TBT: Divergent + Dauntless Chocolate Cake
Book: Divergent by Veronica Roth
Recipe: Dauntless Chocolate Cake
Oh, Divergent. I tore through this book like none other in 2011. Dystopia? Check. Daring life choices? Yes, please. Overcoming fears? Let's just check ALL the boxes.
No matter what house..err.. faction you might relate to the most you can't deny that Dauntless would be AWESOME. Jumping onto trains, off of buildings, throwing knives, and well. Four. Hellllo. I lean toward Amity (#Hufflepuff forever) but even I know Dauntless is just fantastic.
Dauntless cake has always stood out to me. Cake? Where's the cake? Why aren't there more details about the CAKE? Was it a sheet cake? Layer cake? Were there crunchy bits? It was a clue (spoiler alert) that Tris' mom was Dauntless before becoming Abnegation at her choosing ceremony. And then poof. The cake was gone and never mentioned again. Cruel cruel world. I. Need. Answers.
Well now we're going to make ourselves the most badass Dauntless Chocolate Cake ever. EVER.
Dark chocolate fudge cake - aw yes.
Milk chocolate ganache filling - nom.
Dark chocolate ganache poured over top - Dauntless ain't got no time for straight edge buttercream.
bubble sugar flame - 'cause fire.
We're going to start with the filling as it has to sit at room temperature for several hours to set up. Super easy, we're just going to melt milk chocolate and heavy cream together until smooth. Done. Bam. Set that aside and we'll come back to it later.
CAKE. The best part. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
This is a little different because it uses oil instead of butter. I swear you won't miss the butter (first and last time I'll ever say that) Mix the brown sugar and oil together.
Beat on medium speed for 3 to 4 minutes, until nice and combined. I stop and scrape at least twice just to make sure it's all incorporated. Then add the eggs one at a time. SnS in between each egg.
Beat in the vanilla bean paste.
Whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Alternate the dry ingredients with the milk, starting and ending with the flour mix.
Boil the water and stir in the cocoa powder. Slowly pour into the batter on low speed. Mix until just incorporated.
Spray pans well (I like Baker's Joy) and place on a sheet pan. Pour in cake batter and bake for 25-30 minutes.
Set cakes aside to cool. While they're cooling we're going to play with some sugar. Isomalt to be exact! It's sugar made from beets, it's easier to work with than cane sugar and doesn't crystallize as easily. These nibs are SO easy to use. Just pop them in the microwave! I divided this packet into thirds to color yellow, orange, and red for the flames.
Place one third of the nibs in a microwave safe glass container, heat for 30-45 seconds until isomalt is melted and bubbly. Using a toothpick stir in some food color and pour onto a silpat mat to set. I strongly recommend a mat for this as it might stick to parchment paper! Drizzle the isomalt in any pattern you'd like, we're going to smash it up next. The thinner it's spread the easier it will be to break up.
Be careful, the isomalt and container will be very hot. I use a small washcloth to help hold the container and not burn myself!
Repeat with the two other colors.
By the time you're done with all 3 colors the first color should be set and ready to go. Check out how easy it is to pick up the sugar from a silpat mat:
Break up the pieces and place into plastic bags. I divided each color into their own bag but you can put them all into one if you want. I double bag them as the sharp sugar tends to tear the bag and make a mess. Whack away with a rolling pin!
Spread them however you'd like on a silpat mat. I did layers of red and orange with most of the yellow around the edges. Cover with another silpat and bake at 350 degrees for about 10 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes and remove the top silpat. Let sit until room temperature and then crack into pieces.
Level your cakes and then slice each in half for 4 layers.
Whip the milk chocolate ganache we made earlier with a hand mixer or whisk.
Spread several tablespoons onto the bottom 3 layers.
Use the last bit of the milk chocolate ganache to lightly ice the sides of the cake. Let chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes to set the ganache. Line a sheet pan with plastic wrap and place a cooling rack on top to catch the overflow of poured ganache.
Melt the dark chocolate and heavy cream together in the microwave. Immeadiately pour over the top of the cake and let run down the sides. Let ganache sit for 10-15 minutes. Garnish with sugar decorations and serve.
Welcome to Dauntless, y'all.
Dauntless Chocolate Cake
Makes a 6" cake that feeds 10 people
Dark Chocolate Cake:
10.5oz Brown Sugar, preferably dark
3oz Oil, Vegetable or Canola
2 Large Eggs, Room Temperature
5.35oz All Purpose Flour
1 + 1/8 teaspoons Baking Powder
1 + 1/8 teaspoons Baking Soda
3/4 teaspoon Salt
2 teaspoons Vanilla Bean Paste (or extract)
2.35oz Cocoa, preferably dark
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Beat brown sugar and oil together at medium speed for 3-4 minutes. Stop and scrape at least once. Add eggs one at a time, stopping and scrapping well in between each egg. Beat in the vanilla bean paste.
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Alternate adding the flour mix with the milk, starting and ending with the flour mix.
Boil the water and stir in the cocoa powder. Pour cocoa water into batter on low speed. Mix until just incorporated.
Grease 6" pans well, I prefer Baker's Joy, and pour in batter.
Bake for 25-30 minutes.
Milk chocolate ganache filling:
6oz Milk Chocolate
4oz Heavy Cream
Melt together in microwave for 30-45 seconds, stirring every 15 seconds until smooth. Let sit at room temperature for 3 to 4 hours until thickened. Beat with a hand mixer to whip before using.
Dark chocolate ganache frosting:
6oz Dark Chocolate
6oz Heavy Cream
Melt together in microwave for 30-45 seconds, stirring every 15 seconds until smooth.
Pour over cake immediately.
Isomalt bubble sugar:
7oz Isomalt Nibs
Gel Coloring, suggested red, orange, and yellow
Divide isomalt nibs into thirds. Microwave each third separately for 30-45 seconds or until bubbly and melted.
Stir in color with a toothpick and pour over a silpat mat to cool. Repeat with the rest of the colors.
Break up pieces and place into plastic bags, crush with a rolling pin.
Spread crushed isomalt evenly over silpat mat, cover with another silpat mat.
Baked at 350 dgrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and let sit for 5 minutes. Remove top silpat mat. Let cool to room temperature.
Break into shards and pieces.
Level both cakes, cut both leveled cakes in half for 4 layers. Spread a thin layer of milk chocolate ganache on the first layer of cake. Add the second layer of cake and another layer of ganache. Cakes might slide around a little, just nudge them back in place. Repeat with remaining layers of cake leaving the very top of the cake unfrosted. Lightly ice the sides of the cake with the milk chocolate ganache and rest in the fridge for at least half an hour to firm up.
Right before you pull the cake out of the fridge line a sheet pan with plastic wrap and place a cooling rack or other slotted rack on top. Place the cake on the rack. Make the dark chocolate ganache frosting and immediately pour the ganache frosting over the top of the cake and let pour down the sides. I like to leave a little of the naked cake showing through but that's just my personal preference!