The Zero Birthdays are the BIG ones—there’s something about marking off the decades, these milestones, that stirs the ethers. Memories are conjured. People bubble up from the past. Karmic ties either unravel, or tighten. (We prefer unraveling…)
In a way–as a matter of reflection of life and times past–the event is as significant to family members and friends as it is to the birthday person. Herself.
This past weekend we celebrated my daughter’s 30th Birthday.
We threw a big wild wonderful party. With LOTS of family, friends, food.
And Gypsy Music. Dancing.
And this magnificent Mocha Fudge Torte.
When I first asked my daughter what kind of cake would she like, she told me she’d have to think about it and get back with me. A couple of days passed when she called,
“Momma, you used to make this really good chocolate cake that had coffee flavored icing. Sometimes you soaked the cake with a raspberry liqueur.”
“Ah! The Mocha Fudge Torte!” I said. I had totally forgotten about it. And, yes, sometimes I did brush some Chambord liqueur onto the layers. I recalled the little round bottle with the royal gold plastic banding and plastic gold crown top—so 1980s!!!!
“Yes! That’s what I want.”
This is such a delicious cake; how could I have forgotten it? The coffee cream cheese icing alone is divine enough to eat in great spoonfuls. Oddly, it’s about the only recipe where I use instant coffee. Trust me, this is what it takes to get that rich coffee flavor while still maintaining the integrity of the frosting. The Chambord is truely not critical to the cause. Madeleine and I sampled it on a piece of leveled cake while I was assembling, and decided it was frou-frou.
Three types of chocolate go into the batter.
Mix the batter by hand, if you like. I love being low-tech when I can.
I actually prefer making the cake in one deep pan, and then splitting the layer. The cake seems moister that way.
MOCHA FUDGE TORTE
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
½ cup cocoa
2 sticks butter
2 cup sugar
1 cup strong coffee
1 cup milk
1 Tablespoon vanilla
2 ½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
parchment paper to line 1 deep 10 inch springform pan, or 2 9 inch cake pans
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cut parchment paper into circles (trace around the cake pans). Lightly spray inside of cake pans, line with parchment and spray again.
Place both kinds of chocolate, cocoa, sugar, butter, coffee, milk, and vanilla in a microwaveable bowl and heat in microwave for 3 minutes. Stir, and repeat if chocolate is not melted. Stir until smooth and sugar is dissolved.
In a separate bowl, sift the dry ingredients together.
Whisk eggs into chocolate mixture, one at a time.
Finally mix in the dry ingredients.
Pour into cake pan(s). If using one 10 inch springform, bake in the middle of the oven for 35-40 minutes. If using two 9 inch cake pans, bake in the middle of the oven for 25 minutes.
Cool. Remove from pans. If using 10″springform, split the layer in half.
I rarely measure confectioners sugar, or vanilla, or the instant coffee—these are approximations that I think will work. I always add a little, and then sample, and then adjust.
INTENSE COFFEE CREAM CHEESE FROSTING
12oz. softened Cream Cheese
4 oz. (1 stick) softened Butter
2 cups Confectioners Sugar
2 Tablespoons Instant Coffee dissolved in
1 Tablespoon Vanilla
Dark Chocolate covered Espresso Beans (optional garnish)
Using a mixer, cream the butter and cream cheese together. Add confectioners sugar and
dissolved vanilla-coffee syrup. Beat well, and taste for coffee flavor and sweetness.
Adjust if necessary.
A Lazy Susan and long flat spatulas help the cause! Level the cake, by slicing off the little rounded top. Place a mound of frosting in the center of the first layer and spread out to the edges. Place second layer on top. Place another mound of frosting on the top, spreading out to the edges, and smoothing over the sides. Slowly rotate the lazy susan, while holding the spatula in place to bring the frosting evenly around the cake. Set in refrigerator to set up before decorating.
Note: I doubled my recipes for both cake and icing for my daughter’s cake to make it extra BIG with three layers (and the fourth layer is in the freezer…)