I love this cake! On its own, it has that classical European chocolate walnut torte taste… not too sweet, and really loaded with chocolate flavor, with a bit of texture from ground walnuts mingled in with the crumb of the cake. Adding a chocolate glaçage, or “mirror glaze” to the cake, really heightens the flavor and appeal. It’s just hands-down sexy!
So let’s talk GLAÇAGE. What makes a mirror-glaze… a mirror-glaze? It’s the gelatin found in most recipes. Unflavored gelatin gives the glass/mirror-like reflection. Some recipes call for corn syrup instead go the gelatin, but I think I prefer this way more. The shine is definitely heightened and gives whatever you’re glazing a high drama effect. Do you have to glaze with a glaçage? Absolutely not… this is your cake so dress it as you will. A smooth chocolate butter-cream icing or even a simple dusting of powdered sugar along with fresh berries would be wonderful!
4 ounces Bittersweet Chocolate, chopped
1 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 cup finely ground walnuts (measure after the walnuts are ground), plus extra for garnishing
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 stick (1/2 cups) unsalted butter
1/2 cup golden brown sugar, packed tight
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole buttermilk
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a microwavable dish add the chopped chocolate. Using the defrost mode or low power mode gently heat the chocolate until melted. You may use a stop top double boiler as well. Butter and flour the inside of a springform pan or angel food cake pan and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl combine the flour, cocoa powder, 1 cup ground walnuts, and baking soda. Stir to combine evenly.
- In a separate mixing bowl using a stand mixer with paddle attachment or your trusty hand mixer, begin creaming your softened butter until fluffy. Add the two sugars and mix. Next, one at a time ensuring that each is mixed in well before adding the next, add your eggs. Scrape down your bowl and add the vanilla and espresso powder. Mix again until everything is fully combined. Add the melted bittersweet chocolate and mix one more time.
- To the wet mixture add 1/3 of the dry mixture and mix in. Next, add half of the buttermilk and continue mixing. Add the second third of dry, followed by the last half of the buttermilk. Finally, mix in the last third of dry giving the cake batter one more scrape down and mix until evenly combined.
- Pour the mixture into your buttered and floured cake pan. Smooth batter out evenly throughout the pan. Place the cake nap the oven and bake approximately 35 minutes or until your tried and Tre cake tester draws out clean.
- When the cake has baked remove it from the oven to cool, approximately 15 minutes. Loosen the sides and center if using an angel food cake pan. Invert the cake onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- Once cooled, glaze with a chocolate glaçage/mirror glaze.
Chocolate Glaçage (Mirror Glaze)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons water
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup heavy cream
8 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 envelopes (1/4 ounce each) unflavored gelatin
- In a saucepan add 1 cup of water, the sugar, and cocoa powder. Simmer for 15-20 minutes until the mixture is slightly thickened.
- In a small bowl add the 2 tablespoons of water and sprinkle the unflavored gelatin on top to “bloom”. It will thicken and get rubbery… that’s okay.
- Add the bloomed gelatin to the chocolate mixture and mix in well. Next, add the heavy cream and mix in well.
- Set the sauce pot over a bowl full of ice and whisk the mixture until it is slightly warmer than room temp.. around 80 degrees.
- Place the cooled cake on a wire cooling rack. Place the rack over a clean jelly roll pan. Pour the glaçage over the top and sides of the cake ensuring that it is completely coated. You may have to remove the wire rack and cake from the pan, pour the used glaze back into the pot, place the wire rack back over the jelly roll pan, and add a second glazing, to get that evenly coated effect.
- Let the glaze cool until it set. Garnish your cake with the remaining ground walnuts and/or whole pieces… do not add too much… you worked hard to show-off that glaçage finish and you do not want to mask the mirroring! Enjoy!