Let’s just jump straight to dessert. Back when I baked the oatmeal maple bars from the Greyston Bakery Cookbook, I mentioned that the mocha kahlua cake from that book might be nice for dessert on Christmas Eve. Well, it most certainly was. This is a cake of rich, chocolate layers with a kahlua custard between them, and it’s topped with a mocha buttercream frosting. If you follow the instructions exactly, you’ll have a very grand cake that’s three layers tall. I went for a slightly less grand final version of only two layers, and I baked the remaining layer’s worth of batter into cupcakes which are in the freezer now. I made the full amount of custard and the extra bit intended for a second layer of filling became a nice, little snack. I also made the full amount of frosting and gave the top of the cake a thick coating.
The cake batter was made with cocoa powder and espresso powder and six separated eggs plus two additional egg whites. The whites were beaten into soft peaks and carefully folded into the batter. After the cakes came out of the oven, they were brushed with kahlua which added flavor and kept them moist. As the cakes cooled, the custard was made with the two remaining egg yolks, sugar, cornstarch, half-and-half, and kahlua. I tasted it several times as it thickened to be sure it was as delicious as I thought it was. It was. The custard was chilled and then layered between cakes, and then the stacked layers were chilled for about an hour. Last, the buttercream was made with, of course, butter, cocoa powder, more kahlua, confectioner’s sugar, and half-and-half. It was a thick and sturdy frosting with just enough chocolate flavor. The finished cake does need to remain in the refrigerator, and I just barely had space for it.
As the cake sat for a few hours, it became even more tender from the kahlua soaking and the custard layer. Although kahlua was added in several places throughout this recipe, this wasn’t a boozy tasting cake. It was chocolaty and mocha-sweet with just a little taste of the liqueur edge. There was a nice mix of flavors, and that mix was just rich enough without being too much. When asked to choose a type of cake, Kurt has always said ‘chocolate,’ but from now on, he may start saying ‘mocha kahlua chocolate.’