The majority of us would take one look and at this cake and say, nice looking chocolate cake. A small minute number of us, I’m guessing will take a quick glance and immediately know where the inspiration came from.
A few weeks ago when I asked Justin, my youngest son, what type of cake he wanted for his birthday. He responded with: “a portal cake“. A what type of cake? I said.
He quickly ran to me with an image of a chocolate cake topped with a white candle in the center and a few strategically placed maraschino cherries sitting atop whipped cream or vanilla frosting.
Justin then proceeded to explain to me, that this cake apparently is mentioned multiple times in this game he plays, Portal. I’ve heard “the cake is a lie”, well… I am here to tell you this cake is not a lie, it is in fact quite true, extreamly delicious, and true.
In my opinion, it it simply a riff off a German Chocolate cake. I Googled a bit to try and find a recipe for it, in the end, I decided to come up with my own interpretation.
Two dark chocolate cake layers nestled between just a rich enough layer of coconut pecan frosting, topped with a chocolate ganache which ends up being completely covered in something called buncha crunch, a “bakers” version of crunch candy bars if you will. The finishing touches involve just a tiny bit of vanilla frosting, eight (8) maraschino cherries, no more-no less. And last but certainly not least one single candle in the center atop another swirl of vanilla frosting.
What’s not to love?
- 3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
- 1½ cups hot brewed coffee
- 3 cups sugar
- 2½ cups all-purpose flour
- 1½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- ¾ teaspoon baking powder
- 1¼ teaspoons salt
- 3 large eggs
- ¾ cup vegetable oil
- 1½ cups well-shaken buttermilk
- ¾ teaspoon vanilla
- 1 pound fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
- ½ stick (1/4 cup) unsalted butter
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 1 cup sugar
- 3 egg yolks, lightly beaten
- ½ cup butter
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1½ cups chopped pecans
- 1½ cups coconut
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup confectioners’ sugar
- 1-2 teaspoons heavy cream
- 2 bags of Nestle’s Buncha Crunch candies
- 8 maraschino cherries
- I found the perfect chocolate cake and chocolate frosting recipes for Justin’s Portal cake in my Gourmet Today cookbook, luckily the recipe is also on-line. Instructions to prepare both can be found here.
- In a saucepan, combine milk, sugar, egg yolks, butter, and vanilla. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for about 12-15 minutes until mixture has thickened. Remove from heat, then add pecans and coconut.
- Cool frosting to room temperature. Once cool, spread a layer between the two layers of cooled chocolate cake.
- In a bowl beat butter until smooth and glossy. Add in vanilla, then confectioners’ sugar. Finally add heavy cream starting with one teaspoon, if too dry add more. Whip frosting on high speed until light and fluffy.
- To assemble the cake place one of the cakes bottom side up and top with the coconut pecan frosting.
- Place the second cake layer on top flat side over the top of the coconut pecan frosting.
- Coat cake with a thin layer of the chocolate ganache and place cake in the refrigerator for 10 minutes.
- Finish coating the cake with the remaining chocolate ganache and begin placing chocolate buncha crunch over the ganache until the cake is covered completely, an extra pair of hands comes extremely handy. Note: Birthday boys don’t mind helping one bit, so I’ve learned.
- Pipe eight florets or swirls around the cake and one in the center.
- Place one maraschino cherry over each of the florets surrounding the perimeter of the cake and a white thin candle in the center.