If there’s anyone who loves my baking more than my 22 year old, it’s my dad. He’s at my house every Friday (to pick up the flyers and bottle recycling) and I almost always have a little treat for him. He’s truly the best dad there is. My earliest memories are from when I was younger sitting at night with him while he watched the news, because every night he would get himself a big bowl of ice cream and I would always sneak out into the family room and sit with him so that I could share in the ice cream.
He’s done so much for me over the years, from sitting with my when my first boyfriend broke up with me in high school and telling me everything was going to be okay, to walking me down the aisle and of course, while I was in the hospital on bed rest before my oldest son was born he was filming me in my hospital bed making jokes with me. He’s the first person I call when something breaks and I always look forward to every Friday, even though it’s only 10 maybe 15 minutes that he’s at my house, its just a few minutes to catch up.
So today I decided to make something special for his birthday. It’s a chocolate cake, with a Ducle de Leche filling and Mocha Swiss Meringue Buttercream and on top is a ganache with Lindt truffles.
The cake is simply a cake mix jacked up and I made the cake when I was getting everything prepared for my nephew’s birthday cake, so that part was done a few weeks ago.
Next up, the buttercream. This stuff is so amazing you could eat it straight from the bowl (not that I would do that! Okay, but there’s no witnesses to testify that I was eating it straight from the bowl).
To start the buttercream, first melt the chocolate over a pot of simmering water and then allow to come to room temperature (I do this first so that while everything else is being done it has time to cool down and won’t melt the buttercream).
Then, in a small bowl, mix together 1 Tbsp. instant coffee and 1 tsp. water. Mix until all the instant coffee is dissolved and set aside.
Up next is the buttercream. This is truly my go to for cakes. I love this stuff. Considering you already have the pot of simmering water going this will be easy peasy right. Separate 10 eggs (we only want the whites for this – so if you wanna make a custard and something else with the yolks, save them for something else) and put the egg whites into your stand mixer bowl with 2 1/2 cups of sugar and a pinch of salt. Place the bowl of the simmering water (make sure the water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl) and whisk until the sugar has dissolved (just test with your fingers by rubbing a little of the egg/sugar mixture between your fingers, if there’s any grit still left keep heating it up, if it’s smooth then it’s ready to be whipped). Once the egg/sugar mixture has reached the correct temperature (meaning if the sugar is dissolved, the egg whites are hot enough), place the bowl on the stand mixer and using he whip attachment, start whipping the egg whites on high speed for 10 minutes. You want to make sure there is no residual heat in the meringue before adding the butter or it will melt the butter.
Once 10 minutes has passed, you can start adding the butter. (I usually take the butter out of the fridge just before I start this whole process – you want it to be cool, not cold). While the meringue is whipping I cut the butter up into 1 Tbsp. sized pieces. Then turning the speed down slightly on the mixer, start adding in the butter, 1 piece at a time. This will take a bit of time as there will be a lot of butter. Once all the butter has been added in (towards the end you may notice it looks a bit curdled, that’s okay it’s supposed to look that way and yes, it will come all back together) let the mixer go for another couple of minutes. Then turn the mixer off and scrape down the bowl. Add in the coffee, vanilla and cooled chocolate. Mix for 1 minutes. Then switch over to the paddle attachment, scrape down the bowl again and mix for another 1 to 2 minutes. Now it’s ready to go. (**at this point you can use it right away, which is what I always do, or you can refrigerate this for up to 2 weeks, just remember to bring it back to room temperature and beat in your stand mixture to make sure it’s soft enough to spread and/or pipe).
Then I leveled and layered the cakes, filled them with Dulce de Leche (I cheated this time and bought a jar, but normally I make this myself). Then crumb coated and final coated the cakes and put them in the fridge to firm up while I made the ganache.
The for the ganache, I wanted something a little thicker, so I went for 8 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate and 6 ounces of cream. I let this cool slightly so that it wasn’t overly runny. Then, using a piping bag, I carefully piped the ganache around the top edge of the cake, trying with all my might to make it look like it was dripping over the edge. Then, using a small offset spatula, I spread a thin layer of ganache over the top of the cake. Piped a small mound of buttercream in the centre and started piling on the Lindt truffles.
I had some of those rolled cookies that come in a tin, so I broke some up (okay most of them were already broken in the tin) and pushed them into the corners.
Lastly, I had a little bit of Dulce de Leche left over, so I placed it into a bowl and warmed it up in the microwave and drizzled this over the top of the cake.
Voila! Supreme birthday cake for the best dad in the world!
Mocha Swiss Meringue Buttercream
(makes enough to over and fill 2 – 6″ cakes)
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, melted
1 Tbsp. instant coffee, mixed with 1 tsp. water
10 egg whites
2 1/2 cups white sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp. vanilla
3 cups butter, cool, cut into 1 Tbsp. pieces
- Take butter out of the fridge.
- Over a pot of simmering water, in a metal or glass bowl, melt chocolate. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Mix together 1 Tbsp. instant coffee and 1 tsp. water. Make sure the coffee is completely dissolved. Set aside.
- Place egg whites, sugar and salt in mixing bowl, set over simmering water and whisk until sugar has dissolved (make take 5 to 7 minutes). To test if sugar has dissolved, rub a bit of the mixture between your fingers, if there is any graininess left, keep whisking until it is smooth.
- Set egg/sugar mixture on stand mixer and using the whisk attachment, whip on high speed for 10 minutes.
- While meringue is whipping, cut up butter into 1 Tbsp. sized pieces.
- Once 10 minutes has passed, start adding in the butter (turn the mixer down slightly) one piece at a time.
- Once all the butter has been added in, scrape the bowl down and add in the coffee and chocolate and whip for a couple of minutes. Turn mixer off and scrape down bowl. Switch to the paddle attachment and turn mixer back on and mix for another 1 to 2 minutes.
- The buttercream is now ready to use or can be stored in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.