Chocolate lovers delight. YUM! Faretti biscotti liqueur is what I used in this chocolate layer cake and the ganache. This liqueur is excellent with hints of citrus, nuts, and fennel. With Marcona Spanish almond that are salted. Salt and Chocolate complement each other nicely.
- 3 ounces semisweet chocolate, fine-quality
- 1 cup hot brewed coffee
- 1 cup liqueur, Faretti biscotti
- 3 cups sugar
- 2 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 1⁄2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (I used 1/2 special dark and 1/2 regular)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon sea salt (Fleur de sel)
- 3 large eggs
- 3⁄4 cup vegetable oil
- 1 1⁄2 cups buttermilk, well-shaken
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon almond extract
- 1⁄4 cup liqueur (for drizzling on cake)
Ganache frosting and filling
- 1 lb semisweet chocolate, fine-quality
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 1⁄4 cup liqueur
- 1⁄2 cup unsalted butter
- 1⁄2 cup orange marmalade, warmed (raspberry,blackberry perseveres can be used)
- 1 cup toasted sliced almonds (Marcona Spanish is a great choice)
- Cake layers:.
- Preheat oven to 300°F and grease 3 - 9 inch pans. Line greased pan bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.
- Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee and liqueur. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
- Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
- In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, almond extract and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well.
- Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.
- Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and pour liqueur over layers.
- Spread carefully preserves over all 3 layers.
- Cool completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.
- Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, and sugar to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth. Mix in the liqueur.
- Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency). I found that stirring this over a bowl of ice water did a great job of cooling it off quickly and evenly.
- Spread frosting between cake layers and over top and sides. Decorate with almond slices. Cake keeps, covered and chilled, 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.