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jeremy’s birthday cake

Recipe: triple fudge kahlua torte

Jeremy’s birthday was over a week ago, but he was away at two meetings and I was visiting my nephew for his eighth birthday. Since Jeremy and my birthdays are nine days apart, we decided we would celebrate later, when we weren’t so short on time and money. We both tend to be fairly unsentimental about these things, so that worked out fine.

But… I did promise I would at least make him a special dessert. I asked what he would like and as usual, Jeremy couldn’t make up his mind. He’s so easy going that it is downright frustrating at times. I found a recipe in an old issue of Chocolatier which I modified somewhat, but it contains several of Jeremy’s favorite components such as chocolate cake, booze, espresso, and chocolate.

i started with chocolate cake

and espresso buttercream

and used kahlua soaking syrup

I made the cake a triple layer instead of a double layer. Unless the cake is incredibly moist (which this one is not), I don’t tend to like thick layers. I also used my swiss meringue buttercream frosting recipe in place of theirs because mine uses more egg whites and I happen to have a lot of those after making all of that ice cream. I also increased the volume of the soaking syrup since the cake was fairly dry and you always end up using far far less than you really ought to.

topping the third layer


Overall, I thought this cake was too sweet. Even Jeremy looked like he was about to pass out before he finished his slice (granted, I gave him a large slice of cake), but he said he liked it and he’s not one to lie. The glaze makes it look better, but either the glaze has to go or something less sweet than a buttercream should be used because it’s the kind of sweet that makes my jaws hurt when I take a bite. I don’t tend to go nuts over eating sweets though, so perhaps other people would think it fine. This cake could easily serve 16 people.

I tried a little design on the glaze, except I had popped the glazed cake into the refrigerator (per the recipe instructions) before I realized that I wanted the glaze to still be warm. I ended up rutting the glaze. I did try to heat a baking sheet in the oven and then hold it very close over the cake to try and reheat the glaze, but it wasn’t enough to have the ruts close up. Oh well… Good to learn.

serve with a cup of something

Triple Fudge Kahlua Torte
[print recipe]
modified from Chocolatier March 1995

chocolate torte
2 cups cake flour
2/3 cup unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
2 tsps baking powder
12 tbsps unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp baking soda

swiss meringue espresso buttercream
8 oz. egg whites
16 oz. sugar
16 oz. butter
6 tsps espresso powder
4 tsps boiling water

kahlua syrup
6 oz. sugar
6 oz. water
4 oz. Kahlua coffee liqueur

chocolate glaze
8 oz. semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream
2 tbsps granulated sugar
1 tbsp light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla

Make the chocolate torte: Position rack in center of 350°F oven. Lightly butter a 10-inch round cake or springform pan. Line the bottom with a circle of baking parchment. Dust side of pan with cocoa powder and tap out excess. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Sift mixture onto a piece of wax paper. In a stand mixer bowl, beat the butter with the paddle attachment at medium-high speed for 1 minute until creamy. Gradually add sugar and continue to beat for 3 minutes until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, and beat or 2 minutes until well combined. Scrape down bowl as necessary. On low speed, add flour mixture one-third at a time until just combined. In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream and baking soda. Add sour cream to batter and mix on low until just combined. Pour batter into pan and spread evenly. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes or until edge pulls away slightly from pan and cake springs back when gently pressed. Cool in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes then invert cake to peel off parchment and invert again. Cool cake completely.

Make espresso Swiss meringue buttercream: Combine egg whites and sugar in stand mixer bowl. Whisk constantly over a bain marie until 140°F is reached. Place on mixer with whisk and whip until stiff. Turn down whip speed to 3rd and whip until cool to the touch (this takes a while – should be cooler than your hand). Change to a paddle and gradually add soft butter by tablespoon pieces. Mix to emulsify. In a separate small bowl, mix the boiling water with the espresso powder. Once desired consistency has been reached on the buttercream, add espresso and mix well.

Make Kahlua simple syrup: Combine water and sugar in a saucepan and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Bring to boil then remove from heat. When cool, stir in Kahlua.

Make chocolate glaze: Place chocolate in a medium bowl. Combine cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a saucepan and bring to gentle boil over medium heat. Pour hot cream over chocolate and let stand for 30 seconds. Gently stir until smooth. Stir in vanilla.

Assembly: Using a long serrated knife, slice the torte into three layers of equal thickness. Place one layer on a 9-inch cake round. Brush the layer with 1/2 cup of Kahlua syrup (you should have 1 1/2 cups in total). Spread a layer of buttercream (approximately a third). Top with another cake layer and repeat until you top with the third cake layer. Soak the cake layer with the rest of the syrup and then apply a crumb coat of buttercream to the entire cake. Refrigerate the cake for 20 minutes to set the buttercream (I didn’t do this, it tends to set my glaze way too fast when the cake is cold).

Glaze the cake: Place cake on wire rack set over a baking sheet. Pour glaze over the cake, covering it completely. Spread glaze evenly over top and sides. Refrigerate for 10 minutes until glaze sets (* but if you want to decorate, then do so before putting the cake in the fridge). Slice cake with hot, dry knife, wiping it clean after each cut.

8 nibbles at “jeremy’s birthday cake”

  1. manggy says:

    Wow! SMBC *and* a chocolate glaze? That’s decadent! Happy birthday to Jeremy! I do think that Kahlua is in itself too sweet (someone once made me drink it, ugh). The cake looks gorgeous, though.

  2. brilynn says:

    It’s never too sweet for me, send over a piece! It looks amazing.

  3. jenyu says:

    Manggy – the recipe called for both and I agree that it is decadent. Thanks for the bday wishes :)

    Brilynn – if it could ship properly, I’d send you half of it!

  4. Holly says:

    Jeremy is one lucky guy! This is a fantastic looking cake!

  5. jenyu says:

    Holly – he sure is, isn’t he? ;) The cake was a pain in the butt to make though.

  6. yun says:

    wow, that’s an amazing cake. wonderful…

  7. Chocolate Torte Cupcakes says:

    […] For the chocolate torte adapted from use real butter […]

  8. Jaime says:

    In the syrup can you taste the Kahlua well when you eat the dessert. I have an uncle who just loves Kahlua and would not be happy if he cant taste it very well. lol

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