Chocolate Praline Fudge Cake

A crisp royaltine base, moist fudgey chocolate cake, and unctuous chocolate mousse. Covered in shiny mirror glaze.

I love cake. No doubt about it. Chocolate cake? I'm all in. I absolutely LOVE a good chocolate cake. I don't know about you but I grew up eating Lana Cake- that's the name of the bakery, but people know you're talking about that chocolate cake when you mention the shop's name. Its that good. I don't know how they do it but its addictive. The cake is moist, light, but rich, and the frosting is just oh so good. Its sort of like ganache, but somehow it manages to be smoother, softer and creamier. And it looks just divine. I'll have it any day.

But let me tell you about this cake- and I am certain you'll be smitten by it.

It starts off with chocolate (duh). Really good dark chocolate. I'd say 60% least but 70% best. And never use anything less than unsweetened cocoa powder! It really does make all the difference.

The cake part of this decadent chocolate cake is honestly the easiest I've ever made. Mix the wet, mix the dry, and whisk it all together. The key thing that differentiates this cake batter from others is that its a really liquid batter. Don't be alarmed- it will turn out delicious, I promise. Oh and to make this cake extra moist, we use a combination of baking soda + vinegar/ lemon juice, which gives you all those tiny little air bubbles that help your cake to rise and stay moist and delicious! Don't skip the vinegar and baking soda here.

The mousse isn't really tough either. The key is to
1) whip the cream to soft peaks
2) soak the gelatine sheets and combine with the warm liquid to dissolve completely
3) letting the warm liquid cool to body temp before folding in the whipped cream
It's a really basic recipe for chocolate mousse, and you could vary the mousse by using milk chocolate instead of dark, or adding more dark chocolate to make it extra fudgey (why not right).

My favourite part this cake has to be the crisp, crunchy royaltine base. I remember I used to be bewildered by it- what could possibly taste so good, stay so crunchy and be so delicious? I remember buying a chocolate cake from my local bakery, and my mom telling the uncle that she wanted something crunchy at the bottom of the chocolate cake. It tasted familiar, but I never got round to finding out what excactly it was. After my short stint at the bakery making huge batches of these almost every day in the kitchen for their chocolate praline cakes, I'm happy to say I've solved the mystery now :) And it couldn't be simpler: melted chocolate, praline, and feuilletine. 3 ingredients to make something so sublime.

Now here's the catch- this cake does need time, but its not unachievable. You need to get all the components done, then assemble it. Its best to assemble it in a mousse ring or loose bottomed cake tin, though you could DIY it in a regular cake pan by lining the sides with plastic wrap and parchment, and freezing the cake completely before unmoulding. It's also a good idea to wrap the sides of the ring with some parchment (or acetate, if you're lucky enough to have some around) so that its easier to unmould, unless of course you're blessed with one of those fancy commercial blowtorches. Speaking about blowtorches, I've managed to get lots of practice with it, and though fire seems scary, it really isn't that bad if you tell yourself that you'll be okay. Its more of a mind thing, and the more the practice, the better you'll get, just like all other things in life.

Chocolate Praline Fudge Cake
Makes 2 x 6 inch cakes, or 1x 8 inch cake

200g plain flour
230g sugar
45g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
265g water
130g oil
33g vinegar
8g vanilla extract

In a large mixing bowl, sift the dry ingredients together.
In a separate bowl, whisk the wet ingredients together. Combine the wet and dry, and whisk till smooth.
Pour into a lined sheet try, and bake at 165 degrees celsius, for 20-25 minutes.
Let cool completely, before using your cake ring/ cake pan to cut 6 inch or 8 inch circles (depending on what size of cake you're using). Each cake needs 4 layers of the sponge. The layers don't have to be perfect circles, because you're going to cover them with mousse anyway. Feel free to patch layers together using sponge scraps.

Chocolate Mousse
1 sheet gelatine (2g)
60g sugar
120g + 280g whipping cream
100g dark chocolate

Soak the gelatine in ice cold water till softened. Squeeze out the excess water and set aside,
In a small saucepan, caramelize the sugar till light golden, add in the 120g cream, and simmer till all the sugar dissolves. Add in the gelatine, and stir on low heat till completely smooth,
Separately, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water till completely smooth. Combine with caramel mixture, and let cool slightly to body temperature.
Whip the 280g whipping cream to soft peaks, fold into the chocolate caramel mixture. Chill the mousse until ready to use.

80g dark chocolate
80g 50% praline
52g feuilletine

Melt the dark chocolate, combine with the praline, then stir in the feuilletine.

Shiny Chocolate Glaze
120g sugar
40g cocoa powder
93g water
70g cream
7g sheet gelatine

Soak the gelatine in cold water to soften.
Combine the sugar, cocoa, water and cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer, then add the gelatine and stir to dissolve.

To assemble (6 inch):

Place a layer of chocolate sponge in the bottom of lined cake ring/ cake tin. Spread with 100g royaltine mixture, and smoothen with a small spoon.
Place the second layer of chocolate sponge on top, and spoon over 100g of the chocolate mousse, levelling with an offset spatula.
Repeat with another layer of chocolate sponge and 100g of chocolate mousse.
Place the last layer of chocolate sponge on top.
Freeze the cake in the ring till solid.
Once firm, remove the cake from the ring. Place on a wire rack, and pour over the chocolate glaze. Let sit for a few minutes for the glaze to harden, before decorating.  

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