Winner chocolate cake

So here is what happened…

(If you don’t want to read the whole story scroll down straight to the recipe because I’m going into details here :D)

Maybe what you see in this picture is a beautiful, possibly delicious cake, with lot’s of chocolate, but what I see is a reminder never to underestimate myself and never ever to give up at any point. All it takes to make such a cake is an amateur baker, a bunch of mistakes, another bunch of new strategies and imagination! Improvisation is my best friend and creativity my guide. Whenever things go wrong, I should remember that in the end, it might get even better than I’ve planned. It’s all about strength, both physical and mental!

There was a charity competition at work and because I love to decorate I decided to take part. The moment I heard about the chocolate theme a very one recipe popped up in my mind – “THE most delicious chocolate cake”, that’s what it’s called. I was sure it will do the magic. I’ve never tried it and I’ve never baked it before. But the recipe is from a Bulgarian blogger, her name is Irina and she is a professional baker. She studied at London’s culinary school “Le Cordon Bleu” and currently is working as a chief of sweets in Switzerland. For a recipe with such solid background, it was almost impossible to fail. Here you can see the original recipe Sunshine’s kitchen.

In the end, it was down to my own mistakes to determine the taste and the shape of the cake. But because the result was fantastic I want to share the recipe with you and if you ever want to make a cake for your friends and family here is a good one to try. The cake by itself is very easy to make, it just takes time for the different mixtures to set and cool down. So if it looks delicious to you just give it a try, you won’t regret.

There was one major mistake which prevented me from finishing the cake at a reasonable time – the content of cocoa powder in the dark chocolate. The higher it is the better the mousse will set and the easier to assemble the cake. I used Dr. Oetker Fine Cooks’ Dark Chocolate which contains 54 % cocoa solids which in this case wasn’t enough. So at 1 am in the morning I ended up with a runny mousse and a cake falling apart. My shift at work was supposed to start at 6 am on the same morning and I haven’t slept yet nor decorate and finished the cake. Right in the middle of the night, I had to make an important decision  – either to give up or to figure out a way to deal with it and finish the cake after 6 hours of baking. So I decided to pop the cake in the freezer to see if the mousse will set and wake up at 4.30 to decorate before going to work. On top of that, I had already made the chocolate net which I intended to decorate the cake with and it was already cooling down and getting hard but I just couldn’t think what to do about that as there was no time to make another one.

When things go wrong they really go wrong! There was something wrong with my alarm so I woke up at 5 am and I had to leave the house at 5.30 to go to work! Took the cake out of the freezer and tried to put the chocolate net. Of course, it broke because it was too hard. At that point, nothing was the way I planned. I was about to give up. But it was too late to give up, I was almost in the end. I broke the rest of the chocolate net in a way that looks good and as if it was supposed to be that way. And then what?! 5.15 in the morning, I was in the middle of my kitchen still in my pajamas with no clue how to finish decorating and most importantly no time. I melted the chocolate ganache that was leftover on the kitchen counter and poured it over half of the cake. But it still didn’t look finished so I grated some chocolate and sprinkled following the line in the middle. Then I needed a centerpiece so I found two strawberries in the fridge and finished the cake off with them.

How I got to work on time was a big mystery but I managed to get there by 6 am. At 11 I was full of happiness and so proud of my self because, in the end, it was all worth it! It was not about winning the competition for home-baked cakes but it was about me not giving up and turning the disadvantages into advantages!


180 g all purpose flour

150 g white sugar

125 g brown sugar

60 g cocoa powder

1 1/2 teaspoons of Baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons of Bicarbonate of soda

pinch of salt

2 eggs at room temperature

140 ml buttermilk

75 ml vegetable oil

140 ml fresh hot coffee

How to make:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 C.
  2. In a big bowl combine and mix well all the dry ingredients: flour, white and brown sugar, both kinds of soda and the salt.
  3. Mix the wet ingredients: eggs, buttermilk, and oil and add them to the dry ingredients. Mix everything together.
  4. Pour in the hot freshly made coffee and stir the mixture until nice and smooth. (Keep in mind that the mixture is a bit more liquidy than a usual cake mixture so don’t worry. That is one of the reasons why the cake is light and really delicious.)
  5. Grease a 20-22 cm round baking tin and coat it with cocoa powder, then pour in the mixture.
  6. Bake for about 40-45 minutes. The time depends on the size of the tin so check with a wooden toothpick if it’s ready. It comes out dry of the cake when it’s ready. If it’s steaky leave it for another 5-10 minutes.
  7. After the sponge is baked leave it to cool down completely and cut into 3 layers.

Ingredients for the chocolate mousse:

400 g chocolate (200 g milk and 200 g dark chocolate with a high content of cocoa)

400 ml whipping cream

3 egg yolks

3 egg whites

How to make it:

  1. In a bowl chop the chocolate into pieces. In a saucepan heat the cream to a boiling temperature and pour it over the chocolate pieces. Leave to rest for a minute then stir until smooth. Leave it to cool down at room temperature stirring occasionally. This is called ganache.
  2. Whisk the egg yolks until the mixture is pale yellow and thick over gently simmering water. (Be careful the bottom of the bowl not to touch the simmering water otherwise the yolks will cook and you’ll end up with scrambled eggs :D) Add them to the cool ganache.
  3. Place the ganache in the fridge for at least an hour until it cooled down and got thicker.
  4. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until light and fluffy.
  5. Scoop my scoop add the egg white to the chocolate ganache which at the beginning will be very thick but by adding the egg whites will become light and airy.
  6. Place in the fridge for another 30-40 minutes until thick and easy to apply.

Very important: The higher content of cocoa powder in the dark chocolate the better. If you use only milk chocolate the mousse won’t thicken enough and will be runny like mine and I struggled to use it so I’ve had to put in the freezer to set.

To assemble the cake start with one layer of the sponge on a cake stand then evenly add some of the mousse. Then repeat with the rest of the layers and finish with the mousse. Decorate as you like. You can use whatever you have in the kitchen or just grated white and dark chocolate.

How to make parchment paper cone see here

I used Dr. Oetker Dark Chocolate Chips for the decoration.