Some Reservations


Chocolate Cake…South African Style

on February 27, 2011

I was out on the internets looking for a new chocolate cake recipe. I had pretty much exhausted the doctoring up the box mix method, and all my cakes from scratch while delicious, really lacked a depth of flavor. I came across this article stating that it was the best chocolate cake ever.

Now when you search for ‘best chocolate cake ever’ you come across countless blogs, and recipe sites that claim just that. Rarely do you come across a well written article from an acclaimed Baltimore food expert, reviewing a recipe for chocolate cake. I figured this one was at least worth a try.

Turns out this is a recipe some super famous pastry chef, Nick Malgieri, came up with. He couldn’t get the recipe from some lady in South Africa, so he decided to duplicate it because he loved it so much. I guess if I had the skills to pull that off, I would be doing that too. I also would have probably written a bajillion cook books by now like this guy too. Oh well!

This cake recipe is kind of involved, lots of bowls, lots of transfers and lots of steps. Usually I find all the work is not really worth it. Sometimes you get a little bit better product but usually you end up with something that taste the same as your old stand-by easy recipe. That is not the case for this recipe at all, I would have gladly done 50 more steps, or mixed, baked, and frosted the entire thing standing on one leg if it called for it.

This cake is that good!

Recipe (from Nick Malgieri’s Blog)


Chocolate Cake Batter
3 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour (spoon flour into dry-measure cup and level off)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 1/2 cups boiling water
3 large eggs
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup sour cream

Since this recipe is so involved, I am not going to highlight every step like I usually do, I will just feature some of the more unusual steps.

Add the boiling water to the chocolate and let it stand for 2 minutes, and then whisk it together. In a separate bowl whisk the eggs, butter, vanilla and sour cream together and then slowly whisk that into the chocolate.

This is a 3 layer cake, so make sure you have 3 cake pans prepared and ready to go. Once you get the batter together and in the pans its in a 350 oven for 40 minutes. Make sure you rotate the pans once at the halfway point.

Now that you have 3 amazing layers of Chocolate Cake, its time to let them cool and fill and frost.
Chocolate Filling
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/3 cup sugar
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) salted butter
1 1/2 pounds (24 ounces) semisweet chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup (about 3 ounces) pecan pieces, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped
Chocolate shavings for finishing
The filling is pretty straight forward.
Bring the cream and sugar to a boil, making sure all the sugar dissolves and remove it from the heat. Add in the butter and chocolate and shake the pan around so they become submerged. Allow them to sit for 2 minutes to melt, then whisk in the vanilla and stir to smooth.
Now at this point you are going to want to go and get a spoon, or perhaps even a straw and just make this pot 0f amazing chocolate your…well you get the idea. Yeah don’t do that, it has to refrigerate at least an hour until it obtains a spreadable consistency.
After the frosting has chilled this is where you chose, nuts or no nuts. If you want to go with nuts take about 2/3 of the frosting and mix in the pecan pieces and set aside the other 1/3 to frost the top and sides.
Construction is pretty simple, it is just one more layer that usual. The consistency of the frosting makes the process actually kind of enjoyable, it makes you feel like a pro. It is very easy to work with and produces great looking results.
Just fill the layers with the 2/3 and then frost and smooth the top and sides with the remaining 1/3.
Add some chocolate shavings on top and refrigerate the finished cake for another hour.
Serving this cake it really easy, the layers are nice and dense and cut really nicely. Not a lot of crumbs or fall apart pieces that you can sometimes get in a chocolate layer cake. You really only need a small sliver of this cake, it is so rich that a little goes a long way. Using the slated butter really gives this cake a great depth of flavor, you get really rich chocolate in some bites, and almost a butterscotch flavor in others.

I haven’t made enough Chocolate Cakes yet to call this the ‘best chocolate cake ever’ but it is easily the best chocolate cake I have ever had to date.
Give it a try and let me know how it goes, and also let me know if you have a chocolate cake recipe that you think can take this one down.
Also don’t forget to like Some Reservations on Facebook and recommend to all your friends!

3 responses to “Chocolate Cake…South African Style

  1. Brad Rick says:

    This cake is awesome, thanks for sharing it!!!!

  2. Brad Rick says:

    Matt – made this cake for Easter. Put everyone in a choco coma. Still sore from breaking down all that chocolate. Awesome.

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