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Indulge in Festive Decadence: Dark Chocolate Kahlua Cake, Coffee Sponge & Ginger-Orange Marmalade

Updated: Dec 19, 2023

Dark Chocolate Ganache Cake with Kahlua Coffee Liqueur

In the delightful spirit of festive collaboration, my latest creation is born from the collective palate of my amazing Instagram community.

In a recent poll, I asked my followers to decide the fate of my next chrismassy "Cake Challenge" - and "chocolate + booze" emerged as the triumphant flavor duo (and no wonder...). The challenge was accepted, and from that spirited poll, the vision of the Dark Chocolate Kahlua Cake took shape. Picture a symphony of rich, velvety ganache, intertwined with the bold embrace of coffee-infused sponge, all brought to life by the warmth of Kahlua liqueur.

But the magic doesn't end there – the winning flavour was destined for further greatness. Within the layers of this decadent creation, I've infused a burst of holiday cheer with a delightful filling of ginger and orange marmalade. And as the grand finale, crunchy macadamia nuts crumble finishes to layer this masterpiece.

Join me on this cakey adventure as we unwrap the layers of this festive creation, inspired by your preferences and crafted with love. It's not just a cake; it's a celebration in every bite (if I say so myself!).

But enough with the chit-chat. Here's the recipe!

I decided to give this creation the shape of the well-know and most loved Christmas Pudding. As a French person, I always thought that it always truly embodies the British spirit of Christmas as we imagine it from across the Channel (along with Christmas Carols, Scrooge and candellit old pubs).

Dark Chocolate Ganache Cake with Kahlua Coffee Liqueur

Having this in mind, I used a half-sphere silicon mould to assemble all the different element upside-down, the way we do with French "Entremets" - or Gateaux. Once assembled, the cake is is left to fully set in the freezer to unmold once rock solid, before decorating.

For the decorations I created this really cool slightly oversized cherry made of coloured sugar paste and dipped in a red syrup for a very attractive shiny result. The chocolate "pudding" was covered in white fondant to mimic the famous white dripping effect that is the signature look of the Christmas pudding.

Here are all the elements that compose the cake - these are in the order you should be making them.

  • Ginger & Orange Marmalade

  • Coffee & Kahlua sponge

  • Coffee & Kahlua syrup

  • Macadamia Nuts crumble

  • Dark Chocolate Kahlua infused ganache

Ginger & Orange Marmalade:

275g Orange Juice

75g Orange peels chopped thinly

25g fresh ginger - peeled and chopped thinly

55g Water

210g Sugar

4g NH Pectin + 10g Sugar

Put the water and orange juice in a pan, add the ginger and orange peels and the large part of sugar and stir until dissolved. Bring to a gentle simmer and stop the heat. Leave to cool for a bit and when luke warm, add the mix of pectin + sugar and stir gently as you bring back to a boil. Reduce heat and leave to simmer for 2-3 minutes and check consistency on by putting a few drips on a cold plate. It should slightly set but still be a bit runny. You should have enough to pour into a medium jar (make sure to sterilise beforehand) and have the equivalent of 1.5 cup left to use for the cake below.

Macadamia Crumble

50g cold salted butter

50g light brown sugar

50g plain flour

50g ground almonds

30g roughly chopped macadamia nuts

Put all the ingredients in the bowl of your standing mixer. Using the paddle attachment, mix until reaching a thick crumble consistency.

Lay flat onto a lined baking tray and bake at 160ºC until evenly golden brown everywhere - I strongly suggest turning your tray front to back after10 min of baking to ensure even baking.

Leave to cool on a rack.

Coffee Sponge

1.5 medium egg (about 75g)

220g plain natural yoghurt

165g light brown sugar

75g salted butter - melted

30g sunflower oil

270g Self Raising Flour

2 tbs Coffee Flavour (check my recipe here!) OR use make a strong espresso

Melt the butter and leave aside to cool slightly.

In your mixing bowl add the eggs, yoghurt, light brown sugar, oil and cooled melted butter and mix with paddle attachment until fully homogenised. Add the coffee flavour OR the strong espresso (a traditional small espresso will do) and mix again. Sieve the flour and add to the rest.

Scrape the sides of the bowl and mix one last time.

Pour into a lined 5" cake tin.

Bake at 160ºC for about 40-45 min, turning the tin after 25 min for even baking. The sponge should be evenly golden on top and a knife blade should come out clean.

Leave to cool on a rack. Remove the cake tin and lining after 15-20 min for the sponge to finish to cool on its own.

Kahlua + Coffee Syrup

70g water

70g sugar

1/4 vanilla pod

20g Kahlua liqueur

1 espresso

Make a simple syrup with the sugar and water (bring to a boil). Cut open the vanilla pod and leave to infuse in the syrup.

Make an espresso and pour into the syrup, and finish with the Kahlua (you can boil the Kahlua with the simple syryp for a couple of minutes if you prefer to lower the alcohol content).

Leave aside until ready to assemble.

Dark Kahlua Ganache

375g 70% Chocolate Couverture

280g Whipping Cream

50g Salted Butter

1 tbs Coffee Flavour (find the recipe here) OR make a strong espresso or "Ristretto"

20g Kahlua Liqueur

Melt the chocolate in a medium size bowl.

Bring the cream to a simmer.

Pour onto the chocolate and add the coffee flavour (or Ristretto - it should be a the equivalent of a tbs), the Kahlua liqueur and the butter and IMMEDIATELY blend using a hand blender. Stop to scrape the sides and blend one last time to finish off the emulsion. Your ganache should be smooth and shiny at this stage with no bits left unmixed.

Note: If you do not have a hand blender, make your emulsion by hand with a whisk, and add the butter in the end by hand still, and finish off the emulsion by tirring vigorously until perfectly combined. I always highly recommend finishing a ganache with a hand (also called stick) blender however as the results will be much more stable.


Assembling the Dark Chocolate Ganache Cake with Kahlua Coffee Liqueur

Once we have all the elements at hand, it's time to assemble. You can also watch my Reel here to see how I do it :)

I use my half-sphere silicon mould Tortaflex by Silikomart - which unfortunately seems to have been discontinued. The mould however is 6.5" wide at the base - 16cm - and about 3" deep. So any similar size half-spheres dome would work. If you were to use an aluminium sphere however, make sure to line it with cling film as you might find it hard to unmold otherwise.

Alternatively, you can use this recipe with a classic cylindre cake shape.

If you do, wait until the ganache has slightly set to a spreadable consistency and fill the cake by layering it as you would a normal cake, and use a bag to pipe the ganache for a more even result.

Here is how I did it with my semi-sphere mould:

Once the sponge is fully cooled, cut it in 3 layers of about 1.5 cm in thickness each. With a large cookie cutter, cut what will become the top sponge into a smaller disc (of about 7-8 cm in diameter, then the middle one about 10cm and leave the bottom one at 12cm (5"). Drizzle the Kahlua & Coffee syrup over both sides of each disc of sponge.

Place the crumble in a bowl and if needed, roughly chop it down with the bottom of a rolling pin to make it finer. Melt some cocoa butter (the best way to do this is in a saucepan) and gently drizzle it over the crumble and stir with a spatula until coating evenly all the crumble. Watch my Reel here where I show you exactly how to do this! This will set quickly if your working space is a bit cold so the faster you work, the better.

Please note that if you are assembling the cake like me in a mould using the upside-down method, it's much better to work with the ganache at its ideal temperature of about 35ºC, which means that it is still "liquid" and easy to pour. When assembling the cake like a classic layered cake, leave the gamache to set slightly and pipe it with a bag for ease.

When assembling in a mould upside-down, star by pouring 1/4th of the ganache at the bottom, making sure to bring it to the sides with a spatula or by giving it a wriggle (as shown on the video). Place the first disc of sponge, then cover it with a thin layer of marmalade. Add about 1cm of crumble - spread evenly - and cover with ganache.

Repeat this step for the following sponge, and seal with the last disc of sponge.

Place in the freezer for 24 hours (or overnight) and your cake will then be ready to unmould.

Decorate to your heart fancy (check this Reel here to see how I decorated mine!), and make sure to enjoy this cake just below room temperature.

It will keep in the fridge for 7-8 days, making sure to keep in airtight containers any leftovers to avoid the ganache drying out.

Dark Chocolate Ganache Cake with Kahlua Coffee LiqueurDark Chocolate Ganache Cake with Kahlua Coffee Liqueur

As I bid Adieu to this holiday-inspired journey, I truly want to extend my gratitude to each one of you who participated in the Instagram poll. What I love the most about my Instagram community it to get to share joy with you all!

I hope this Dark Chocolate Kahlua Cake, with its coffee-infused layers, spirited filling of ginger and orange marmalade, and the delightful crunch of macadamia nuts, becomes a cherished part of your festive traditions.

Share the love, spread the sweetness, and may each slice be a reminder of the wonderful connections we've made.

From the virtual poll to the real-world creation, thank you for being a part of my Cake & Patisserie adventures. Wishing you a season filled with warmth, laughter, and the sweet delights that make the holidays truly special. Until my next poll and creation – Merry Christmas and Happy Baking!

As always, make sure to tag me on Socials @zazamarcelle if you make this recipe at home as I will be so thrilled to share your work with my cake comminity!

With love,

Zaza Xx

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