The cake I chose for this month’s Cake Slice Baker’s challenge is called Willie Harcourt-Cooze’s Cloud Forest Chocolate Cake. Quite a name for a cake, but Willie Harcourt-Cooze was the guy who came up with it. Apparently he moved from Britain to Venezuela so he could immerse himself completely in world-class cacao (aka cocoa beans). He built a farm in the cloud forest and began experimenting with and harvesting cacoa. Sounds like quite an adventure, doesn’t it?
When a local sugar plantation gave him raw sugar cane, he used it with his cacoa and a few other standard ingredients and created this decadent chocolate cake.
The original recipe had ground almonds in it, but I used an equivalent amount of flour instead. When I baked it, the cake swelled on one end like an ocean wave – it was really strange! I’ve never seen a cake do that. After it was finished baking though, I gently pressed down the high side and it settled into a normal-ish looking cake. Not sure if the flour instead of almonds had something to do with it, but it’s fine now!
Be sure and prep your ingredients before starting this cake. It looks pretty straightforward, but it takes a little time to chop up that chocolate. Oh, and about that chocolate. It required 100% cacao bar and I could only find a ten dollar 99% bar. Ten dollars! Yikes. I went ahead and got it, though, because I was curious to see what a difference it would make.
The chocolate definitely made a difference. Bret thought it was a little bitter and I agreed, mainly because I’m not used to that deep dark of chocolate. The icing is heavenly made with it, though, and I would use it on a number of baked goods (vanilla cupcakes come to mind). I find that Europeans seem to prefer drier cakes than the U.S. and I did find this one to be a little dry, but that’s entirely subjective since I substituted the flour for the almonds.
I’ll be cleaning chocolate out from under my fingernails and scraping it off of the counter for awhile, but I enjoyed this challenge. It was the first time I’d used a springform cake pan and I look forward to making a cheesecake in it sometime soon! If you like chocolate, you might like this cake and I highly recommend the icing.
Take a look at the other creations by the Cake Slice Bakers (below the recipe)!
**1/2; Very chocolate, chocolate, chocolate cake and icing. The icing is to die for, but the cake is a little dense. Adapted from Willie Harcourt-Cooze's recipe slightly.
- 6.5 oz. 100% cacao finely chopped or grated
- 1 C butter
- 6 eggs room temperature
- 1/4 C light brown sugar
- 2/3 C granulated sugar
- 1 C all-purpose flour (original recipe - 1 C finely ground almonds)
- pinch of salt
- 1 C heavy cream
- 1/4 C sugar, plus 2 tbsp sugar
- 3 oz cacao finely chopped or grated
Preheat the oven to 325°. Grease and line a 10" springform cake pan with parchment paper.
Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water, making sure the bottom of the bowl is not in contact with the water. Remove from the heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugars together until pale and doubled in size. Slowly add in the cooled melted chocolate mixture to the eggs and mix until well combined. Fold in the flour and salt and gently stir until blended.
Pour the batter evenly into the springform pan and smooth the top. Bake for 30 minutes or until slightly risen and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
Remove the cake from the oven and set on a rack (in the pan) to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the frosting by putting the cream and sugar into a pan over low heat. Bring it just to the point of boiling and remove from the heat. Stir in the 3 oz. of grated/chopped chocolate and stir until thoroughly combined. (About 5 full minutes to actually get the chocolate incorporated.) Set aside to cool until desired consistency.
Remove the cake from the pan and peel off the parchment paper. Put the completely cooled cake onto a cake stand or plate, and smooth the frosting on the cake, top and sides.
Keep the cake at room temperature until ready to serve. If you refrigerate it, the frosting will harden too much.
Tips and Stuff:
If I ever made this again, I would use a smaller pan - maybe a 9" round cake pan, so it would be a little thicker.
I'm told it would definitely be more moist with the ground almonds instead of the flour.
Four stars for the frosting!