Chocolate Truffle Layer Cake

This outrageous chocolate cake was born from a lucky mistake. Kimberly Sklar, pastry chef at Literati II in Los Angeles, was baking a crème fraîche–spike chocolate cake and, by accident, took the pan out of the oven early. Discovering that the cake was superfudgy, she layered it with dark chocolate and white chocolate ganache, then covered it in dark chocolate frosting.

Chocolate Truffle Layer Cake

Ingredients
CAKE
  1. 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped 1 stick unsalted butter 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder 1 cup water 2/3 cup crème fraîche (6 ounces) 3 large eggs 3 large egg yolks 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar 1/2 cup light brown sugar 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 tablespoon baking soda 2 teaspoons baking powder 1 teaspoon salt

WHITE CHOCOLATE GANACHE
  1. 1 pound white chocolate, chopped 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

DARK CHOCOLATE GANACHE
  1. 1 1/3 cups plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

CHOCOLATE FROSTING
  1. 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped 3 tablespoons granulated sugar 1/4 cup corn syrup 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons water 1 tablespoon brandy 1 pound unsalted butter, softened 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted Bittersweet and white chocolate shavings, for garnish

How to Make It    
  • Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 15-by-12-inch jelly roll pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper. In a medium saucepan, melt 6 ounces of the chopped chocolate with the butter and vanilla over very low heat, stirring gently. Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and let cool slightly.    
  • In a small saucepan, combine the cocoa with the water and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Let cool slightly, then whisk the mixture into the melted chocolate. Whisk in the crème fraîche.    
  • In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the whole eggs, egg yolks and both sugars at medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the chocolate mixture. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking soda, baking powder and salt and transfer to a sifter or a sieve. Sift the dry ingredients and fold into the cake batter with a large spatula until fully incorporated.    
  • Spread the batter evenly between the prepared pans and sprinkle with the remaining 4 ounces of chopped chocolate. Bake the cakes in the lower and middle third of the oven for 25 to 30 minutes, until the centers spring back when lightly pressed; shift the pans halfway through baking. Let the cakes cool completely in the pans.
  • In a medium bowl set over a medium saucepan of simmering water, melt the white chocolate. Remove from the heat. Pour off the water in the saucepan and wipe it out. Add the heavy cream and butter to the saucepan and heat until the butter is melted and small bubbles appear around the edges. Whisk the hot cream mixture into the white chocolate. Set the bowl in a cool place until the ganache is firm enough to hold its shape, at least 1 hour.