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Chocolate Tia Maria Cake, inspired by Joy

November 4, 2008

Might I just mention how much I love Joy The Baker? In fact, I don’t know why I don’t have her in my links section… That has now been fixed! Anyway…her Mocha Rum cake recipe (adapted from Gourmet) had been dwelling in my bookmarks for a while before I finally mustered together some 60% dark chocolate (the magic number in my opinion). Unfortunately, I don’t have any rum, but I did have Tia Maria (a coffee liqueur). If you’re going to splash out on some decent liqueur, Tia Maria is well worth the investment. It goes well in cold milk, coffee, Tiramisu, ice cream, yoghurt (yes, that’s right), cakes, brownies, and anything else that you want a decadent coffee aroma in. So here is Joy The Baker’s Mocha Rum cake adapted with Tia Maria…with lots of photos, because it was a gorgeous cake (inside and out), and I don’t often brag.

Chocolate Tia Maria cake

makes a thick 8″ round cake

1 1/2 c flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
170g good-quality dark chocolate, chopped (60% is good if you like bittersweet chocolate, if not, use 45%)
170g unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/2 c Tia Maria
2/3 c water
1 1/8 c granulated sugar (raw is fine)
2 free range eggs
3/4 tsp vanilla

Butter and/or line an 8″ round springform cake tin (lining the bottom is a must-do).

Whisk flours & salt. In a large metal bowl set over simmering water, melt chocolate and butter together, stirring occasionally until smooth and well combined. Preheat oven to 150C or 300F. Remove from heat, and whisk in rum, sugar and water to combine. Whisk in flour gradually until well combined, then whisk in eggs and vanilla, beating to incorporate air into the batter, and until well combined and batter is smooth. Pour into lined baking pan, and bake on centre rack of the oven for about 1 hour and 45 minutes, or until a skewer/knife inserted all the way in comes out clean.

Let cake cool completely in pan (preferably overnight – I know it’s hard, but it’s worth it), then run knife between cake and pan sides, along the outside, trying to scrape as close to the pan as possible without scraping the pan (I know, it’s a delicate process). Turn cake out, peel off paper lining, and plate.

EDIT: Making this into an 8″ cake gives it plenty of thickness to turn into a layer cake (see quick chocolate mousse recipe below), just shave off the rounded top carefully with a large sharp chef’s knife, then split in half horizontally.

Chocolate Ganache icing

Ganache (my version anyway) doesn’t use icing sugar, so it’s super smooth, doesn’t form a crackly outer skin, and is like a soft, melt-in-your mouth chocolate shell for the cake.

All you need to do is throw 150g (or 200g for a thick layer) dark chocolate in a small saucepan with about 100ml (or 200ml for a thick layer) or so of whipping cream (don’t be a whimp by using the low fat stuff), and heat on medium until the chocolate BEGINS to melt. Then turn your heat to low (very low), and mix with a wooden spoon. Keep blending (they look like they won’t combine, but they will) until you get a smooth, glossy, chocolatey sauce. Turn off heat, and pour (and scrape with a spatula) the icing onto the center of the cake. Spread outwards until large dribbles of icing cascade down the sides. You can stop here, but if you want it all covered in icing, twirl your spatula around the cake to spread the icing along all sides of the cake, leaving no cake showing. Then smooth the top of your cake, preferably moving your spatula in a spiral. Top with nuts (crush em by putting them in the chocolate wrappers and banging them with a rolling pin. This will make the cake prettier because you’ll get a variety of sizes for your nut chunks, as compared to store bought chopped nuts) – I used macadamias, roasted hazelnuts, and walnuts – only a small handful though.

EDIT: Quick chocolate mousse filling

I made this filling for a birthday cake for one of my very good friends, and it went perfectly with this cake, taking it from amazing to ridiculously rich.

  • 100g dark chocolate (60%-70% is best)
  • 100ml whipping cream

Whip cream in a small but deep bowl until it JUST starts to leave deep trails that keep their shape. The stage your stop whipping will make or break this mousse, so if using beaters, slow it down when the cream starts thickening to make sure you don’t overwhip. The cream should still be pretty smooth. Meanwhile, melt chocolate in a very small saucepan over low heat, stirring regularly. EDIT: Make sure you don’t heat the chocolate so that it’s too hot to hold the pan. Pour melted chocolate (EDIT: If you want to be really careful you can fold it in gradually) into whipped cream and fold in with a spatula, or you could use a whisk but do not beat. Spread over the bottom layer of cake. Ta-da!

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17 Comments leave one →
  1. November 4, 2008 12:57 am

    absolutely gorgeous! and i love the tia maria adaptation! lovely!

  2. twospoons permalink*
    November 4, 2008 1:00 am

    Teehee, thanks… I was just going to post a comment on your blog thanking you for posting the original recipe!

  3. November 4, 2008 5:11 am

    Wow, saw this on Tastespotting, that looks delightful! I love how glisteny the frosting is.

  4. November 4, 2008 6:11 am

    i bet the chocolate ganache puts this cake over the edge :) the photos are lovely!

  5. November 4, 2008 11:44 am

    I agree that Tia Maria is a great drink! Have you ever had an Irish coffee made with Tia Maria instead of whiskey? Delicious! I would kill for a piece of that cake right now as a mid morning treat!

  6. bakingforthecure permalink
    November 4, 2008 5:03 pm

    This cake looks truly amazing! Lovely photos!

  7. November 4, 2008 5:55 pm

    I’m not a fan of chocolate cake but yours looks good especially the chocolate ganache icing!

    Great photos, too! Brag girl, brag! :-)
    ~ingrid

  8. twospoons permalink*
    November 5, 2008 1:48 am

    Niall: I have no idea what an Irish coffee is but I would certainly like one now!!

    Thank you all for your lovely comments :)

    There are still two slices left if anyone wants some!

  9. November 5, 2008 5:04 pm

    Yumm this chocolate cake looks so delicous. I would love to have a big piece for coffee now

  10. Kavie permalink
    November 20, 2008 12:03 pm

    I had a last minute request to bake a cake for a baby christening. I bumped on your cake on tastespotting. Wow, it was hit, the cake was gone in less than 60 seconds…literally! This was truly exceptional and amazingly, there was no fuss to baking it at all. Thanks!

  11. Kavie permalink
    April 15, 2010 12:35 am

    This is a lovely cake and have been baking this a couple of times for birthdays, parties etc and its always a great hit but always got a cake that is no more than 1-11/2 inch in height. I now realise that maybe because I’ve not been adding the baking soda! The recipe calls for baking soda but in the method it just says “mix in flours” which to me doesnt include baking soda..hehe. Please can you tell me if this is the stage where I add the baking soda?

  12. April 15, 2010 10:54 am

    Kavie: Yes you need to add the baking soda at this stage!

    Hehe funnily enough I just baked one yesterday for my Dad. Hope you have many more chocolatey Birthdays to come!

  13. stockingstuffer permalink
    December 8, 2011 6:06 pm

    I tried to make the mousse filling and it turned into a horrid chocolatey mess. I don’t understand how adding hot chocolate to semi-whipped cream is supposed to make mousse…could you explain this a bit better?

    • December 9, 2011 2:38 am

      SS: Good question, and thanks for letting me know! For starters it’s not technically a mousse, it’s a lazy version of mousse :D The mess thing (do you mean curdling? “mess” is not very specific) happened to me once too. Two points make a difference. First, the chocolate shouldn’t be hot to the touch, otherwise it’s already a spoilt. Second, it may help to add the chocolate quite gradually. If it still curdles, try not to throw out the mixture! It’ll make a mean addition to porridge with some extra sugar to sweeten :) Hope that helps! Have added the above advice into the post now.

  14. Jenn permalink
    October 29, 2012 4:12 am

    I am sure I would like so much that cake, it look easy to cook. Thank you.

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