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Last Tango Cake
I created this cake years ago for a tango festival in Montreal. It's in my cookbook The Baker's Four Seasons. I made it the other day and it's unbelievable and to me, the best chocolate cake on the planet. A signature recipe.
2 cups sugar
1 ¼ cups unsalted butter, melted
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup cocoa, measured then sifted
1 1/2 cups warm coffee or cola
1/2 cup sugar
½ cup water
1 teaspoon chocolate extract, optional *
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Whipped Cream Filling
1 ¼ cups whipping cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
Nutella Raspberry Dulce Filling
1 cup dulce de leche
1 cup Nutella, or hazelnut spread, softened
1/2 cup raspberry preserves
1 cup fresh raspberries
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup cocoa
4-6 cups confectioner's sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¼-1/2 cup light cream
1 cup whipping cream
1 ¼ cup chopped, semi-sweet (preferably Swiss) chocolate
White chocolate, melted
Red sugar, for dusting
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly grease 2 9-inch layer pans and line with parchment paper circles.
In a large mixing bowl, blend sugar and butter. Add eggs, vanilla and mix until thick. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and cocoa. Fold dry ingredients into wet and mix, drizzling in coffee or cola as mixture blends. If using an electric mixer, use slow speed for about 3 minutes, scraping sides and bottom once to incorporate all ingredients evenly. This is a thin batter.
Bake, on middle rack, 40-50 minutes, until cakes spring back when lightly touched.
For the Chocolate Buttercream, cream the butter and vanilla with cocoa and 1 cup of the confectioner's sugar. Add remaining confectioner's sugar and whip on high speed, adding in cream to achieve a light, fluffy consistency. If not using right away, refrigerate but re-whip before using. Add additional warm water to get correct consistency (a tablespoon at a time).
For simple syrup, boil water and sugar 5 minutes and remove from heat. Stir in extracts.
For the whipped cream, whip cream with vanilla and confectioners’ sugar until soft but firm peaks form.
For the Ganache Glaze, heat cream to just scalding and add in the chocolate. Remove from heat and whisk to blend/melt chocolate to make a thick glaze. Set aside (Refrigerate if not using right away and warm up slightly when needed).
Semi freeze the cake before decorating.
To decorate, slice each cake layer in two layers, using cardboard circles to remove two layers and set aside.
Place one layer on a cake stand that turns. Brush it with Simple Syrup and then spread on half the raspberry jam, and then the Nutella, and then the whipped cream. Dot on some raspberries on the whipped cream. Top with the second layer of cake, drizzle with syrup and then spread on the dulce de leche, and over that, about 1/2 inch of frosting. Repeat filling and layering with remaining two laers. Once cake is assembled, ice cake - sides first.
Ice cake all over with a thin layer of chocolate buttercream. Freeze 30 minutes and then pour Ganache Glaze over cake. Let set a bit. Then make a border on the bottom and top with more chocolate butter cream. Garnish with touches of melted white chocolate, fresh raspberries, and a dusting of red crystal sugar (like sugar for holiday cookies).
Refrigerate until serving.