For L.’s birthday cake, he chose this cake from Nestlé’s Very Best Baking site. Nestlé rates this recipe as “challenging,” but I would say it’s more laborious and time-consuming than challenging. (Although it becomes challenging if, like me, you don’t read the instructions carefully — I left out the flour on my first attempt — don’t ask how!)
The cake starts with a brownie base, which is then topped with a layer of chocolate ganache, followed by a layer of chocolate mousse. The sides of the cake are made with chocolate rolled wafer cookies (I used Pepperidge Farms Chocolate Creme Petite Pirouettes). Finally, the top is drizzled with some of the reserved ganache and garnished with cut strawberries.
As gorgeous as this cake was, it tasted even better! The brownie bottom was more cake-like (but dense) than fudgy, and was somewhat light on chocolate flavor. This was actually a good thing since the other layers were so rich. The crunch/chewiness of the wafer rolls added an interesting texture to the smoothness of creamy layers, and the flavor of the strawberries played nicely with the chocolate. Nestlé says the cake serves 12, but I think one could get away with smaller pieces than what is suggested. I cut the cake into fairly slim pieces — 16 slices total — which was just about right, given how rich and chocolatey the cake is. This cake is definitely one I’d make again to impress any chocolate lover. My birthday boy certainly loved it!