This was David's pick for his birthday cake. Excellent choice, if you ask me. It was super easy and absolutely delicious. We've already discussed other frosting options we could use next time, because while I loved the lightness the mousse brought to the dense, rich cake, David thought it would've been better if it were even richer and chocolatey-er.
Oh, how I love that this man loves him some chocolate!
(recipe adapted slightly from here)
1 3/4 c all-purpose flour
2 c sugar
3/4 c cocoa powder (I used Scharffen Berger this time and OH MY GOSH IT IS AMAZING)
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 c buttermilk*
1/2 c vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 c hot water
1 tsp cappuccino (or any other coffee-esque) flavoring
Preheat oven to 350. Butter and "flour" two 9-inch** cake rounds. (If you use cocoa powder instead of flour for chocolate cakes, they come out all brown instead of having white stuff stuck to the sides and bottom. It's all about aesthetics and is totally a personal preference thing.) Whisk dry ingredients together in one bowl; combine buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla in another. With the mixer on low, slowly add the wet ingredient mix to the dry one. With the mixer still on low, add the hot water and cappuccino flavoring. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool in pans for 30 minutes, then turn onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
*I subbed 1 Tbsp of white vinegar + enough milk to fill a cup (so 1 cup minus 1 Tbsp) to make buttermilk since I didn't have any on hand. Totally fits the bill.
**The original recipe called for two 8-inch pans, then said to split each cake into two thinner layers with a serrated knife. You could do this if you have pans that size; I don't so I worked with what I had. They were a little thin for me to split easily, so we just had two layers. That just meant extra mousse*** in the end to eat straight from the bowl! Woo!
***Although I guess you could cut the following mousse recipe into, like, 2/3 and NOT have extra mousse...but that would be foolish. Who doesn't want extra mousse? (Communists. That's who.****)
****This is probably a lie. Even communists love extra mousse, amiright Comrades?
Chocolate Hazelnut Mousse
3 c whipping cream
1 c Nutella
2 Tbsp hot water
dash of cappuccino flavoring
Beat Nutella and hot water together until smooth and slightly runny. Add more water if necessary. (The object here is to thin and smooth out the Nutella so it combines easily with the cream.) Beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Gently fold Nutella mixture into the whipped cream until color is uniform.
Spread bottom cake with a thick layer of mousse. Place other cake on top. Frost with mousse as if it were frosting, the thicker the better. Sprinkle with toasted hazelnuts or chocolate curls or chocolate chips or sprinkles or whatever the heck makes you happy and eat up!