I am Jack’s slice of chocolate cake.
On the surface, I’m unassuming. My cloak is made of mascarpone and whipped cream in the faintest hue of speckled pink. Innocent. Harmless, even.
But on the inside, I’m dark, almost black. The yin to your yang. The shadow to your sun. But don’t mistake me for evil, I’m only made of chocolate.
My layers are fudgey and moist. Not to worry, I’ve always got milk on speed dial.
You’ve separated me from my brethren, plopped me down on to a plate. I see the drool glimmering at the side of your mouth as you approach me with those devilish eyes. The fork is getting closer.
I am Jack’s cold sweat.
Your fork comes down upon me to remove a piece. Cake and cream. Cream and Cake.
Soon, my revenge will be realized.
The rich chocolate melts and swirls with the light mascarpone cream on your tongue. Your eyes roll back in your head with enjoyment.
But, wait. Here comes the burning.
The kick of cayenne pepper punches you in the taste bud gut. Your eyes widen. You frantically reach for the milk.
I am Jack’s smirking revenge.
It takes but a moment for the payoff to materialize. The tension releases, the burn subsides and a grin creeps across your face. You reach for another bite.
My job is done.
I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.
(makes 1 4-layer cake)
2 c (450 g) sugar
3 c (400 g) all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 c plus 4 tsp (130 g) cocoa powder
1 1/2 c (320 g) unsalted butter, melted
1 1/2 c plus 2 tbsp (350 ml) water
2 egg yolks
1 1/2 c (350 ml) milk
Cayenne Mascarpone Cream
16 oz (500 g) mascarpone, room temp
1/2 c (90 g) powdered sugar
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (1 tsp if you like spicy things, A LOT)
2 c (480 g) heavy cream
You could absolutely halve this recipe for a 2-layer cake, you know, if you’d like a more reasonable excuse to eat it all yourself. The recipe for the cream is just enough for a 4 layer cake with 1/2″ of icing on the outside. If you prefer a thicker cream coating (plus a buffer for what you eat), I’d recommend increasing the recipe by 1/2.
Get step by step photo instructions of this recipe on the Facebook page.
Preheat oven to 350F (180C). Grease your cake pans with butter (or oil). Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper. This gives you extra cake-will-actually-release-from-the-pan insurance.
In a large bowl, combine the sugar, flour, salt, baking soda and cocoa powder. Whisk (or sift) to combine.
In another large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and water. (We do not add the melted butter here. The reason is because once the melted butter meets the cold milk, it will seize and create lumps rendering it near impossible to have a smooth cohesive batter. So let’s leave the butter out of the party until the next step.)
Add the liquids along with the melted butter to the dry ingredients. Whisk to combine until the lumps are out and the batter is mostly smooth. Don’t over whisk as this may result in a tough cake.
Split the batter evenly amongst your cake pans. If you are from the metric world, I highly recommend weighing the batter and dividing by four to get the batter weight for each layer. This ensures even layers.
Bake the cakes for 20m or until the cake springs back to the touch. If you bake more than 2 layers at once, it will likely take longer for the cakes to bake since your oven will be crowded.
Remove cakes and let cool.
Whisk together the mascarpone, cayenne and powdered sugar until smooth.
In a separate bowl, whip the heavy cream until medium peaks form.
Fold (not whisk) the whipped cream into the mascarpone until incorporated, light and fluffy. Refrigerate until needed.
Once the cakes are cool, you may notice a hump or bubble on top of the cake. It’s best to trim the top of each layer so they are flat. Using a serrated knife, gently trim off this bubble of cake. Proceed with eating cake scraps.
Once all the cakes have been trimmed, remove parchment and place the first layer on your plate/stand/piece-of-cardboard-wrapped-in-foil. Put a big dollop of mascarpone cream on the first layer and spread until even. Add next layer of cake and repeat.
Once all 4 layers are stacked, we are going to create what is called a “crumb coat”. This basically means we are putting a super thin, transparent layer of cream all around the cake that will make our cake a uniform shape and will glue down the loose crumbs so as not to dirty up our final, pretty coat of cream. I find it’s best to put a dollop of cream in a separate bowl for this process. That will prevent cross crumb contamination in your remaining cream.
Glaze the outside of the cake with a thin layer of the cream. If there are any gaps on the side of the layers, you can fill those in with this crumb coat. Once the cake is sufficiently glazed, chill the cake for 30m so that it can set.
Remove the chilled cake. Use the remaining cream to frost the cake as you wish.