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What to fill a chocolate cake with??

Hi fellow CH's. This week I will attempt to bake a decadent chocolate cake for my sister's 40 th birthday. She likes dark chocolate only..so my design thus far is a dark chocolate cake covered in ganache and filled with??? Her husband suggested strawberries but I do not know whether to use fresh or jam. Also i was thinking of a chocolate mousse/frosting in the middle AND strawberries. does anyone have a great idea???? i thought that using the ganache in the middle would be way to heavy and maybe too decadent..thus a lighter filling with some fruit. I cannot use any nuts.
also...if anyone has a foolproof recipe for a dark chocolate cake I would greatly appreciate it. So far I was planning to use the recipe in Cook's illustrated. thank you!!!!

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  1. How about a peanut butter mousse?
    In his cookbook, Stephen Pyles has a recipe for his Heaven and Hell Cake that includes layes of angel food cake, devil's food cake, and peanut butter mousse. It is covered in chocolate ganache. One of my favorites.

      1. re: QueenB

        and i would have said rasberries with cream (i.e. separate)... perfect either way

      2. I like it with mocha buttercream

        1. I would use a thin layer of jam on the cake layers and the chocolate mousse, that sounds so good. Fresh strawberries on top would look beautiful and taste great. You could also layer them in the mousse too, but that would make it a little more unstable, if you are transporting the cake. That has been my experience, but maybe I am just bad at it.

          1. strawberry jam with a little grand marnier added to it :D

            1 Reply
            1. re: Cat Chow

              Here's another vote for Strawberry Preserves. That's been my favorite filling for Chocolate Cake since I was a little girl.

              Buy the very best ones you can find.

            2. Raspberry jam with fresh raspberries on top.

              One wonderful method, by the way, is to slice the chocolate cake in four layers. Put a thin layer of raspberry jam on each layer, then frost it with a chocolate ganache (or just chocolate frosting) and scatter the berries on top. You also could cook the raspberries down for a sauce.

              2 Replies
              1. re: brendastarlet

                I saw a recipe in a cookbook the other day that I copied down. The filling for the cake was a package of frozen raspberries in syrup, thawed and drained. The drained juice was drizzled on the layers, the thawed berries placed on top and then topped again with fresh raspberries. The promised intensity of the raspberry sounded promising to me. I do love jam on cakes, but I liked the idea of the "clean" taste of the raspberry juice.

                1. re: alex8alot

                  agree entirely. a dark chocolate cake needs something with depth, and raspberries in MHO are there, if you you find them a bit tart,, sprinkle some icing sugar over them.

              2. I love chocolate cake. If it were me making it, I would do a wonderfully light marshmallow cream.

                8 Replies
                1. re: chef chicklet

                  DO you have a tried and true recipe for marshmallow creme that you would care to share?

                  1. re: alex8alot

                    I don't sorry to say. I have been searching for a light fluffy "marshmellow cream" to use for exactly the type of cake the op is making. I have tried the jar stuff with cream cheese, it is ok, but not what I mean.

                    I know it can be done, I just need to get the candy thermometer out and try a few. Most recipes are almost like a 7 minute frosting and that's not it either.

                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      well let;s just vow to find one and remember to pass it along. I agree that the 7 minute frosting just doesn't cut it.

                      1. re: alex8alot

                        I will be happy to it pass along to you! Let me know also, I have been wanting to make a homemade twinkie too. I have the yellow cake nailed on that one.
                        Dang, now all I need is the mm cream!!

                        1. re: chef chicklet

                          I've used the frosting from epicurious's Ginger-Lime Coconut Cake with Marshmallow Frosting (without the coconut) as a filling for chocolate cupcakes. It's easy to make and really delicious.


                          1. re: nc213

                            Good Grief! That cake looks gorgeous! Thanks, I'm researching marshmallow creams, and I will try this one. Thank you for posting this!

                            1. re: nc213

                              Thank you very much for the link to that recipe. I will definitely be trying the frosting on that very soon. I have been looking for a recipe like that actually.

                          2. re: alex8alot

                            I've found this recipe tastes very much like marshmallows.


                    2. I made a chocolate cake for friends just yesterday filled with a cognac whipped cream. It was absolute heaven and got raves.

                      I'm a weirdo - I don't like fruit with my chocolate, so those other suggestions don't work for me. But again, I realize I'm the odd one out on this.

                      6 Replies
                      1. re: LulusMom

                        My usual for a chocolate cake filling is Grand Marnier or Tia Maria whipped cream with fresh fruit. Strawberries, ripe peaches or canned mandarin oranges. Yum.

                        1. re: homerandsatchi

                          Hybrid of a bunch of other suggestions, but this is my favorite special dark chocolate cake filling: brush with liqueur of your choice, thin layer of jam, barely sweetened liqueur-tinged whipped cream. I like to brush with Chambord, layer raspberry jam, and pour some Frangelico into the whipped cream.

                          Also, suggestion for the top: pour ganache, pipe little florets of cream around the edges and in the center and put a raspberry in the middle of each one.

                        2. re: LulusMom


                          I'm in total agreement, fruit and chocolate do not mix with berries. The only exception is strawberries under a chocolate fountain.
                          IMHO raspberries totally ruin the taste of chocolate.
                          I'd go with a vanilla cream, myself. That's my personal favorite.
                          The mocha mousse sounds great, marshmallow cream sounds good but very sweet. I'm not a fan of whipped cream on a cake or in it. But if eaten immediately with the addition of the cognac, I'm sure it was a hit.

                          1. re: LulusMom

                            And LulusMom, the cognac whipped cream sounds wonderful to me. Do you add prior to whipping or after? I always add my flavorings at the end, is your method different?

                            1. re: chef chicklet

                              I added the cognac (3 tablespoons, along with 1/2 tablespoon vanilla) at the beginning. The thing with waiting is that sometimes it all the sudden gets stiffer than you thought it was going to get, and you wouldnt' want to have to whip it more.

                              I'm amazed (and so happy to hear) that there are others out there who share my feelings about chocolate and (especially) raspberries. All my life people have told me how insane I am, but I just do *not* like the combination.

                              1. re: LulusMom

                                Thanks I would of added it towards the end.

                            1. re: Bryarsmom

                              I love this ... this would make the cake a gourmet Hostess Ding Dong! LOL

                            2. Cherries are in season. You'll need to chop them and get the pits out, but it is so worth it. Sugar to thicken and cook in a pan. You can add your favorite liqueur too. Just don't put too much liquid between the slices. Not exactly black forrest, but getting there.

                              1. Thank you so much for the replies!! I like plain chocolate too but i thought some fruit would lighten it up. she does not like any nuts..otherwise I would make a hazelnut chocolate cream. i made some the other day and it tasted like amazing Nutella. She does like coffee so that would be an idea too. I am going to decorate it with fresh flowers..i thought that would look elegant with the ganache. i had a ganache wedding cake with green orchids and purple roses..it looked amazing.

                                1. ANother question...should i assemble the whole thing the night before and refrigerate?? will the ganache stay glossy???

                                  1. Now and then I fill a chocolate cake with that spreadable fruit stuff that comes in a jar. You just warm it up until it melts. Trouble is, it soaks in before too long.

                                    My wedding cake was chocolate and the filling was raspberry French cream. it was yummy.

                                      1. re: ipsedixit

                                        i think i need something easier than Tarot.

                                        1. re: Ela0427

                                          Hmm, how about no filling?

                                          I think the cake you've described so far is pretty good and rich enough as it is. I mean dark chocolate slathered in ganache is one damn good dessert!

                                        2. re: ipsedixit

                                          Will that cake be able to predict the future?

                                        3. Custard. I know It's not light, but I love chocolate cake with custard.

                                          1. Sweetened marcapone cheese lightened with a little whipped cream with grated crystallized ginger. The bite of the ginger is very refreshing with the dark chocolate.

                                            1. In the summer, I like to split two chocolate sour cream cake layers in half and layer fresh strawberries and amaretto whipped cream between each layer. It's very good, but not quite as heavy as a chocolate cake with icing or ganache. Also makes a very pretty presentation.

                                              1. I wouldn't fill the cake either. Sheer chocolate is wonderful. I know a lot of people like a black forest type of cake with cherries and whipped cream, though, and I admit I myself wouldn't turn my nose up at a slice. But... I probably wouldn't make it.

                                                I'm making my foolproof Kalouga cake for a friend's birthday on Monday. Bear with me, this is translated freehand from French:
                                                In a double boiler, melt together 200 grams of semisweet chocolate with high cocoa content (500 g = 1 lb., so this is short of a half pound)
                                                and 100 grams of butter.
                                                Add 1 tbsp of strong coffee and 1 tbsp of coffee extract (I never use this last because I never have it around. But Kahlua would be a good substitute)
                                                Stir until you obtain a smooth mixture and put aside.

                                                Separate four eggs. In a large bowl, beat the yolks with 75 grams of confectioner's sugar until the mixture whitens. Add 30 grams of flour (about 2 tbsp), then the melted chocolate mixture. Beat the egg whites stiff with the rest of the confectioner's sugar and fold carefully into the chocolate mixture.

                                                Butter and flour a 22cm cake pan and pour the preparation in.
                                                And this is *very* important:
                                                Place the cake in a much larger pan and fill with boiling water (they say to use the deep-dish pan of the oven, what's that called?). Allow to bake for 45 mins at 400°F in this double-boiler arrangement.

                                                When the cake is done, remove it from the pan immediately.

                                                The recommended icing is melted semisweet chocolate mixed with a small amount of veg oil to make it shiny. It's great!
                                                Sorry about all the gram measurements. I don't have a cooking scale either. I usually just eyeball it, based on the weight in grams printed on the container. For instance, if I have a 500-gram container of confectioner's sugar, I put in about one fifth.

                                                Enjoy. As my mother once said when my daughter was thinking about making a spice cake, "But chocolate is the best spice!"

                                                1. I am putting in my vote for a coconut filling.

                                                  1. Hi everyone and thank you for the great ideas. I ended up filling it with some amazing homemade strawberry jam made by my friend's mom. It is very fresh tasting and not too sweet and actually compliments the dark chocolate.
                                                    I had to fill the layers with something.. the cake consists of 2 layers 12x12x2..so it is almost 4 inches tall. I wanted it to look like a box.. i am going to cover it in ganache, wrap a red ribbon around it and will decorate it with green orchids, dark red velvety roses and some mini pink roses. I just returned from the flower market and I cannot wait to put it together.