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Chocolate Layer Cake with Orange Mascarpone

Chocolate Layer Cake with Orange Mascarpone
Serves 12
This grand cake has three layers of creamy citrus-spiked mascarpone filling sandwiched between dark chocolate cake, all topped with a rich ganache glaze.
  1. ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus a pinch for dusting the pans
  2. 2 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  3. 1½ teaspoons baking soda
  4. ½ teaspoon salt
  5. ½ cup buttermilk
  6. ½ cup water
  7. ¾ cup unsalted butter, softened
  8. 1¾ cups sugar
  9. 2 large eggs
  10. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  1. 2 cups mascarpone
  2. ¼ cup frozen orange juice concentrate,
  3. defrosted
  4. 2 tablespoons grated orange zest
  1. 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  2. ½ cup heavy cream
  3. 1 tablespoon butter
  4. Candied orange peel (see Note)
  1. THE CAKE: Heat the oven to 350°F. Line two 9-inch round cake pans with wax or parchment paper. Grease the pans, and dust with cocoa powder. Whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Combine the buttermilk and water in a small bowl.
  2. Beat the butter with a mixer on high speed until fluffy in a large bowl. Add the sugar, and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract. With the mixer on low, add the cocoa mixture alternately with the buttermilk mixture in three batches, beating just until well blended. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans.
  3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a wooden stick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in the pans on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove the cake from the pans, and let cool completely on the wire rack.
  4. THE FILLING: Combine the mascarpone, orange juice concentrate, and zest in a medium bowl and mix until well combined. Set in the refrigerator until ready to use.
  5. THE GANACHE: Chop the chocolate, and place in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan over medium heat just until the sides start to bubble. Pour the hot cream into the bowl with the chocolate, and stir until the chocolate melts. Stir in the butter. Let cool for 10 minutes to thicken slightly before using.
  6. To assemble the cake: Trim the domed top of one cake, and cut both cakes horizontally in half. Spread ⅔ cup of the mascarpone filling on one bottom layer of cake. Top with another layer of cake. Repeat with the filling and cake layers, reserving the one domed layer for the top. Pour ganache on the cake, guiding it with a spoon so some runs down the sides. Garnish with candied orange peel.
  1. To make candied orange peel, peel the skin of an orange in thin strips, avoiding the white layer of pith near the fruit. Cut the peeled strips into thin slices. Soak them for 3 minutes in boiled water; drain and rinse. Heat ¼ cup sugar and 1 tablespoon water to a boil in a saucepan. Add the orange strips, and cook 1 minute. Transfer peel, shaking off excess syrup, to wax paper. Sprinkle with sugar and let dry 30 minutes.
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Jacqueline Plant

Jackie Plant freelances as a recipe developer and editor/food writer for magazines and websites such as Weight Watchers, Family Circle and Culture magazines, while contributing to the development of cookbooks. She has spent much of the past 20 years developing recipes and writing about food for national magazines, such as Parents, Country Living and Woman’s Day Magazine.