I love layered cakes, and they come in all different forms, but my favourite has to be a chocolate layered cake. So I thought to myself how can I make a chocolate layered cake to include my favourite ingredient…? yes you guessed it coconuts! The outcome was this chocolate layered cake. Again it occurred to me, calling this cake a chocolate layered cake will not do it any justice, so I thought about something more radical hence, Yolo cake after all “you only live once“. My Yolo cake is made of a chocolate sponge sandwiched between a very thin layer of caramel and coconut buttercream, and glazed with a chocolate ganache. This cake in moist, gooey and indulgent, but above all it is something you do not want to have everyday.
The effort needed to make this cake is low to medium, even the batter to make the sponge is so easy you can get the children involved and make it a family effort. Cocoa which is the key ingredient for my Yolo cake use to be a main cash crop in western Nigeria where my parents come from, but the oil boom arrived and many farmers left agriculture behind to earn better money in the main metropolitan areas.
Today, Nigeria has slipped from being the top producing cocoa nation in the 1970s to fourth in the world only producing just under 400,000 tonnes every year. With the price of oil expected to continue to drop in the years ahead, Nigeria will have to focus not only on mass production of cocoa, but also the value added stages that will keep indigenes in gainful employment. In other words it is not enough to just grow and harvest the cocoa, but there also has to be other processes taken on by indigenes that will add value to the final product sold. Rant over, now enjoy this scrumptious cake.
Chocolate Sponge Layers
- 460g plain flour
- 800g caster sugar
- 150g cocoa powder
- 3 teaspoons baking powder
- 3 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 3 teaspoons expresso coffee granules
- 3 teaspoons white wine vinegar
- 4 teaspoons vanilla
- 4 medium sized eggs
- 250g extra virgin rapeseed oil
- 500g full fat milk
- 500g boiling water
- 6 medium egg yolks
- 140g coconut milk
- 140g full fat milk
- 1 vanilla bean pod
- 50g coconut sugar
- 30g corn flour
- 1½ teaspoons rum
- ½ teaspoon coconut extract paste
- 680g softened unsalted butter
- 90g icing sugar
- 370g coconut custard (used cold)
- 100g toasted fresh grated coconuts (optional)
- A pinch of sea salt
- 250g chocolate (50-55% cocoa solids)
- 400g double cream
- Preheat the oven to 160 degrees fan
- Grease and line two 25cm cake tins with parchment paper
- The sponge ingredients are for 4 sponge layers, so divide into 2 equal parts to bake 2 cake tins at a time
- Put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl and combine together:- flour, sugar, cocoa powder, espresso coffee, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
- Once all the dried ingredients are combined add the eggs, rapeseed oil, vanilla, white wine vinegar, and milk then use a hand mixer to combine into a batter.
- Last add the boiling water and divide into the 2 tins and bake for 30 to 35 minutes until a skewer comes out clean
- Allow the sponges to cool in the tin for 12 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack
- Repeat steps 2 to 7 above for the remaining 2 sponge layers
- Split the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds
- Put the coconut milk, full fat milk and vanilla seed in a saucepan and allow to simmer over low heat
- Whisk the egg yolk, corn starch and coconut sugar together in a medium size bowl
- Transfer the hot milk into the egg mixture whisking rapidly and transfer back to the fire whisking continuously till it thickens.
- Transfer the custard to a large bowl then add the rum and coconut extract paste, whisk together and cover surface with cling film.
- Allow to cool to room temperature before transferring to fridge to cool for about 3 hours
- In a food mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
- Next add the coconut custard and salt and continue beating to combine
- Add the toasted coconut if so desired
Assemble the cake
- Take the first sponge place on a cake on a rotating icing turntable and spread a generous layer of coconut buttercream
- Take the second sponge layer and spread a thin layer of caramel sauce and place on top of the buttercream layer
- Spread another generous layer of coconut buttercream on the top of the second sponge layer
- Take the third sponge layer and spread a thin layer of caramel sauce and place on top of the buttercream layer of the second sponge layer
- Spread another generous layer of coconut buttercream on the top of the third sponge layer
- Take the fourth sponge layer and spread a thin layer of caramel sauce and place on top of the buttercream layer of the third sponge layer
- Cover the top of the fourth sponge layer with buttercream, as well as the sides of the entire cake until smooth.
- Refrigerate the cake for about an hour for the buttercream to set.
- After an hour prepare the chocolate ganache by heating the double cream until it starts to simmer
- Once it has started to simmer transfer cream into the bowl containing the chocolate, allow to stand for 5 minutes to melt the chocolate and then whisk together
- Pour the ganache over the cold buttercream and allow to set
- Decorate with white chocolate