Not all chocolate cakes were made equal.

For most of my life, I believed that I didn’t like chocolate cakes. I realized later that my dislike was misplaced. Turns out, I disliked chocolate sponge cakes in particular. The high ratio type was to die for.

This recipe for a Horseradish Grill Chocolate Cake was the game changer for me. At first, I thought, Horseradish was a peculiar way to name a cake. Apparently, Horseradish Grill was the restaurant that had this on its menu.

In baking school, we were taught that this cake was very heavy so you shouldn’t pair this with a buttercream frosting. We used whipped cream and I added a tinge of coffee flavor. I was in New York this time and my family was visiting from the Philippines. I brought this cake with me to Grand Central, where my family and I decided to have lunch. I was a bit worried that the cake would melt because whipped cream is not very stable (we used heavy cream with sugar rather than the more stable whipping creams available in the market). It was a bit melted but it didn’t matter. We devoured the cake in minutes.

These days, I pair this cake with a whipped truffle ganache as frosting. A truffle ganache is one part cream and two parts chocolate. It’s a bit heavy like buttercream but applied moderately or even just a thick layer on top, it’s perfection.

To make this cake, I used two (2) 9×3 cake pans but poured 2/3 onto one pan and the remaining 1/3 onto the second pan. This yielded thicker and more even layers since I only had to slice the cake with 2/3 batter in half once, as opposed to slicing twice to yield three thinner layers.

This cake is very soft and moist. It sheds a lot of crumbs when you try to slice the cake in half. To eliminate the crumbs, I bake the cake at least a day before. If assembling the next day, place only in the refrigerator. If longer than a day, freeze then thaw for at least an hour to make sure it has completely defrosted. I once made the mistake of slicing a cake when it was not yet completely thawed. It was still tough in some areas. My first mistake was that I misjudged the toughness in one area and exerted more strength as I pushed the knife through. The second mistake I made was that I placed my left hand to steady the cake and it was directly on the path of the knife. I’ll save you the bloody details but I was rushed to the ER and ended up with several stitches on two fingers. Knowing this story now, maybe you’re better off just dealing with the crumbs. I’ve sliced this cake without the additional cooling in the refrigerator or freezer and it came out alright. Just a little bit more messy than usual.

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