Move over Brooklyn Blackout Cake, you have a rival contender! Brooklyn Egg Cream Cake is a cake version of the classic old school egg cream. The levity found in the foamy soda fountain drink is replicated with an angelic chocolate chiffon, light mousse, and smooth chocolate sour cream frosting.
I did not grow up with childhood memories of cooking or baking. Recipes and fondness around food were something foreign. When I hear people speak of their relatives with food-filled memories, I ponder and wonder who at Hallmark or Lifetime created such sappy scenarios.
I do not have family treasures or heirlooms. Yet back in 2011, I sat down with my grandfather and he gave me an heirloom, a recipe. We had no deep connection. I was one of three granddaughters and one grandson, I wasn’t a boy nor was I close, so nothing ever blossomed into a relationship.
But I spent two weeks in the sultry Florid heat, driving him and my grandmother around, cleaning their apartment, and cooking. The day of my departure, we sat at the kitchen table doing nothing in particular except waiting for time to lapse. We both knew, but never spoke of the reality.We’d never see each other again, he was dying and we knew it. To filled the underlying reality, we spoke awkwardly about a neutral topic: food. It was there that he wrote down my first family recipe—a Brooklyn Egg Cream.
I think everyone is afraid of death. What do we leave behind, do we even have an impact? It’s frightening and immensely depressing to think back of all of the stupid crap we wasted time over.
I know my grandfather got the short end of the stick in life. He was 17 when he enlisted in the navy and was a runner for the Normandy landing. Whatever opportunity the GI bill offered, he declined. I don’t think he was able to process much of anything after the war, it’s like going through the motions of life.
What I do know is that he’d be proud of this cake. An avid sweet addict, he’d come home from his letter carrier postal route to eat jelly beans and frosted flakes covered in sugar.
The Brooklyn Egg Cream Cake is light and dissolves in the mouth. Texture is the key to recreate the carbonated levity that you find in an egg cream. A chiffon cake, a mousse, and a whipped frosting make for an airy taste.
Material items—like this Egg Cream recipe—will outlive their creators. Similar to old cars and rambling ranch houses owned by the same couple who built it in the 1950s, recipes act as a timewarp. You cannot rewind time, but you can certainly reignite a memory. This Brooklyn Egg Cream Cake recreates a dormant feeling, straight out of an era we love to remember, but never remember correctly.
- For the Fluffy Chocolate Chiffon:
- ¾ cup boiling water
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
- 1 ¾ cup cake flour
- 1 ¾ cup granulated sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup oil
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
- 8 large eggs, separated
- ½ teaspoon cream of tartar
- For the Chocolate Mousse Filling:
- 2-4 ounce unsweetened chocolate bars, coarsely chopped
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 4 large egg whites
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1 ½ cups heavy cream
- For the Mocha Buttercream:
- 2 tablespoons heavy cream
- 1 ½ teaspoons espresso powder
- 1 cup (2 sticks, 8 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, divided
- 11 to 12 cups powdered sugar
- ½ teaspoon fine salt
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ½ cup full-fat sour cream
- For assembling the Brooklyn Egg Cream Cake:
- ¼ cup chocolate syrup
- white jimmie sprinkles
- ½ cup yogurt covered malt balls
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease three 8-inch cake pans with baking spray, set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together boiling water, cocoa powder, and espresso, let it cool down so it’s barely warm to the touch.
- Add cake flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer.
- In another bowl whisk together oil, vanilla, and egg yolks. Add in the now cooled cocoa mixture, whisking to combine.
- Fit mixer with a paddle attachment and beat on low to combine dry ingredients, about 20 seconds. Slowly pour in the wet mixture, letting it combine for 10 seconds. Raise speed to medium and beat until combine and smooth about 30 seconds. Pour batter into another bowl.
- Add egg whites and cream of tartar to the now cleaned bowl of the stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip at a medium-high speed until medium, peaks form, about 4 to 5 minutes. The peaks should hold their shape, but still be smooth and ribbon-like, not dry.
- Add 1/3 of the egg whites to the chocolate batter, stirring the egg whites in, this will aerate the batter. Fold in the egg whites in 1/3rd, incorporating gently until no white streaks remain.
- Pour batter in prepared pans and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating halfway. The cake should start to pull away from the pan. Let cakes rest in pans for 10 minutes before inverting them onto a wire rack to cool completely.
- In a heat safe bowl, microwave chocolate and butter in 15 second intervals, stirring each time until melted and smooth, set aside.
- In the metal bowl of a stand mixer combine egg whites, sugar, and cream of tartar. Place bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. You do not want the water touching the bowl. Whisk ingredients together until the sugar dissolves, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment and whip on a high speed for 5 to 6 minutes until smooth, soft, and glossy peaks form. Fold egg whites into chocolate mixture, set aside.
- In the cleaned bowl of a stand mixer, whip heavy cream until stiff peaks form, fold whipped cream into chocolate-egg mixer. Refrigerate until ready to assemble.
- Warm up heavy cream in the microwave until hot to the touch about 30 to 50 seconds, add in espresso powder, and let cool.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat butter on a medium-high speed until butter is pale in color, and smooth, about 2 minutes. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl down.
- Whisk together cocoa powder, 7 cups powdered sugar, and salt in a bowl. In another bowl whisk together vanilla , sour cream, and the cooled espresso cream.
- With the mixer on low, slowly add the powdered sugar mixture alternately with the sour cream mixture, scrape the bowl and paddle add needed. Once combined, raise speed to medium-high and beat until silky, lump free, and pale in color, about 1 to 2 minutes. This frosting will be a little loose. Remove ¾ of the frosting and refrigerate until ready to assemble. With the remaining frosting add remaining powdered sugar, until the frosting has a medium thick consistency, this frosting will be for holding the filling in. refrigerate until assembly.
- Fill a pastry bag with the thicker Mocha Buttercream. Spread a bit of frosting onto a cake board. Secure first cake layer, pipe a ring of thick frosting around the perimeter of the cake. Spread a thin layer of Chocolate Syrup into the ring. Spoon in a layer of Chocolate Mousse. Repeat this process again and finally top with the third layer. Using an offset spatula, gently apply the less thick Mocha Buttercream to the top and sides of the cake, smoothing with a bench scraper. Apply White sprinkles to the sides and top of cake. Garnish with Malt Balls.