The Original Chocolate Pistachio Crunch Cake

This is a cake I made in 2009, inspired by a Giada De Laurentiis recipe. It was a hit, and my husband still dreams of it. And maybe next year, or a future year I’ll reprise it. Warning, this recipe is not for those short on time or patience…there are a lot of steps and ingredients. But it’s worth it. it involves the following:

  • Dark Chocolate Devils Food Cake (note: Williams Sonoma makes a pretty good box mix and that’s actually what I used the second time I made this)
  • A mascarpone filling
  • a pistachio toffee crunch
  • a dark chocolate ganache
Looking for a better photo…this is from 2009…and yes, my piping was kind of sad.

The cake –I used this recipe:

  • 1/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 ounce high-quality dark chocolate (I changed this)
  • 1/4 cup boiling water
  • 1/4 cup buttermilk [yogurt mixed with some milk works just as well]
  • 2/3 cup cake flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Preheat to 350°F. Butter two round cake pans (2″ sides). Line bottom of pans with parchment paper; butter parchment. Combine cocoa powder and milk chocolate in medium bowl. Pour 1/4 cup boiling water over; whisk until mixture is smooth. Whisk in buttermilk.

2. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt in another medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat both sugars, oil, egg, and vanilla in large bowl until well blended.

3. Add flour and cocoa mixtures; beat until blended (batter will be thin). Divide batter between pans.

4. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out with some crumbs attached, 28 to 30 minutes. Cool in pans on racks 15 minutes. Turn out onto racks; peel off parchment. Turn over; cool on racks

The Ganache:

  • 2 3/4 cups mini semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tsp unsalted butter

1. Put the chocolate chips in a large heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a boil in a medium saucepan.

2. Just before the cream comes to a full boil, pour the cream into the chocolate chips and whisk together until smooth.

3. Add the butter and stir until smooth and shiny.

The Mascarpone Filling: (my addition from the Giada recipe was cardamom)

Put all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl and whip

The Crunch: (I doubled the recipe and used it for the sides of the cake). And I substitued pistachios for the original hazlenuts

  • 1 cup (about 4 1/2-ounces) pistachios chopped and toasted [i used a bag of trader joe’s pre-shelled pistachios]
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1 caramom pod

Place the toasted nuts close together in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Combine the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Stir the sugar mixture until dissolved. Bring to a boil and let cook until the sugar is light brown, about 8 minutes. Let the bubbles subside then pour the caramelized sugar over the nuts. Place the baking sheet in the refrigerator and let the sugar nut mixture cool until hard, about 30 minutes. When the sugar nut mixture is hard and cool,  pound into small pieces


place a cake rack on top of a cookie sheet lined with wax paper or parchment [the ganache is drippy]

cut each cake into 2 layers (so you have 4 layers) with a long sharp bread knife
spread 1/3 filling on top of the first layer. 
put down 2nd layer
spread 1/3 filling over it
put down 3rd layer
spread 1/3 filling over it

About ds331

A lifelong vegetarian. A foodie. Can there be such a thing? Some restauranteurs don't seem to think so...but many of my veggie friends and family have a little something or two to teach them.
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