Greek Sokolatina is a cake made either like a torte or in a big pan (like in this recipe). Which is then cut into portions and sold in individual pieces at Greek pastry shops that we call Pasta Sokolatina. It's made with layers of chocolate sponge cake (Pan-te-spa-ni), along with custard and whipping cream.
And would you believe it if I told you that this cake contains 0% chocolate? Yeap, that's right it's 100% cocoa!
If you are one of these people who enjoy a cold chocolate drink than you're going to love love love this cake! It tastes just like that milky-cocoa dense flavor. Only in this case, it's so much better! As you get to bite into very creamy goodness, that contains layers of very light cocoa cake, cocoa + milk custard, cocoa whipping cream, and a butter-cocoa-honey thick glaze on top. That is if you can handle that much cocoa!
The texture of this cake beats any other chocolate cake's texture by far. Imagine a very feathery, light, and refreshing cake. Soo airy and creamy. And that's due to the fact it does not contain a lot of fat to weigh it down. Like butter in the cake mixture or in the custard cream. Also, as I said, no chocolate to make the cream or cake base heavy.
Another thing you're going to love about this cake is that it's all made in one pan. And that my friends means two things...
- You get twice as many portions, on half the budget you would normally spend on a chocolate cake containing butter and chocolate.
- You needn't worry as much about decorating (my big headache and stress in cake making).
With this cake, all you have to do is assemble the cake right into the pan that helps keep it together until it sets. And then pour the super-easy cocoa glaze on top (which I bet you're going to use in other cakes as well once you see how easy and delicious it is) without having to worry about covering the cake evenly all over.
Then wait until the glazing cools and thickens (in the fridge). Then cut into portions, and with a piping bag add a whipped cream peak on each piece. Don't want to go into all the trouble of using a piping bag? Don't! Buy delicious mini chocolates like Ferrero Rocher balls, or even wafers, and add them on each piece!
Sokolatina - Chocolate Custard Cake
For The Cake Base:
- 8 eggs
- 250 grams / 8.8 oz sugar
- 100 grams / 3.5 oz unsweetened cocoa powder
- 150 grams / 5.3 oz all-purpose flour
For The Custard Cream:
- 2 liters milk
- 450 grams / 15.9 oz sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 150 grams / 5.3 oz cornstarch
- 70 grams / 2.4 oz unsweetened cocoa powder
For The Whipped Cream:
- 1 liter heavy whipping cream 35 % fat
- 4 tablespoons sugar
- 7 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder sifted
For The Cocoa Glaze:
- 240 grams / 8.4 oz butter
- 70 grams / 2.4 oz unsweetened cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoons honey
To Make The Cake Base (ideally, the day before or at least 8 hours before assembling the cake):
- Add the flour and cocoa to a mixing bowl, and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Preheat oven to 180°C / 356°F.
- Place the eggs in your electric mixer's bowl. With the whisk attachment on, start beating over medium-high speed. Start adding the sugar, by dusting one tablespoon at a time into the eggs. If you toss the sugar all in at once the eggs won't get as foamy as we want them to get.
- Once you've incorporated all of the sugar into the eggs, keep beating until they get whitish in color, very foamy, and thickened. It takes about 10 minutes overall for the eggs to get to that stage.
- Then turn off your mixer and using a pastry spatula and a flour sifter (I prefer using one of these as it's much easier) start incorporating the flour and cocoa mixture into the eggs. Add 1-2 tablespoons at a time into the sifter, dust them into the eggs. Then give a very gentle-overlapping stir with the pastry spatula, to help the flour mixture combine, without pressing the air out of the eggs. Keep doing this until all of the flour mixture gets combined with the eggs. The mixture should look like a chocolate mousse.
- Grease a 35 x 25 x 8 cm pan (15 x 10 x 3-inch) with a bit of vegetable oil all over, or cooking spray.
- Transfer the cake batter into the pan and spread gently with the pastry spatula.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Do not open the oven in the first 10 minutes because the cake will collapse. You may prick the cake with a knife to check if it's baked after the first 10-12 minutes of baking. If it comes out clean, remove it from the oven and let the cake rest at room temperature. NOTE: Since this is a very soft sponge cake, it is best to make this cake 1 day before using it. This way it is much easier to handle and work with. Otherwise, let the cake rest for at least 8 hours before assembling it with the cream.
To Make The Custard Cream (Either the day before or 2 hours before assembling the cake):
- Keep 500 ml out of the 2 liters of milk, into a mixing bowl and combine with the cornstarch and cocoa powder using a hand whisk.
- Add the remaining 1,5 liters of milk into a large cooking pot along with the sugar and vanilla extract. Heat this mixture over medium-high heat. Stir to help the sugar to dissolve.
- Once the milk gets to a steamy hot point (just before boiling) start pouring the milk-cocoa-cornstarch mixture into the milk while stirring constantly with a whisk. Keep stir occassionally until the cream starts to thicken. It takes about 1-2 minutes from the time you see bubbles forming on the surface of the cream.
- Remove from heat and transfer the cream into a large mixing bowl. Take a piece of plastic wrap and press it on the cream in order to cover it. This will prevent skin from forming on the surface of the cream. Let the cream cool down for at least 2 hours at room temperature.
- NOTE: If you are making the cream the day before then let it cool completely at room temperature and then refrigerate. When it's time to assemble the cake, take the cream out of the fridge and work it either with a hand whisk or electric mixer over low speed for a few minutes. Because the cream will thicken when refrigerated, this will help make it smooth and creamy again, so you can easily spread it on the cake.
Make The Whipping Cream (10 minutes before assembling the cake):
- Pour the heavy whipping cream in your electric mixer's bowl and with the whisk attachment on, start beating first on low speed and gradually raise to medium speed. Slowly add the sugar 1 tablespoon at a time. Once the cream starts to get a bit thicker start adding the cocoa in bits at a time. Once the cream gets really thick to the point you see traces of the whisk on the surface of the cream, turn the mixer off and place the bowl in the fridge while you start assembling the cake.
To Assemble The Cake:
- Turn the cake pan on your kitchen counter or working surface and pat a bit if needed for the cake to come out of the pan.
- With a large chef's knife or a cake knife, slice the cake in half.
- Take the first piece and place it back in the pan. Spread almost ⅔ of the custard cream evenly all over. Then cover with the remaining half of the cake. Press it lightly to stick together.
- Spread the remaining custard cream all over. Then take the whipping cream out of the fridge and spread ⅔ of it over the custard cream. Smooth the surface with a spoon or icing spatula. Save the remaining whipping cream in the fridge to decorate on top.
To Make The Glaze:
- In a saucepan add the butter and cocoa. Heat over low heat and stir until the butter has melted. Remove from heat and stir in the honey. Wait for 2 minutes for the mixture to become warm (not too hot) and then pour all over the cake. Spread carefully with a spoon wherever needed.
- Refrigerate the cake for about 1 hour for the glaze to set. Then cut and divide into 20 square pieces. Add the remaining whipping cream into a piping bag and decorate each piece on top. Ready to serve!
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