Beau Canada

Buckwheat Chocolate Cake

Yup, you’ve probably heard (or should I say seen) our drool-worthy nouveau prime minister Justin Trudeau. Or, perhaps more fittingly, Justin Tru’beau‘. Yes, yes, we all sort of saw it coming that the Liberals would take the biggest bite of the cake, yet few of us anticipated that our PM-designate, despite working up an appetite with all that hiking up the Grind, canoeing in papa T’s wake, and boxing – yes boxing, would scoop up the bigger half of our maple tea cake.

The navy-clad Tories took their best grab at the cake, mostly by pointing out that there’s hair in the cake, and that it’s underbaked and just not ready. It’s like that old fable, with the fox telling everyone that the grapes were sour, so that nobody would want to split with him. But I guess it backfired a little, and the only ones who were ‘just not ready’ were the voters to hear those three words one more time. Nice pitch, blue.

Then there’s the Tropicana-washed NDP, which sort of got washed southward, way down to…the tropics. Sayonara.

Well, now that Canada’s been all carved up, next is to see how JT’s gonna put it back together. And as we kick back and watch the next inning begin, let’s tone down the cynicism (and please, please somebahdy stahp the fangurrling) and have hope that the Canadian flag turns a brilliant red again.

Let every person be subject

to the governing authorities.

For there is no authority except

from God,

and those that exist have been instituted

by God.

Romans 13:1

Buckwheat Chocolate Cake with Chestnut Buttercream, Beurre Brulee, and Salted Pecans
Buckwheat Chocolate Cake with Chestnut Buttercream, Beurre Brulee, and Salted Pecans

This chocolate cake – tall, straight, and handsome – is everything a respectable cake should be. Tall, so that there’s room for substance and layers. Straight, so there’s a refined edge to the icing. And handsome, because otherwise it would be loathsome. I used 100% dark buckwheat flour for this cake so all you GF folks, this is for you, no adaptations or substitutions required. As for the taste, the cake is dense, but airy in texture. It is extremely dark, almost black, and tastes just as dark. The buttercream is a little earthy and faintly nutty from the chestnuts, and the beurre brulee carries the essence of caramel in its entirety. Then there’s the salted fivespice pecans, sort of the bacon of on top of the cake.

Buckwheat Chocolate Sponge:

  • 2 cups dark buckwheat flour
  • 1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup very strong hot coffee
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line two 9-in. cake pans with parchment.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar, adding the eggs one at a time until the mixture is very pale and smooth.
  3. In another bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add 1/3 of this mixture into the butter mixture and mix on low speed while streaming in the buttermilk.
  4. Once incorporated, add another 1/3 of the dry mixture and continue mixing on low speed, streaming in the hot coffee.
  5. Finally, add the remaining dry mixture and mix on low just until incorporated, then beat on the highest speed (without sending batter to your ceiling) for 15 seconds to finish.
  6. Divide the batter between the pans as evenly as possible, and draw a spiral outward from the center of each pan through the batter – this ensure the cake rises evenly.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven for 35-45 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean with moist crumbs.
  8. Cool completely, then chill until ready to use.

Beurre Brulee:

  • 420 g granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp light corn syrup
  • water, as needed
  • 210 g egg whites
  • 30 g granulated sugar
  • 454 g salted butter, softened and cubed
  1. In a heavy-bottomed sauce pan, mix the sugar and corn syrup with a few teaspoons of water to form a wet sand consistency.
  2. Brush the sides of the pan with water to rinse off any sugars that might burn.
  3. Bring to a boil and continue until the mixture caramelizes and turns a deep amber color.
  4. Meanwhile, in a stand mixer, whip the egg whites to soft peaks, and while beatin, gradually trickle in the caramel syrup.
  5. Once cooled to the same temperature as the butter (at room temperature), beat in the butter until smooth. Cover and set aside.

Chestnut Buttercream:

  • 50 ml medium maple syrup
  • 2/3 c whole milk, at room temperature
  • 1 c chestnut puree
  • 3/4 c softened butter
  • pinch of salt
  1. Using a stand mixer, cream together the chestnut puree, butter, maple syrup, and salt until completely smooth.
  2. Stream in the milk, a little at a time, beating well and scraping the bowl until the liquid is fully emulsified with the fat before adding more. Keep at room temperature.

Five Spice Salted Pecans

  • 1/2 tsp five spice
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/2 c pecans, crumbled
  1. Toast all ingredients in a heavy-bottomed pan, stirring constantly, until the sugar disappears and the nuts are fragrant.
  2. Cool completely.

To Assemble the Cake:

  1. Run a knife along the side of the cake pans to release the cakes. Turn them out onto a board, flip them right-side-up and slice off the domes with a sharp knife. Reserve the scraps for garnish.
  2. Place one cake layer on your cake stand, cut side down. Spread the top generously with the beurre brulee using an offset spatula. Sprinkle with half of the pecan crumble.
  3. Cover with the remaining cake layer, again with the cut side facing down. This time, spread the chestnut buttercream over the top and the sides. To create the ‘naked’ effect, start with a generous amount of buttercream to cover the entire cake, then start trimming away the excess from the sides until you see the cake layers. Leave a thick layer of icing on top though, just take the time to smooth it out.
  4. Garnish with the torn up cake scraps, using more beurre brulee as your ‘glue’, sprinkle with the remaining pecans, and dot with more beurre brulee as desired.

And there you have it! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did, and don’t forget to let me know how it goes! Just a quick note, the cake keeps well in the fridge, just warm individual slices up in the microwave for 12 seconds to soften all that frosting before you dig in with your fork and cuppa joe.

2 thoughts on “Beau Canada

  1. haha even down here in Australia we have heard about your new Prime Minister! And this cake looks epic- absolutely stunning frosting and I love the idea of chestnut buttercream with spiced salted pecans – so perfect for autumn.
    Claudia🙂

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