The Chocolate Monster, aka Lea’s first multi-layer cake

Let me preface this post by stating that I really, really want cakes to like me. I really do. I enjoy attempting to make cake. The type of post I most enjoy looking at in other food blogs is cake. I do like cake. Most of all, I like to eat cakes. Nice, moist, chocolate, orange, creamy, fruity, coffee-filled, springy cakes. I get so inspired. But, my cakes usually aren’t.

More often than not I’ll have flops, sticky tops, burnt bits, chewy bits, blobs of bicarbonate, and let’s stop here before I embarrass myself too much.

Still, I try. I’m rather unrealistic in my optimism. Hence, any successful cake recipe that you find here on Happy Bellea, baked by me, is generally very forgiving (i.e., idiot proof).

I bravely volunteered to make a cake for my dad’s birthday, an excuse to try to unearth any secret cake-making abilities that might be hidden deep within me. I decided to make a double chocolate cake, the most famous chocolate layer cake on the internet, in fact – Gourmet’s double chocolate layer cake. Double chocolate cake is my favourite cake. Note that there is absolutely no hint of self-interestedness here.

I haven’t made a successful multi-storey cake before. Lets think about that for a moment.


Yes perhaps I was being a bit over-ambitious here. I usually just make bar cakes, or at most a single layer cake with a bit of icing slapped on the top. As I may have mentioned, I’m not someone who others consider as one who can cook. I’m a hobbyist and experimenter who likes to eat. Also a serial ingredient substituter, because of course, don’t you think milo would taste better than cocoa powder? Note: it doesn’t, your cake won’t set properly.

The moment depicted in the photo below is the point at which my brain started to say “oh scrambunctious findlewooshers*, Lea, you’ve bitten off more than you can chew here, you’ve never made a cake which was so big it covered the entire whisk head. Are you mad?”

It was a bit too late to halve the recipe and make a nice little small (manageable, not scary sized) cake. I was committed. Rise or fall, dome or sink, burn or neglect-to-set, I had to keep going. I figured that in a worst case scenario, I could mash the thing up and squish it into a bowl, and later pretend it was a special kind of pudding. Heated in the microwave with cream and ice cream. Whipping cream covers a whole host of evils.

It turned out better than I expected in the end, though any icing tips would be appreciated! The whole thing actually came out slightly slanted, but depending on the angle you look at it, you can’t tell. Of course, it tastes really nice (as the recipe promised). Moist and chocolately and deserving of its internet fame. I ate so much ganache that I felt sick afterwards (the recipe produces way more than needed. Or I might have done it wrong?)

Birthday boy’s conclusion: “So rich. Can die oh!”

Lea’s verdict: this is a very nice cake. Super sinful and indulgent. I truly recommend it to chocolate lovers, and I’ll still keep the recipe. But, I think if you eat this cake, you can’t eat anything for the rest of the day. I really like the taste of the cake itself and moistness of the layers. I also really like the richness of the ganache. But, I’m thinking that the two of these together are perhaps a bit too much (gasp! never thought I’d say that). I want to find a way to lighten up this cake so that it can actually be eaten as a dessert, rather than as a meal by itself. Any ideas?

My first thoughts are:

  • Try substituting the cocoa for milo again, and work on the stickiness
  • Use a different icing, perhaps a milk chocolate or vanilla butter cream – I’ve never made this before but the internet says it’s light and fluffy
  • Use butter instead of oil – apparently this makes a lighter cake? I’m not sure, I’ve never tried
  • Add an extra egg and beat harder?

I’m pretty clueless about these things.

The Chocolate Monster, otherwise known as the most famous chocolate cake on the internet, Double Chocolate Layer Cake

First seen on Love and Olive Oil, but originally from Gourmet/Epicurious. I probably made far too many changes, and that’s why my cakes sometimes fail. Oh well.

100g semi sweet chocolate – increased from 85g, because I like chocolate
1.5 cups strong coffee
2.5 cups white sugar – decreased from 3 cups, I like my cakes less sweet
2.5 cups plain flour
1.5 cups unsweetened cocoa
2 teasp baking soda
3/4 teasp baking powder
1.25 teasp salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup oil
1.5 cups shaken buttermilk – I used a cup and a half of milk and a tablespoon of white vinegar, left to sit for a while
3/4 teasp vanilla essence

Oven temperature: 150 degrees C

  1. Grease and line 2x 10 inch cake tins.
  2. Sift together dry ingredients: sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  3. Make 1 1/2 cups of strong coffee (I used 3 tablespoons of nescafe gold), chop the chocolate, and mix the chocolate into the coffee.
  4. Beat the eggs until they go thick and a pale yellow colour. This takes a few minutes on high with a mixer.
  5. Add the liquids, mix it up – oil, buttermilk, coffee-chocolate mixture, vanilla essence.
  6. Add the flour mixture and beat until combined.
  7. Bake in the tins for 1 to 1 hour 10 minutes (mine took the full 1 hour 10 minutes).
  8. Cool before ganaching!

Chocolate Ganache – This really makes far too much ganache in my opinion, next time I’ll only make about half to 3/4 of the amount. But then again, its possible that I just don’t know how to ice a cake.
450g semi sweet chocolate
1 cup cream
2 tablesp sugar
2 tablesp butter (55g)

  1. Chop up the chocolate. I melted mine a bit too, using the defrost setting on the microwave.
  2. Heat the cream and sugar over low heat until the cream boils and the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Remove from heat, then mix in the chocolate and butter.
  4. Cool until sticky enough to ice the cake. I chucked the entire bowl in the freezer for a bit. Stir periodically.

* I am a polite person, these are things my brain says.


4 thoughts on “The Chocolate Monster, aka Lea’s first multi-layer cake

  1. Pingback: Cheating Milo Dinosaur Cake | My Happy Bellea

  2. Pingback: Peace Offering Cupcakes | My Happy Bellea

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