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Article: Chocolate Opera Cake

Chocolate Opera Cake

Chocolate Opera Cake

by Kesha Alexander

chocolate cake layers
3/4 cup Askinosie Natural Cocoa Powder
2 cups sugar
1-3/4 cup flour
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup boiling water
coffee buttercream
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon coffee, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso or instant coffee
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
chocolate charlotte
6 ounces Askinosie Bulk Dark Chocolate Broken Bars, chopped finely
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
3 egg yolks
2/3 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
coffee sauce
1/4 cup coffee, at room temperature
1 tablespoon coffee liqueur like Kahlua
chocolate ganache
8 ounces Askinosie Chocolate, chopped in small pieces
6 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/3 cup corn syrup
1/3 cup orange liqueur like Triple Sec
1 cup roasted cocoa nibs

make the cake layers
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cut out wax paper the size of three 8 or 9-inch cake pans. Line the pans with the wax paper and butter and flour the bottom and sides of the pan. In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients and mix together. In a saucepan, bring 1 cup of water to a boil.

In a large bowl, beat eggs on medium speed with an electric mixer (use paddle attachment if you have the option). Slowly add the oil, milk and vanilla. Beat until well combined. Then add dry ingredients and beat on medium just until combined. Add boiling water and stir by hand until combined. Divide the batter between the three cake pans. The pans won’t appear very full but the cakes will rise in the oven. Bake cakes for 18-24 minutes or until a toothpick comes out almost clean. Try to pull the cakes from the oven before the toothpick comes out clean, a few crumbs on the toothpick are good. Cool cakes on rack. Once completely cooled, run a knife around the edge of the pans and turn the cakes out on to cooling racks.

make the coffee buttercream
While the cakes are baking, you can make the buttercream. In a medium bowl, mix the egg yolks and 1 tablespoon of sugar with an electric mixer until thick and pale. This will take about 5 minutes or more. In a small saucepan, bring the milk just to a boil. Stir in the rest of the sugar, the coffee and instant espresso or instant coffee. While constantly whisking the yolks, pour in 1/3 of the hot milk mixture. Then pour the whole mixture back into the saucepan. Stir the mixture constantly and cook on medium until you seem small bubbles. Remove from heat and pour into a clean mixing bowl and bean on medium to high until the mixture thickens and doubles in size, about 5-6 minutes. Beat in butter one tablespoon at a time until the mixture turns white and fluffy.

make the chocolate charlotte
Melt chocolate in the microwave in 30 second increments; set aside. Whip the heavy cream with an electric mixer until it holds soft-medium peaks.

Place the eggs yolks in a double boiler with water in the bottom pan. Heat yolks over low to medium heat, keeping an eye that they don’t get to hot and scramble. In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil. Whisking yolks constantly, stir in the sugar syrup. Continue whisking quickly until the mixture thickens. Pour mixture into a medium bowl and mix on medium until it cools to room temperature. Beat in melted chocolate until it is very well combined. Then, using a rubber spatula, fold in the whipped cream until the charlotte is all the same color. Chill until ready to use.

make the coffee sauce
In a small bowl, combine the coffee and coffee liqueur. Set aside.

make the chocolate ganache
In the microwave, melt the chocolate in 30 second increments. Add the butter and stir until well combined. Whisk in the corn syrup and liqueur. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes before using.

assemble the cake
The easiest way to assemble is by using a spring-form pan lined with plastic wrap. Place one layer of the cake in the spring-form pan. Liberally brush on the coffee sauce. Top evenly with one cup of the mousse. Place the second cake layer on top of the charlotte. Liberally brush the top of the cake with the coffee sauce. Top with 1 to 1-1/2 cups of the buttercream. Stack the third cake layer on the buttercream and liberally brush the cake with the coffee sauce. Chill the cake for 10-15 minutes.

Once the cake is chilled, turn the cake over onto a plate. Pour the ganache over the cake starting in the middle and spreading it out over the cake and down the sides. Spread the ganache evenly on the sides of the cake. Sprinkle the sides and/or top of the cake with roasted cocoa nibs. Chill the cake for at least four hours or overnight. Before serving, brink cake to room temperature. Store the cake in the refrigerator for up to two days.

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