Chocolate Tiers

Though awe-inspiring, delicate tiny cakes and tarts can be time-consuming to prepare. I created this recipe to take something simple and relatively easy to throw together, and make it look special. Any cake can be used. I chose a vegan chocolate cake because it’s the easiest and most foolproof cake recipe I have; and it’s moist and keeps well so these can be made in advance and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Note: If making ahead of time, let the cakes come up to room temperature before serving so the frosting can soften.

Chocolate Tiers (makes approximately 20 cakes)

1-1/4 cup (300ml) flour
1 cup (240ml) sugar
1/3 cup (80ml) cocoa
1 teaspoon (5ml) baking soda
1/2 teaspoon (2.5ml) salt
1 cup (240ml) warm water
1 teaspoon (5ml) vanilla
1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable oil (I use grape seed oil)
1 teaspoon (5ml) vinegar (apple cider or white)

Mocha Frosting:
1 stick (113g) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups (480ml)  sifted powdered sugar
1 Tbsp. (15ml) cocoa powder
2 Tbsp. (30ml) strong black coffee
Note: You can make the frosting in advance, but let it come up to room temperature before trying to pipe it onto the cakes.

1 bar chocolate of your choice (I used Valrhona Dark Chocolate bar)
Potato peeler

9-inch (23cm) round or square baking pan, lightly oiled and lined on the bottom with parchment paper
Piping bag and swirl tip

Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C).

For the cake:

Whisk the dry ingredients together in a medium-sized mixing bowl.

Mix the wet ingredients together.

Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, and mix until you no longer see any dry bits, making sure to scrape the bottom thoroughly.

Pour the batter into prepared pan.
Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes until toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. The cake might crack on top. Don’t worry about it.

Cover the cake with another cake pan, plate or aluminum foil, and let cool for one hour. This will help keep the cake moist. Condensation will develop on the covering, so when you take it off, lift it straight up and over, don’t tip it otherwise the water will run onto your cake top.

While the cake is cooling, make the frosting.

Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, cream the softened butter until light and fluffy, about ten minutes. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time to avoid a powdery explosion, then add the cocoa powder and coffee. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure all the ingredients have been thoroughly incorporated. Set aside.

Remove cake from the pan by running a knife along the edge and turning it out onto plate. Remove parchment paper from bottom of cake. Cover with cake pan and let cool completely.Move the cake to a cutting board (it should be top/rounded side up), and using a 1-1/2 inch (4cm) biscuit cutter, cut the cake into rounds. You should get approximately 20 cakes.
The rounds will be of varying heights because cakes rise differently in the middle than at the edge.

You can either leave them as is or cut a sliver off the top of the lopsided cakes to even them out. Don’t worry about the varying heights. It all sort of evens out after the frosting and chocolate curls are added.

Cut each round into three disks.

Add the first layer of frosting to the bottom layer of cake.

I used a piping bag and swirl tip. You can use any tip that gives you the effect you like.

Add the middle layer of cake, another layer of frosting, top layer of cake, and the last layer of frosting.

Using a potato peeler, shave the chocolate bar to create little curls.

Using the tip of the potato peeler or a small spoon (grabbing them with your hands will melt them), sprinkle some shavings on top of each cake.
The cakes can be made a day in advance and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator.