Saturday, March 12, 2011

Chocolate Cake

Copyright 2011 LtDansKitchen blogs
I've had my share of chocolate cakes but my favorite growing up was a D'Bakers chocolate cake. It was a dark chocolate cake with a caramel frosting and was really good but I never figured out how to make a version of it. Last time I was home, they didn't have it in their shop anymore. There was another pastry shop however that carried a chocolate cake that reminded me of a chocolate cake that we used to gorge on when we were working in the lab on our last semester before graduating from college. I've made a version of this cake a number of times but finding the right cake base was the tricky part. After a lot of cake searching, I finally settled on Dave Lieberman's Best Chocolate Cake Ever from his book, “Dave's Dinners: A Fresh Approach to Home-Cooked Meals”.

With a little bit of tweaking, I've made this cake a number of times with great results. I'm showing two versions that take this cake from great to awesome.

*Dave Lieberman's Best Chocolate Cake Ever (Adapted)


3 large eggs
1 cup full fat yogurt
1 stick melted unsalted butter (4 oz)
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ½ cup sugar
1 ¼ cup flour
¾ cup unsweetened cocoa
1 ½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 cup hot coffee + 1 tsp espresso powder

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. In a large glass bowl, combine the eggs, yogurt, melted butter and   
    vanilla and beat with a wire whisk. Gradually add the sugar and beat  
    the mixture until smooth.
3. In a separate mixing bowl, sift the dry ingredients together.
4. Add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in two steps  
    alternating with the hot coffee using a spatula.
5. Divide the batter between two greased and floured 9-inch round cake
6. Bake for 25 minutes and allow cake to cool fully. 


1 ½ cup heavy whipping cream
16 oz semisweet chocolate
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp coffee liqueur

1. To make the ganache, bring the cream to a boil and pour on top of 
   the chocolate in a glass bowl. Whisk until you form a smooth and 
   glossy chocolate sauce. Allow to cool at  room temperature. 
2. Add the vanilla and the liqueur when the ganache has cooled for a 
    little bit.

The ganache takes time to reach the right consistency for frosting. You  
can start making this early on. You can also speed up the cooling process by chilling in the fridge. 
Just make sure you don't let it set too much. You want it to reach a 
spreadable consistency and not a thick mass of chocolate goo.


For the caramel filled version:

Copyright 2011 LtDansKitchen blogs
You will need 2 cans of condensed milk that have been caramelized by boiling in water for 2 to 3 hours. An alternative is to cook it in a pressure cooker for 20 to 25 minutes. Make sure you don't dry out the water and that the cans are always submerged or you will have a caramel bomb exploding in your kitchen.

Let the cans cool overnight at room temperature. Spread them as filling to sandwich the two chocolate cake layers and frost with the ganache.

For the raspberry filled version:

Copyright 2011 LtDansKitchen blogs
You will need 1/2 cup of raspberry jam and 1/4 cup water and cook on low heat to soften the jam. Once syrupy, strain to remove the seeds and cool to room temperature. Add a pint of fresh raspberries and 1 tsp of vanilla and mix carefully.

To assemble, spread a layer of ganache and top with the raspberry filling. Top with the second layer of cake and frost with the remaining ganache.

Copyright 2011 LtDan'sKitchen blogs
For both cakes, let them rest for at least 4 hours to allow the flavors to blend.

*Lieberman, Dave. Dave's Dinners: A Fresh Approach to Home-Cooked Meals. Hyperion, New York: 2006.


  1. I made the caramel filled version of this today, and I had a little bit of difficulty. I think I may have added too much butter. The recipe calls for 1 stick of butter, or 8 oz, but my sticks of butter are 4 oz each. I put 8 oz. in and it turned out very dense and didn't rise very much, almost like brownies. Then I added the caramel, 2 cans caramelized, and the cake was so heavy it became a caramel catastrophe! :) By the time I was finished cleaning up the caramel, it only had one can on the cake. This must also have been due to how heavy the cake was (possibly from the butter too?). I just couldn't keep the caramel filling inside the cake without it squishing out the sides (and all over the place!). The ganache was absolutely perfect. I served the cake to my Japanese and Aussie friends and they loved it. They even asked for seconds! It definitely tasted great, but I am certain I still did something wrong. Any advice for trying it a second time?

  2. Carrie, had to recheck the recipe. My bad, I confused the number of tablespoons with the actual ounces of butter. One stick is 4 oz or an equivalent of 8 tbsp butter. Sorry about that. No wonder your cake was very dense. I have corrected it now.

    As for the caramel, the caramel should not ooze out when you pop open the can. The caramel has to be very dense and even when you turn it upside down, it does not drip lest alone move. You may want to play around with the cooking time as the condensed milk there might be a bit different in terms of sugar composition. I count the 30 minutes from the time the weight on my pressure cooker starts to whistle. I'll take pictures later and I'll send them to you or post it on the blog. I'm glad your friends still loved the cake. A dense chocolate cook is never a waste in my opinion.

    Do send me an e-mail if ever you have questions. I check my blog regularly so you might just catch me.

  3. Thanks, Dan! You are so helpful. The cake was definitely not a waste at all. It tasted delicious, but I just knew I didn't do something quite right. As for the caramel, I boiled it on the stove top for just over 2 hours, turned off the heat on the electric stove, and let it sit there to cool. Next time I will just have to keep it on longer. Thanks for the picture so I know what the consistency should be for next time. I will absolutely make this again!

    I thought about shooting you a message while I was making it to ask about the butter, but being in Japan right now, with the 14 hour time difference, it makes it hard to catch anyone. Your tips were very helpful to me!