This article was originally published in the April 2015 Anniversary Issue of VRAI Magazine.
Ever since the VRAI Magazine team planned on celebrating our first anniversary during the whole month of April, I have been dreaming about creating our anniversary cake. What is a celebration without cake?! Cake is an absolute must have at any celebration and it has to be outstanding! I wanted to create something fun and whimsical. I wanted a cake that felt rustic and real, something that would start a conversation. Nothing too fancy or intimidating. I wanted something that celebrated the spirit of the VRAI Magazine team and what we do here, and I think I may havedone just that!
It was only about eight years ago that the only kind of cake I knew how to make was from a box and even that wouldn’t have turned out very good. I didn’t know how to cook, I didn’t consider myself a writer, or story teller, or photographer. I could barely follow a recipe let alone create one all of my own. That person that I was eight years ago is difficult to recognize. It’s amazing how much life can change and evolve if we just let it. And a lot of my passions have developed and evolved this year through working on VRAI Magazine with all of these incredibly talented people. Making it through our first year is definitely something to celebrate. The magazine has changed and evolved during this year, but our main vision has always remained the same. To be genuine and to share our passions and stories that inspire.
This cake is over the top. The layers are intensely chocolate and very moist, BUT right on top is a layer of crunch. Puffed rice cereal covered in chocolate create the best crunch and contrast in texture. Topped with honey scented icing, chocolate shavings, and chocolate hazelnut tuille cookies…need I say more? It is an explosion. A celebration of flavor! A celebration cake for VRAI Magazine’s first year. Happy Anniversary, team! We did it!
Chocolate Crunch Celebration Cake
- 1 3/4 cups (7.45 oz) all purpose flour
- 3/4 cup (2.25 oz) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or dutch processed – dutch processed will give the most chocolate flavor)
- 2 cups (14 oz) granulated white sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 2 large (3.6 oz) eggs
- 1 cup (8 oz) buttermilk
- 1/2 cup (4 oz) vegetable or canola oil
- 1 TBSP vanilla extract
- 1 cup (8 oz) hot coffee
- 10 oz good quality dark chocolate (65%+), plus extra to for shavings
- 1 TBSP butter
- 1 splash of cream
- 3 cups chocolate rice krispies (rice puffed cereal)
- 2 large egg whites
- 3 TBSP honey
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp cream of tartar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
For the Cake
- Preheat your oven to 350F. Prepare two 9″ cake pans by greasing well and flouring. Make sure the flour covers all of the pan and up the sides. Tap out the excess. Set aside.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer fit with the paddle attachment, or a large bowl with a hand mixer, mix together the flour, cocoa powder, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
- In a separate bowl or large liquid measuring cup, lightly whisk together the eggs, buttermilk, oil, and vanilla extract. With the mixer on medium speed, slowly pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients. Mix just until incorporated. Scrape down the bowl.
- With the mixer still running, slowly pour in the hot coffee until just incorporated. The batter will be very thin and liquidy!
- Divide the batter between two cake pans and bake in a 350F oven for 30-35 minutes, until a cake tester comes out with just a bit of moist crumb stuck to it. Cool for at least 20 minutes before depanning!
- Run a butter knife around the edges of the pan. Place a cooling rack over the cake pan and holding with both hands flip the cake pan over. Gently tap the bottom to ensure the cake has released from the pan. This cake is very moist and fragile. Take extra care!
For the Chocolate Crunch
- Chop up your chocolate and melt it with the butter and splash of cream over a double boiler or in short bursts in the microwave.
- The the chocolate cool for about 5 minutes (to avoid soggy cereal!), then stir in the chocolate rice krispies.
- Divide the mixture onto the 2 cooled cake layers and gently spread out evenly across the tops, going right to the edges
For the Frosting
- Place the egg whites in a heatproof bowl with the honey, sugar, cream of tartar, a good pinch of salt and a splash of water.
- Place the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, turn up the heat and, with an electric hand whisk, beat for 6 to 7 minutes or until it starts to form peaks. Remove the bowl from the heat, add the vanilla extract, then continue beating the mixture until thick. Let cool for 5 to 10 minutes, then evenly top each cake layer and stack them up nicely. To finish the cake off, use a large knife to shave some extra chocolate, then sprinkle it over the top and top with chocolate hazelnut tuile cookies.