Bruno's Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Cream
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eggs, separated, room temperature
unsalted butter, melted
amaretti (about 10 Italian macaroons, finely ground)
semisweet chocolate, melted
semi-sweet chocolate, melted
white chocolate, melted
unsweetened chocolate leaves
Butter and flour 3 9-inch round cake pans.
Beat yolks until they are pale yellow and form a ribbon when beaters are lifted, about 5 minutes.
Beat in rum and vanilla.
Beat whites with cream of tartar to soft peaks.
Add sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and continue beating until stiff and shiny.
Stir 12 ounces of semisweet chocolate and butter into yolks until well combined.
Gently fold in 1/4 of egg whites to lighten the batter, then gently fold in the remaining whites.
Sift together cornstarch and cocoa; combine with ground amaretti.
Gently fold into the batter.
Divide batter among prepared pans.
Bake until centers of cakes rise and tops begin to crack, 18 to 20 minutes.
Cool 10 minutes in pans, then cool completely on wire rack (cakes will fall slightly.)
For Chocolate Cream: Whisk together 4 ounces of semisweet chocolate and hot water; cool to room temperature.
Whip cream until nearly stiff.
Gently fold chocolate mixture and rum into whipped cream.
To Assemble: set aside 1/4 of the chocolate cream for decorating the top of the cake.
Spread remainder evenly between the 3 layers, stacking them neatly, then spread over the reserved cream over the top and sides.
Measure height of the cake.
On a sheet of parchment or waxed paper, spread 3 ounces melted semisweet chocolate into rectangle 1/16 inch thick and as wide as the cake is high.
Repeat with melted white chocolate on another sheet of parchment.
Refrigerate until chocolate is firm but not brittle, about 15 minutes.
Cut chocolate crosswise into 3/4-inch-wide strips.
Refrigerate to refirm chocolate, about 15 minutes.
Carefully arrange strips alternately around edges of cake, gently pressing into icing.
Spoon reserved chocolate cream into pastry bag fitted with a number 3 round tip.
Pipe mixture into straight lines atop the cake.
Dust lightly with cocoa; refrigerate.
Garnish with chocolate leaves. (For chocolate leaves, brush melted chocolate on undersides of holly or lemon leaves; refrigerate until firm, carefully peel off leaves.)
Bring to room temperature before serving.