The cake was made famous in the show “The Bear The Bear, the multi-layered chocolate cake has been a source of admiration with fans seeking to replicate the recipe or find the cake for themselves. In the show, Bear, the chocolate cake was created by an aspiring pastry chef Marcus (portrayed by Lionel Boyce), but in reality it’s the work of the show’s pastry advisor Sarah Mispagel-Lustbader. As co-owner at Chicago’s Loaf Lounge, Mispagel Lustbader discussed this recipes (and the story of the process of developing it) in the very first interview on Food & Wine.
Although it was made famous by the show it is a standout by itself and has won over our recipe editors and testers thanks to its moist chocolaty mousse, chocolate-forward frosting and soft layers of moist and chewy chocolate cake.
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Our reviewers have noted in whipping the egg whites it is important to clean the mixing bowl as well as a whisk attachment that is free of any residue so that stiff peaks form. This recipe is comprised of several parts and all three ingredients are able to be prepared ahead of time and then assembled on the day of your event or gathering.
- 8 ounces 64% cacao dark chocolate (such as Valrhona Tainori 64%), finely chopped (about 1 1/3 cups plus 4 teaspoons)
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 10 large egg yolks, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
- 4 large egg whites, at room temperature
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- Baking spray containing flour
- 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 10 5/8 ounces)
- 1 1/4 cups unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (such as Valrhona) (about 4 3/8 ounces)
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 3 cups granulated sugar
- 1 1/4 cups brewed coffee, at room temperature
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter (6 ounces), melted
- 1 1/2 cups creme fraiche (about 12 ounces), at room temperature
- 6 cups powdered sugar (about 24 ounces)
- 1 1/2 cups unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder (such as Valrhona) (about 4 7/8 ounces)
- 2 1/4 cups unsalted butter (18 ounces), softened
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Create the chocolate mousse
- Make 1″ of the water boil in a small saucepan on medium-low. Set a medium-sized heatproof bowl over the pan. Add the chopped butter and chocolate. (Make sure the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the water.) Stir frequently and cook, adjust heat if needed to keep it at a simmer until the mixture is smooth, about 3 or 5 minutes. Remove the chocolate mixture from the heat and let it cool, covered in a cool, dry place until comfortable to touch. around 10 minutes. Reduce heat to a low setting and keep the water in the saucepan at a low temperature.
- While whisking, combine egg yolks with 2 tablespoons granulated sugar in the bowl in a mixer. Set bowl in a boiling water in a saucepan and whisk continuously until the mixture registers 160degF on the thermometer that reads instantaneously. Remove the bowl from the heat and move it to the stand mixer equipped with a whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high until the mixture becomes very pale yellow dense and fluffy around 3 minutes. Mix egg yolks into the chocolate mixture that has cooled.
- In a clean bowl or stand mixer with whisk attachment beat egg whites at medium-high until they become foamy around 15 minutes. Gradually add 2 tablespoons sugar granulated in a steady, slow stream, beating at medium-high rate until stiff, whipped peaks appear about 1 to 2 minutes. Utilizing either an electric or a whisk beat cream in a separate bowl until medium peaks are formed.
- Combine egg whites and chocolate mixture in three batches. Add whipped cream slowly until the mixture is incorporated and there are no white or dark streaks remain. Cover and chill for at least 8 hours or for up to 24 hours.
Create the cake layers
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray three round cake pans of 9 inches with baking spray and Line the bottoms of the pans with parchment. Lightly apply baking spray to parchment.
- Sift cocoa, flour baking soda, flour and baking powder in an enormous bowl. Whisk in salt until thoroughly combined. Set aside. Beat eggs using a stand mixer equipped with a whisk attachment, at medium-high speed until they are light and foamy approximately 2 minutes. Gradually add sugar granulated; beat on medium speed until extremely fluffy and pale, approximately 5 minutes, scraping the sides of bowl if needed. (Mixture should drop off whisk attachment in ribbons, and remain suspended for a short time on the top of the bowl before disappearing into batter.) When mixer is running at a slow speed, mix in the flour mixture in three additions, alternately with the coffee and the melted butter starting and concluding with the flour mixture. Mix until it is nearly complete stopping to scrape down sides of bowl when required. Add crème fraiche; mix at a slow speed until combined, approximately 30 seconds. Fold in by hand towards the end, as you need to. (Batter may appear slightly damaged but it will bake perfectly.)
- Divide batter equally between prepared baking dishes (about 3 cups each pan) and tap the baking pans several times on the work surface to distribute batter evenly and remove the air-bubbles. Bake in the preheated oven until a wooden toothpick stuck into the cake’s center is clean, between 25 and 30 minutes. Cake layers should cool in pans of baking on wire racks for 10 minutes; take cakes out of baking pans and allow to them cool to room temperature, with parchment sides up and on racks for 1 hour 30 minutes up to 2 hours.
Create the frosting
- Sift powdered sugar with cocoa in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside. Beat butter using an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment at medium speed until smooth approximately 2 minutes. Gradually add the powdered sugar mixture beating at low speed until it is combined for about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of bowl as required. The mixer should be turned up to medium, and continue beating until the mixture is fluffy, between 2 and 3 minutes. Gradually add vanilla and cream beating on low until well-combined and stopping to scrape the edges of the bowl as required. Pour 1 cup of icing into an piping bag or a ziplock plastic bag. Cut an inch to 1/2-to- 3/4-inch hole into the corner. The remaining icing should be left in the bowl.
Put the cake together
- Cut cakes into flat pieces by using a cake leveler, or a serrated knife, if required remove paper. Set one layer of cake on cake plate or round. Make a half-inch-high border of icing on the edge of the one cake layer. Spread half of the mousse chocolate (about two cups) into the center of cake and spread evenly across the border with an offset spatula. Layer on the another cake layer, cut side down, and repeat with the remaining chocolate mousse. Layer on the third cake layer and cut side down. Spread remaining icing on the sides and top of the cake. Set until it is set, around 15 minutes.