully run a knife around the edge of the pan to loosen any edges from the side. Place a second cooling rack on top of the pan and carefully invert the cake to remove from the baking pan. Allow the cakes to cool completely then chill for a couple hours or overnight.

Filling and coating
2 Tablespoons liqueur such as Cherry Brandy, Kahlua, Frangelico, Amaretto or Grand Marnier 
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1 cup Nutella (Hazelnut spread)
1 8 ounce light cream cheese, softened to room temperature
toasted almonds for garnish
With a pastry brush, gently brush the liqueur on the bottom of each layer.

Place strips of wax paper along the outer edges of a cake plate - overlapping so that it forms a full border around the edge of the plate. Lay one of the cakes - top side down in the center of the plate.

Place the chocolate and Nutella in a microwave safe bowl and melt on medium heat - stirring every minute till fully melted and smooth. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a medium sized bowl, beat the softened cream cheese till light and fluffy. Add about 1/2 of the chocolate mixture and mix thoroughly. Carefully spread the chocolate cream cheese mixture evenly onto the bottom layer of the cake. Spread evenly to the edges but do not go over the edge. Align the top layer - top side up.

Carefully drizzle the remaining chocolate/Nutella mixture over the top of the cake - allowing it to drip down the sides. With a knife, carefully spread the melted chocolate to cover all sides. Sprinkle the top with toasted almonds. Chill in fridge for at least 30 minutes. With a sharp knife, carefully cut around the bottom of the cake to separate any dripped chocolate on the waxed paper from the cake itself. Gently slide the wax paper out from under the cake. Return cake to fridge to chill.

Remove cake from fridge about 15-20 minutes before serving to allow chocolate coating to soften slightly before slicing.


*If using smaller pans adjust baking times. I generally use 4 smaller pans and find it takes about the same amount of time as an 8" round does. Even though the pans are smaller around, the cake is deeper so the time really isn't that much different. Check them after about 30 minutes.
Make a separate mini cake from each pan. Once the cakes have cooled and chilled slightly, using a sharp knife, carefully slice the cakes horizontally so that you have two layers from each pan. You can also freeze any of the mini cakes BEFORE frosting them. Allow to thaw in the fridge before slicing and frosting.

For the smallest (5"-6") cakes, I use 1/2 the quantity of the filling and coating recipe.
1 Tablespoons liqueur such as Cherry Brandy, Kahlua, Frangelico or Grand Marnier 
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
1/2 cup Nutella (Hazelnut spread)
4 ounces light cream cheese, softened to room temperature
toasted almonds for garnish

For a 7" pan, I use a 3/4 recipe.
1 1/2 Tablespoons liqueur such as Cherry Brandy, Kahlua, Frangelico or Grand Marnier 
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces
3/4 cup Nutella (Hazelnut spread)
6 ounces light cream cheese, softened to room temperature
toasted almonds for garnish

Flavour variation:
Substitute a Lemon layer cake mix and lemon pudding mix for the chocolate cake and pudding. Make the cake as above. For the liqueur, I use Bacardi Limon but you could use Frangelico or Amaretto. The rest of the recipe and procedures are as above.


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