posted a preview photo of the wicked and the damned cake on facebook, where it quickly earned a following.
the clever name was a mis-typing. The blogger at Poires au Chocolat, where this cake originates, created her gorgeous version of this grown-up cake for an art competition themed The Beautiful and the Damned. She entered a cake—brilliant, brilliant—inspired by 20s era America. As she writes:
“Do not be fooled by the innocent exterior of this cake: underneath the chocolate Art Nouveau design and the cloud of all-American vanilla buttercream lies a dark, dense chocolate cake soaked with whisky and sandwiched with an intense chocolate and thick cream ganache spiked with more whisky. It is a cake for the prohibition, a wicked core hidden underneath a respectable façade.”
“I was within and without, simultaneously enchanted and repelled by the inexhaustible variety of life.”
The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald. (Nick’s thoughts, while drunk on whisky)
love anyone who works out a cake around a narrative and her nouveau styled chocolate décor glamorizes the potent interior; hidden evil and all that.
in the radical muffin kitchen, however, we were making 3 sets of cake and did not, at this time, pipe out intricate chocolate designs. We went for a more blatantly slatternly look, with whiskey saturated ganache oozing wantonly out the sides, and buttercream piped in starbursts glittering on top. Given this and the comments on facebook—Lawd-a-mercy!; You are my soulmate.; That’s like five of the seven deadly sins baked into one cake! (if you eat it while having sex, maybe you can get up to six?)—the wicked and the damned seems to suit this version.
the cake is genoise-ish European style, dry for soaking with syrup. Heat the oven to 350° and line cake pans with parchment paper and butter them. We used three small heart pans, trimming the tops off two cakes for the bottom layers. The top slices to be repurposed.
melt 300 grams of dark chocolate. This is a lot of chocolate, and we admit to dashing up to the neighbor’s kitchen to use the microwave rather than our typical bowl on a pan of water method. If you take the slow road, chop your chocolate up to make it go a bit quicker. Let rest and cool while making the rest of the batter.
cream together 1 cup/2 sticks of soft butter with a cup and a half of sugar; we used ½ white and ½ turbinado sugars. Beat in 5 eggs (room temperature) one at a time then beat the lot until creamy and golden. Sift in 1 ¼ teaspoon of baking powder, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and 1 ½ cups of flour—we used 1 cup of all purpose and ½ cup of cake flour and snuck in 2 tablespoons of dutch processed cocoa. Stir in the melted and cooled chocolate.
pour the batter into the awaiting cake pans and bake for about half an hour, checking at 21 minutes and depending on the size of your cake pans. Let cool in the pans a few minutes and turn out to cool completely.
in a small saucepan, simmer together a cup and a half of whiskey and ½ a cup of sugar until the liquid reduces in half and thickens. Pour into a measuring cup and let cool completely. Stir in another ¾ cup of whiskey. We used a really beautiful golden honey whiskey.
drizzle the boozy syrup over the cakes (trimmed as you like). Thus soaked, the cakes can be wrapped and stashed in the freezer or fridge until wanted. Or forge right ahead.
melt 10 ounces dark chocolate with ½ a cup of heavy cream over low heat, stirring until smooth. Let cool just a bit and splash in some whiskey – about ¼ cup. Slowly pour and spread over the bottom layer. Let set a moment and top with middle cake. Pour and spread the remaining ganache over this layer. Let set a moment and top with the final layer.
in a big glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water, whisk together one egg white with a ½ cup of white sugar until shiny white and warm to the touch. Remove from the stovetop. Scrape in the innards of a vanilla bean and beat in ¾ a stick of butter. Add confectioners sugar if needed to reach a thick, pipe-able consistency.
frost the top as pleases you. We made these little starry puffballs one by one, beginning at the center and working our way to the edges. Had just enough frosting, which is a nice change of having a whole container of left over frosting.
serve to seduce.