Often, our guests ask us to bake cakes for special occasions. This past week we got to bring out an trusted favorite: Chocolate sourdough cake with a chocolate ganache topped with Chantilly cream. Anna Maria and Chef Jessica joined forces to bake and decorate this cake to perfection! We love this recipe because it’s perfect for those of us with sourdough starter that needs to be used up.
Note: The infused Chantilly cream needs to be prepped a day in advance so be sure to give yourself enough time.
Chocolate Sourdough Cake Recipe
Makes 12-16 servings
1½ cup cake flour
1 cup sour dough starter
⅓ cup powdered milk
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 cup strong black coffee
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz bittersweet or couverture chocolate (72% or higher), finely chopped
4 oz European style unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, separated
Chocolate Ganache Ingredients
1 cup heavy cream
8 oz bittersweet or couverture chocolate (72% or higher), finely chopped
1 Tbsp European style unsalted butter
Infused Chantilly Cream Ingredients
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioners sugar, more or less to taste
1 tsp dried culinary lavender buds
1/2 vanilla bean
For the Cake
- Preheat oven to 350°. Prepare three parchment-lined 8-inch cake pans with cooking spray.
- Whisk together the flour, milk, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- Combine sour dough, coffee and vanilla extract. Set aside.
- Cream butter and sugar together in a medium bowl. Add egg yolks and chocolate; mix until combined.
- Add flour mixture alternately with wet ingredients, mixing until batter is smooth.
- Beat egg white until soft peaks form; fold into batter.
- Divide into prepared pans and bake for 30 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the middle comes out dry and edges of cake have shrunk from the sides of the pan.
- Cool 10 minutes then remove from pans; place on wire racks to cool completely.
- Level each cake. Save scraps. Cut each cake in half horizontally.
For the Chocolate Ganache
- Heat cream in a sauce pan until simmering. Pour over chocolate and let stand 5 minutes.
- Stir to blend until smooth. Add butter and stir until fully incorporated. Set aside.
For the Infused Chantilly Cream
- Slice vanilla bean lengthwise.
- Bring vanilla bean, culinary lavender and heavy cream to a simmer in a small sauce pan. Steep for 15-20 minutes. Refrigerate overnight.
- The next day, strain lavender and vanilla pod.
- Scrape seeds into cream. Place in large bowl and whisk with until soft peaks form.
- Place a tablespoon of ganache in center of cake plate. Place one layer of cake cut side down on top of ganache. Push down on cake to level. Spread chocolate ganache evenly on cake. Repeat five times until all the cakes are stacked.
- Use an offset spatula and spread a very thin layer of Chantilly cream on top and around the entire cake. This creates a crumb coat that seals in the crumbs and filling.
- Place cake in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours for crumb coat to set and dry to the touch.
- Spread remaining Chantilly cream on the cake. Decorate as you wish!
Take a Little Spin: We happened to have some fresh cherries on hand so we altered the recipe a bit for this particular cake. We omitted the lavender in the Chantilly cream (although it goes well with the cherries so you can certainly leave it in). Then, we pitted the cherries, macerated them with some sugar and cherry brandy, and layered them on top of the chocolate ganache in between the layers.
Note: Sourdough is used to naturally leaven breads without commercial yeasts. It is a living organism that requires regular feedings of water and flour. You can create a starter at home with water, flour, and a bit of patience or purchase a dehydrated starter or pinch a bit of starter from a friend. Every time you feed the starter you discard some, so this cake is the perfect way to use the excess.
In order to achieve a nice flat stacked cake and a stable base for the remaining layers, we level each cake. We freeze the scraps for an English trifle – a dessert consisting of layers of chocolate ganache, vanilla custard, fruit, whipped cream and cake or brownie cubes beautifully presented in a stemmed glass bowl.
Nobody can turn down a rich, old-fashioned chocolate cake. This is a real favorite that we make when a guest requests a birthday cake. When berries are in season, we add them between the layers.