Seven Sins Chocolate Cake

Not long ago I sampled a cake from a bakery that boasted seven forms of chocolate. “Seven Deadly Sins” they called it.  It had two types of dark chocolate frosting, milk and white chocolate pastry cream, white chocolate curls… you get the idea. All those chocolates sound interesting when used in one cake, but I thought those “seven sins” could be more… sinful.  The gears began to turn.

Since then I’ve been scribbling in my recipe journal and testing decadent flavor combinations; a bit of espresso here, a bit of whiskey there…

Last week I finally pieced together what I consider the best of the best, and here you have it. A truly sinful Seven Sins Chocolate Cake. 

Shall we meet the players?

1,2,3:  The trio of pastry creams all work together without being overly sweet, and they all retain their individual nuances of flavor when eaten together.  I could eat a vat of each on any given day.

4: Can we all agree that a “Seven Sins” cake should have Devil’s Food as a base? Yes? Good. This one is moist and has a structure sturdy enough for torting.

5: Milk chocolate marshmallow frosting – it’s as good as it sounds, and probably a bit lighter tasting than you’d expect.

6: Dark chocolate drizzle is the perfect counter for the light-tasting marshmallow frosting.  It demands attention, both in flavor and appearance.

7: Squares of chocolates and chocolate shavings are a pretty and tasty decoration. It’s like dessert on top of dessert.

The striped chocolate squares are made by Dobla and I found them at World Market, but if you don’t have a store  locally, Godiva and Lindt chocolate squares are pretty and easy to locate.  The silver chocolate buttons are from Fancy Flours.

Seven Sins Chocolate Cake

Yield: 15+ servings                                                                                         [click for printable version]

I recommend making this cake over the course of 2 days. The devils’ food cake and pastry creams can be made on the first day, and the frosting, drizzle and assembly can be completed on day 2.

Devil’s food cake:

This is my favorite devils’ food cake recipe adapted from a Rose Levy Beranbaum recipe. This double layer cake gets torted and filled with three types of pastry cream.

Tip: Instead of picking up a torted cake piece with your hands, slide it onto a large plate. This will keep the cake from breaking into pieces and makes it easy to slide the piece back onto the filled cake.

1 oz. fine quality unsweetened baker’s chocolate, chopped evenly

3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder

1 cup hot coffee  (can use hot water or decaf coffee if caffeine sensitive)

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

1/4 cup sour cream

1 tbsp vanilla bean paste or vanilla extract

2 1/4 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, tightly packed

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

16 tbsp (2 US sticks) unsalted butter, softened

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease two 9-inch cake pans with vegetable shortening and line with a circle of parchment paper. Grease paper and flour; tap out excess and set pan aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk the chocolate, cocoa and hot coffee (or water) until smooth. Set aside.
  3. In another bowl, whisk the eggs, yolks, sour cream, half the chocolate mixture and vanilla until just combined.
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the flour, brown sugar, baking soda and salt on low for 30 seconds. Add the softened butter and the remaining chocolate mixture.  Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  5. With the mixer off between additions, add the egg mixture in two parts, starting on medium-low speed and gradually increasing to medium. Beat on medium speed for 45 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. The batter will be fluffy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Using a silicone spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pans and smooth the surface evenly with a small offset spatula.
  6. Bake for 30-40 minutes (check at 30). Cake is does when a toothpick tester comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed in the middle.  Let the baked cakes cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes, then turn cake out onto a wire rack sprayed with cooking oil.  Let cool completely.

Trio of pastry creams:

Adapted from the SprinkleBakes book.

Tip:  Be sure to temper eggs carefully! If you goof a little and pastry cream turns out lumpy, pass it through a fine sieve before refrigerating.

2.5 oz. dark chocolate

2.5 oz. white chocolate

2.5 oz. milk chocolate

¼ cup cornstarch

2 cups evaporated milk

2 eggs

4 egg yolks

¾ cup granulated sugar

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tbsp. whiskey

3 tbsp. dulce de leche (find this canned in the ethnic food aisle)

1-2 tsp. espresso powder (to taste)

  1. Have ready three small bowls (2 cup size), wiped spotless of any moisture.  Chop the chocolate evenly and place each type of chocolate in a separate bowl.  Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch in 1/2 cup of the milk. Beat the whole eggs, then the yolks, one at a time, into the cornstarch mixture.
  3. In a saucepan, combine the remaining milk and the sugar; bring to a boil, whisking constantly.
  4. While whisking the egg mixture, slowly pour 1/3 of the boiling milk into it, to temper the eggs.
  5. Return the remaining milk in the saucepan to medium-low heat.
  6. Pour the hot egg mixture into the saucepan in a thin stream, whisking, so as to not scramble the eggs.
  7. Whisk constantly until the mixture thickens and begins to boil.  Remove from the heat and pour the hot pastry cream over the chopped chocolate, dividing evenly between the three bowls.  Let stand for 2 minutes, and then stir each bowl until mixture is well incorporated.  Mix 1 tbsp. butter in each of the bowls.  When butter has melted and is thoroughly combined, fold in 2 tbsp. whisky into the dark chocolate pastry cream; 3 tbsp. dulce de leche into the white chocolate pastry cream;  1-2 tsp. espresso powder into the milk chocolate pastry cream.
  8. Press a sheet of plastic wrap directly on the surfaces of each type of pastry cream so they do not form a skin. Cool to room temperature.
  9. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Milk chocolate marshmallow frosting:

12 tbsp (1 1/2 US sticks) unsalted butter, softened

2 2/3 cups powdered sugar

6 oz. milk chocolate melted and slightly cooled

7 oz. marshmallow cream

  1. With a hand mixer or standing mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat butter for 3 minutes until fluffy.  Add powdered sugar and mix on low until incorporated.  Add melted chocolate and beat until fluffy. Add marshmallow cream and beat until frosting has lightened in color and all ingredients are well combined.
  2. Scrape down bowl and mix again.  Transfer 3/4 cup to a piping bag or zip-top bag with the corner snipped for later use. 

Fill and frost the cakes:

Cut each cake in half horizontally (this is called “torting”); pipe a line of frosting around the edge of the first cake piece. This makes a reservoir in which to hold the pastry cream (this is extra insurance, sometimes pastry cream is lax if not well refrigerated). Spread the pastry cream inside the icing ring and top with another cake piece.  Pipe an icing line as before and fill white chocolate dulce de leche cream; repeat with the next cake piece and milk chocolate mocha cream.  Top with the final cake layer and frost the entire cake.  You may choose to crumb coat the cake and refrigerate, then do a final smooth coat of icing (recommended).

Dark chocolate drizzle:

Note: This portion should not be made ahead. The chocolate thickens quickly and needs to be applied to the cake 10-15 minutes after making it.

4 oz. dark chocolate chopped evenly

1/2 cup whipping cream

1/4 cup light corn syrup

2 tsp. vanilla

  1. Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. In a 4-cup measure, heat cream until very hot but not boiling (about 45 seconds for me, but all microwaves vary); you can also do this in a saucepan over medium heat if you don’t have a microwave. 
  2. Pour hot cream over chocolate and let stand for 2 minutes.  Whisk until all chocolate is completely melted and mixture is consistent.  Whisk in corn syrup and vanilla.  Let mixture stand until slightly thickened – about 10-15 minutes.  Pour over cake; allow the mixture to run down the sides of the cake in fingers. 

Final flourishes:

Chocolate shavings

Your choice of chocolate pieces – this version has 16 squares of chocolate and 16 silver chocolate buttons (product sources are listed in blog post)

Remaining 3/4 cup frosting in piping bag/zip-top bag

  1. Pipe frosting in mounds around the outer edge on top of the cake.  Sprinkle-on chocolate shavings.  If using, place a chocolate square in the center of each mound and place a silver button in front of each square of chocolate.

Important! Keep this cake refrigerated, but be sure to bring it to room temperature before serving.  Pastry creams and frosting flavors are fully developed at room temperature.

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Lynna
Lynna
9 years ago

oh wow, i think i just fainted from looking at this. ♥

Caroline @ chocolate & carrots
Caroline @ chocolate & carrots
9 years ago

Seven delicious sins!!! I'm impressed. This cake has got to be a record of sweetness! 😀 Yum!

Emma
Emma
9 years ago

It seems sort of sinful just to eat anything that is silver colored 🙂

Mary @ Bake Break
Mary @ Bake Break
9 years ago

OMG. This looks ridiculously deliciously sinful! Love it!

Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar
9 years ago

You seriously amaze me. This cake is so beautiful!

Sue/the view from great island
Sue/the view from great island
9 years ago

I give up. I'm pretty sure nothing I could ever make, or ever eat, for that matter, could top this cake.

Janet Rudolph @ DyingforChocolate
Janet Rudolph @ DyingforChocolate
9 years ago

OMG.. This is spectacular. Your photos, the recipe… chocolate, chocolate, chocolate! Beautiful.. Definitely seven deadly sins.. all sweet..

Julie (pharmbelle85)
Julie (pharmbelle85)
9 years ago

Please know that if I had the money I would beg you every day to be our personal pastry chef. You. Are. Amazing.

Cookin' Canuck
Cookin' Canuck
9 years ago

Oh my goodness! I'd spend a day in hell if it meant I got to eat at least one piece of this cake.

Unknown
Unknown
9 years ago

Oh man, you're killing me!

Katie
Katie
9 years ago

I cannot even handle how incredible this sounds. You put everything I love in one cake. Congrats!

Christina Marie
Christina Marie
9 years ago

Yup, this looks sinful alright! Love the different flavored layers. Yum!

Christina
http://www.becauseofmadalene.com

Unknown
Unknown
9 years ago

Wow! This looks AMAZING! I seriously was drooling while looking at the photos.

Averie @ Averie Cooks
Averie @ Averie Cooks
9 years ago

Those spoons…can I have a taste from each please?

I've been reading your book, word by word, starting at page 1. Woman. My god. The detail of the recipes and the photos and your skills…thank you for sharing it with all of us! Just gorgeous!!

Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
Julie @ Willow Bird Baking
9 years ago

Just breathtaking! I love it!

Unknown
Unknown
9 years ago

This isn't a 7 deadly sins cake, it's a 14! Seriously, I'm sat here completely drooling at the idea of all the flavour combos when my stomach starts to groan in agreement.

-Lisa.
Sweet 2 Eat Baking

Kathy - Panini Happy
Kathy - Panini Happy
9 years ago

TRIUMPH is the word that pops to mind! I love that you gave it so much thought and assembled something truly extraordinary. 🙂 Your book just arrived in my mailbox today – I can't wait to peruse (and bake)!

Karyn
Karyn
9 years ago

Holy Moley!! That is by far the most ridiculous chocolate cake! I LOVE it!

Erica
Erica
9 years ago

This looks amazing!!! I am going to try to adapt this into cupcake form! Do you have any suggestions?

Unknown
Unknown
9 years ago

Woah! This is seriously a seven deadly sins chocolate cake, and I wouldn't mind commiting every sin as I eat this cake. It looks truely fantastic!

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago

You've killed me with this recipe. I don't even know what to say.

Heather (Heather's Dish)
Heather (Heather's Dish)
9 years ago

No words…I can't believe how crazy delicious this cake looks!

jenna
jenna
9 years ago

Amazing!

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago

This is like the dessert equivalent of The Expendables 2, except I'd take white chocolate dulce de leche instead of Jean Claude Van Damme any day.

Tracy {Pale Yellow}
Tracy {Pale Yellow}
9 years ago

This is ridiculous in the best possible way! Amazing!

Vanessa [theteensytinyinsignificantdetails]
Vanessa [theteensytinyinsignificantdetails]
9 years ago

That looks incredible!

There was a cake with a similar concept on Australian Master Chef, called the V8 cake. It had eight types of vanilla. Sounds like it might be up your alley…

Darla | Bakingdom
Darla | Bakingdom
9 years ago

Ummmm…why aren't you my neighbor? Seriously. Why?

You call it Seven Sins, but it truly looks like heaven!!

Lindsey @ Hot Polka Dot
Lindsey @ Hot Polka Dot
9 years ago

My mouth is literally watering! That may very well be the most tasty cake I have ever seen!

Jessica | Portuguese Girl Cooks
Jessica | Portuguese Girl Cooks
9 years ago

This cakes is absolutely beautiful; it looks and sounds incredibly delicious and sinful! Beautiful photos as always!

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago

That really an art piece! Maybe thatbshold be the birthsday cake for my 30 birthsday!!! You are so talented! Have a wonderful day!

Sue
Sue
9 years ago

A labor of love and sinfully delicious! It's signature SprinkleBakes!!!

Sara
Sara
9 years ago

WHOA! That cake is incredible!!!! Love all the flavors, wow!

Unknown
Unknown
9 years ago

My imagination is doing wicked things….like running to get a pen to write down ingredients. Holy Moses that looks (devilishly) good!

Jamie @ green beans & grapefruit
Jamie @ green beans & grapefruit
9 years ago

Ohhhh, how I wish so badly that you were my next door neighbor/ friend. This post is blowing my mind.

Angela @ the fairy bread chronicles
Angela @ the fairy bread chronicles
9 years ago

OH MY GOD.

that is all.

Rosa's Yummy Yums
Rosa's Yummy Yums
9 years ago

Sinful, indeed! That cake looks just mindblowing. Oh, drool…

Cheers,

Rosa

Therese Marie
Therese Marie
9 years ago

As always, I want to start baking after reading your blog. I am based in France and can not find marshmallow cream in the stores. Is it possible to make this from marshmallows?

Jessica @ How Sweet
Jessica @ How Sweet
9 years ago

are.you.serious.
OMG.

Lauren at Keep It Sweet
Lauren at Keep It Sweet
9 years ago

Oh, Heather- you are crazy in such an amazing way!

Heather
Heather
9 years ago

This must have been a good deal of work to pull off! So glad you love what you do and bring us this kind of chocolate masterpiece! Awesome!

Julia
Julia
9 years ago

I don't know what's making me drool more, the dark chocolate whiskey cream or the milk chocolate marshmallow frosting. Seriously, this is insane, and I love it!

cookies and cups
cookies and cups
9 years ago

Oh how I wish you lived closer to me. I would gladly be your sampler 🙂

Annie Standing
Annie Standing
9 years ago

Oh wow, I think I've just put on a stone looking at this cake. It looks AMAZING!

Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love.
Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love.
9 years ago

O.M.G.!! I think I just licked my screen!

Angela @lesgetbaking
Angela @lesgetbaking
9 years ago

Wow, you have truly outdone any other chocolate cake that I know of!! 😉

Catalina @ Cake with Love
Catalina @ Cake with Love
9 years ago

I am sure that this is the ultimate chocolate cake!! OMG it just looks amazing!

Laura
Laura
9 years ago

Oh that is sinful! I'm going make it and eat the whole thing just to make sure I do it right 😉

Anonymous
Anonymous
9 years ago

Amazing! This is definitely a long weekend project! The dark chocolate whisky cream, milk chocolate mocha cream and white chocolate dulce de leche were incredible looking. Just to look at them makes me hungry.

Rachel @ Baked by Rachel
Rachel @ Baked by Rachel
9 years ago

Beautiful work of art!

Monica
Monica
9 years ago

Wow! That is truly amazing and dedication! I hope you had a very special occasion to enjoy this with! Personally, I think there's always an occasion for making a chocolate cake but this is something else!