Dutch Chocolate Cake Gets Tarted Up


17 Sep Dutch Chocolate Cake Gets Tarted Up


It’s official. I’m a Bad Sister. Capital letters earned.

This post is a public apology to my sister Robin with the hopes that sincere groveling and pretty pictures illustrating the possible Make-Up Cake will help.

My blunder? I forgot my sister’s birthday. Totally and completely.

Now, forgetting a birthday is forgivable. But when the birthday girl calls you ON HER BIRTHDAY and you spend the entire time yakking about your recent trip and the cats? Well, that’s Bad Sister Bad.

And when she mentions that her husband is taking her out to dinner and you STILL don’t clue in? That’s IQ of a Kumquat Bad.

And when her birthday present — which you bought on the trip you are so busy recounting in great detail — is sitting on the coffee table right in front of you? That’s Call the Neurologist, You Need a Brain Scan Bad.

So, Robin, your Brain Damaged sister is sorry. Very, very sorry. When I eventually get your present to you, I will also bring your Belated Birthday Cake of Choice. On the outside it could look like this…


And the inside? Something like this…


I know it’s not pretty, but by time the liqueur and cream have worked their magic, the cake’s so drunk it staggers when you slice it.

Does this kind of culinary suck-up work for you? I hope so, because it’s all I’ve got.

For those outside the family, there are shots of a typical Christie Birthday Cake. While the variations are almost endless, each made-to-order version starts with the same simple Dutch chocolate cake. On its own the cake is pretty ordinary. If you want a great chocolate cake, there are better recipes out there. But this has the right texture to stand up to the booze. And once laced with liqueur and slathered with cream? This unassuming cake is elevated to the status of torte. (Okay technically a torte has little or no flour, but sometimes you need a fancier word than “cake”. “Gateau” would do…)

Hankering for Black Forest Torte? Just use Kirsch and cherries. Or does Gateau a l’Orange turn you on? Triple Sec, Cointreau, Grand Marnier or Sabre all work well with mandarin orange slices. Over the years we’ve gobbled peppermint, mocha, hazelnut and almond variations.

My favourite is Chocolate Raspberry, but if I ever find a ginger liqueur, I’ll give a candied ginger version a try.

What flavour would you pair with this? Or would it take more than a cake to make up for forgetting your birthday?


Dutch Chocolate Cake with a Christie Twist

Makes 2 9-inch round cakes. Recipe can be halved.

Printable recipe

Ingredients for cake

  • 4 squares unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 cup butter
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Ingredients for Torte

  • 2 cups whipping cream (more if you want to put cream on the sides)
  • 2 tbsp sugar (or to taste)
  • liqueur of choice
  • fruit, nuts or other matching flavour item of choice
  • semi-sweet chocolate, grated

Instructions for Cake

  1. Preheat oven to 350F.
  2. Grease and line two 9-inch round pans.
  3. Melt chocolate with butter.
  4. Add all ingredients together at once and beat until smooth.
  5. Pour batter into pans, making the cakes as even as possible. Push batter to the edges of the pan so the cake will remain relatively flat when it rises during baking.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean.

Instructions for Assembling the Torte

  1. Allow the cakes to cool thoroughly before handling them.
  2. Whip the cream.
  3. Slice the cakes in half horizontally.
  4. Place one layer of cake on the platter or stand you will be serving it on. Drizzle the layer of cake with liqueur.
  5. Spread with a layer of cream, dot with fruit/nuts/filling of choice and sprinkle with grated chocolate.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 with remaining layers of cake.
  7. If there is enough whipped cream left, use it to ice the sides. If not, you can present an open-sided cake. It is equally impressive.
  8. Cover and refrigerate a couple of hours (or overnight).

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No Comments
  • The Diva on a Diet
    Posted at 14:10h, 17 September Reply

    I'll pull up a seat next to you on the Bad Sister-in-Law Couch … I forgot my SIL's birthday this year. Make an extra appointment for me at that neurologist.

    On the other hand, a cake like this will surely mend all fences. It looks exquisite, Charmian!

    FYI, there is a ginger liqueur on the market called Domaine De Canton. I've had it mixed into various cocktails and its yummy.

  • The Diva on a Diet
    Posted at 14:10h, 17 September Reply

    I'll pull up a seat next to you on the Bad Sister-in-Law Couch … I forgot my SIL's birthday this year. Make an extra appointment for me at that neurologist.

    On the other hand, a cake like this will surely mend all fences. It looks exquisite, Charmian!

    FYI, there is a ginger liqueur on the market called Domaine De Canton. I've had it mixed into various cocktails and its yummy.

  • Babette
    Posted at 14:27h, 17 September Reply

    This cake qualifies you as good sister, good!

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 14:28h, 17 September Reply

    Diva, I'm sorry for your sister-in-law but welcome the company.

    And there's a ginger liqueur? Man! My dessert making has just been kicked to the next level — cheesecakes, creme brulee, trifles…

  • Divawrites
    Posted at 14:30h, 17 September Reply

    My husband pulled a "worse than forgetting completely" once. He wrote me an IOU in a birthday card. (audible groans). He had spent a bunch of money the week before on computer junk that was still sitting in the original boxes a year later, and we had previously agreed that we would give each other money for our birthdays that year to offset the cost of things purchased on Boxing Day. He wrote an IOU for pay day a few days later.
    He got a tongue lashing and the frosty shoulder.
    I got suck up Valentines' roses sent to work a couple of weeks later.
    He hasn't done it again.

    Oh and cake flavour? Dark chocolate and lemon are good. And Charmian's mocha ice cream will never be turned down, especially with the salted caramel sauce on top!

  • nicole
    Posted at 14:57h, 17 September Reply

    Canton ginger liqueur is delicious!
    and i wish i made a cake for my sister's bday every year (or her on mine).

    her bday is on new years eve though, so that never happens

  • Cheryl
    Posted at 15:11h, 17 September Reply

    I think Robin deserves the cake, AND the bottle of liquor you used to make it.

    And man, if I were your sister, I'd use every opportunity to remind you of your oversight. Like, "Sorry I crashed your car, Charmian, BUT AT LEAST I NEVER FORGOT YOUR BIRTHDAY!!!"

  • danamccauley
    Posted at 15:57h, 17 September Reply

    YOu might be a bad sister, but I have a bad husband. He's Dutch and yet I've never heard of this cake much less tasted it!

    His family adores Black Forest Cake and has it at every occasion. That always pleased me since I love it, too. In fact, it's my birthday cake of choice (shall I email you a few days before my birthday so that you can be prepared?)

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 16:00h, 17 September Reply

    Babette, thanks. I'm betting she wants an orange version, but it's a start…

    DivaWrites, okay you win. An IOU from a husband is worse. (Andrew, are you listening?) And I'm glad you liked the mocha ice cream.

    Nicole, I hate when birthdays get buried under big holidays. I hope you make your sister an unbirthday cake sometime. She might like the element of surprise.

    Cheryl, I'll keep this in mind come June when YOUR birthday comes around. I can only hope Robin is more forgiving…

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 16:04h, 17 September Reply

    Dana, don't blame Martin. I think I have confused he situation. The cake all on its own is Dutch chocolate cake.

    But it's no longer a Dutch chocolate cake by the time we're finished mucking things up with alcohol and fat.

    My apologies to you, Martin and the Dutch.

  • Roving Lemon
    Posted at 18:27h, 17 September Reply

    If you were my sister and you forgot my birthday and then made me this cake, I'd still love you. But I would give you a hard time about it at every possible opportunity for the next several years.

  • Cal Orey, Author-Intuitive
    Posted at 23:12h, 17 September Reply

    I swear we all think in waves…I had raspberries with dark chocolate chips…last night. Trying to detox (need a choco fix) and go back into chocolate fixings. Wish I could astroproject myself to your cake. (Just bought new cake pans so I'm on my way.)
    Great work!
    Author of The Healing Powers of Chocolate

  • Cindy Roberts
    Posted at 14:46h, 18 September Reply

    I love all of the chocolate combos you suggest. Lemon and ginger are very interesting ones. I just tried out the chocolate kirsch combo in my biscotti on my new chocolate blog. You're a terrific sister. Hand baking a cake for anyone is such a gift! You go sis.

  • Dina
    Posted at 22:05h, 20 September Reply

    looks delicious. i'd forgive you!

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 08:44h, 21 September Reply

    Cal, I often find a lot of cross over with food. Put those cake pans to good use!

    Dina, it seems chocolate puts everyone is a forgiving mood.

  • Christie's Corner
    Posted at 08:46h, 21 September Reply

    Yikes, missed Cindy. The biscotti sounds great. And you have a whole blog devoted to chocolate? Oh, you are my kind of person!!

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