Chocolate vanilla cake with two cocoa layers, a soft vanilla sponge, vanilla buttercream and double chocolate topping – this is the Romanian cake Televizor.
CHOCOLATE VANILLA CAKE
So, a cake named Televizor or television set, a bit unusual I would say. It was the main reason why this cake stayed in my mind after seeing it somewhere online.
I was wondering why this name and then I thought it should have something to do with the look of the cake. Old television sets from the seventies and eighties, I grew up with one of those myself, it was only in the early nineties that we got our first “modern” TV set.
The old one used to be a huge square black box with a large thick screen and some buttons on the right side of the screen. I can still remember the sound of those buttons when we turned on the TV or adjusted the sound.
No need for changing the channel though, there was only one channel in the 80s, which would transmit only 2 or 3 hours in the evening and a bit more on the weekend, if I remember correctly. Those were the times... 🙂 Lots of time to read and no binge Game of Thrones sessions...
Apparently this chocolate vanilla cake is an old famous Romanian cakes as well. I have to admit that this cake is the only one in this series featuring well-known Romanian cakes recipes like the Meringue Brownies – Negrese or the Romanian Biscuit Salami – Salam de biscuiti that I didn't know before.
I only realized that it is so popular because I kept stumbling upon one recipe or another on almost each and every Romanian blog I follow...
And in one conversation I had with my aunt about the Romanian Lemon Cake - Lamaita, she mentioned the layered vanilla chocolate cake without me even asking about it, she said she makes it quite often herself.
So I got the recipe and made this cake as well. So glad I did, we really loved it all of us and I must say that this is a particularly well suited cake for the children. I was not able to impress my kids much with the Romanian Chocolate Cake Boema, which contains just too much dark chocolate for a child's taste, but these soft layers of sponge and vanilla cream were definitely a hit.
What I recommend is to make the cake one day in advance and let it develop the texture and flavors until the next day. The moisture of the vanilla buttercream will then have time to penetrate all those different cake layers making the vanilla chocolate layer cake even better than it already is.
The recipe for this cake might seem a bit long, but please don't worry and give it a try if you like the way it looks, although it has a few different steps, they are all so easy, you will have no problem making the chocolate vanilla cake.
TIPS FOR MAKING CHOCOLATE VANILLA CAKE
- Tip number 1 and the most important one as well: use a digital kitchen scale.
- I would not even attempt making this chocolate vanilla cake using cups, there is too much you have to measure, the cake is not the simplest one there is and you are bound to get something wrong when using cups so much and for so many steps.
- Follow the indicated steps and work methodically one step after another.
- Don't start on two things simultaneously, finish one thing before you begin another. It will save you the stress.
- Start with the buttercream and the ganache as they will need time to cool and rest overnight.
This Romanian or German style buttercream tastes different than American buttercream, in my opinion much better as it is less sweet, creamier and milder. However, tastes are different. American buttercream is not suitable for this cake, it would be too sweet and too much of it.
When making the buttercream, it helps using a stand mixer. The results are not better (using a hand held mixer makes the buttercream just as good), but there is a lot of mixing involved, so a stand mixer is just easier.
How to prevent buttercream from breaking?
The only drawback of the German/Romanian buttercream is that it can curdle/break. But there are a few things that can help against that:
- Use unsalted butter.
- It is best to use European style butter as it has less water in it.
- Make sure that both the pudding and the butter have the same temperature, that is room temperature.
- To achieve that leave the pudding cool overnight and make sure you take the butter out of the fridge several hours before starting with the buttercream.
- Beat the butter thoroughly before you start incorporating the pudding. The butter should be white and fluffy, beat it for at least 3-4 minutes.
- Incorporate the pudding into the butter one tablespoon at a time, making sure that the buttercream is well mixed before adding the next portion.
- Never taste the buttercream while you mix the butter with the pudding. The spit on your fingers or spoon will cause the buttercream to curdle.
How to fix broken buttercream?
If the buttercream still curdles/breaks, don't despair, there is a way to fix that.
- Place the bowl with the buttercream on a pot filled with water, but make sure that the water doesn't touch the buttercream bowl (bain marie).
- Heat gently (making sure that the water doesn't come to a boil) while whisking continuously until the buttercream is smooth again.
- The chocolate ganache needs to be made in advance as well, as it will need time to cool and set.
- It will be very liquid at the beginning, but not anymore the next day.
- Place a piece of cling film/plastic wrap directly over the surface of the ganache and of the pudding, this way their tops will remain smooth and not form a skin.
Baking the cake layers:
- Choose a baking dish of about 23x33 cm/ 9x13 inches and cut 3 sheets of baking paper.
- You will only need the baking dish for baking the sponge, but the cocoa layers have to be rolled the same size of this pan, so that everything is even in the end.
PIN IT FOR LATER!
MORE CHALLENGING CAKES?
Triple Chocolate Cake with Ganache - Cake Boema
Romanian Harlequin Cake- Cake Arlechin
Vanilla Buttercream Cake- Cake Tosca
Yeast Cake with Jam - Cake Greta Garbo
Layered Chocolate Vanilla Cake
- Vanilla buttercream:
- 30 g/ 1 oz/ ¼ cup cornstarch
- 35 g/ 1.2 oz/ ⅓ cup all-purpose flour
- 500 ml/ 17 fl.oz/ 2 cups full-fat milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract to taste
- 125 g/ 4.4 oz/ ½ cup butter very soft
- 100 g/ 3.5 oz/ 1 cup icing sugar
- Ganache topping:
- 250 ml/ 8.4 fl.oz/ 1 cup heavy/double cream
- 125 g/ 4.4 oz milk chocolate
- chocolate flakes to sprinkle over the cake
- Cocoa layers:
- 125 g/ 4.4 oz/ 1 ¼ cups icing sugar
- 100 g/ 3.5 oz/ ⅓ cup + 1 tablespoon unsalted butter soft
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 tablespoon runny honey
- 1 egg See note
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 20 g/ 0.7 oz/ scant ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 250 g/ 8.8 oz/ 2 cups + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- Vanilla sponge:
- 3 eggs separated
- 100 g/ 3.5 oz/ ½ cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons lukewarm water
- 100 g/ 3.5 oz/ ¾ cup + 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- pinch of salt
- I recommend using a kitchen scale to make this cake, cup measuring is too imprecise and might cause problems.
Start with the topping and the pudding for the buttercream, they should have enough time to cool.
- For the pudding mix the flour and the cornstarch with a small amount of the measured milk, enough to obtain a thick yet pourable paste. Whisk well to avoid clumps.
- Heat the rest of the milk until it comes to a boil. Add the flour-cornstarch mixture while whisking all the time and keep whisking vigorously until the mixture thickens, it will only take moments.
- Remove from the heat, stir in vanilla extract to taste (the pudding is not sweetened yet, so don't get a shock, the sugar comes in with the butter), and place a piece of cling film directly on top of the pudding.
- Let get cool at room temperature, it will take several hours, so I prefer to make the pudding and the ganache one day in advance.
- Chop the chocolate very finely or process it in the food processor, place it in a bowl.
- Heat the cream in a small pot.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes. Stir well until the chocolate is melted and shiny. Cover with cling film, let cool, and place in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
Cocoa dough layers:
- Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius/ 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Choose a baking dish of about 23x33 cm/ 9x13 inches and cut 3 sheets of parchment paper. You will only need the baking dish for baking the sponge, but the cocoa layers have to be rolled the same size as this pan.
- Place the icing sugar, soft butter, milk, honey, eggs, vanilla extract, cocoa, flour, and baking powder in the food processor and process shortly until well mixed.
- Place one sheet of parchment paper on the working surface and place half of the cocoa dough on it. Press the dough to a rough rectangle with your hands, cover it with another sheet of parchment paper and roll it to a rectangle of the same size as the tin you will be using to bake the sponge.
- Remove the upper parchment paper and transfer the dough together with its lower parchment paper sheet onto a baking tray. Bake for about 10-12 minutes.
- In the meantime roll the second half of the cocoa dough just as explained before and bake as well. Let cool.
- While the second cocoa layer bakes, prepare the sponge mixture.
- Lightly butter the rectangular baking dish you chose before and line it with parchment paper.
- Separate the eggs. Beat the egg whites until stiff, slowly add the sugar and continue beating until the egg whites are stiff and glossy. In another bowl mix the egg yolks and the warm water. Carefully incorporate into the egg whites.
- In another bowl mix together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Sift over the egg mixture and incorporate it carefully with a plastic spatula.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and bake in the preheated oven for about 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- Read the tips above before making the buttercream.
- To make the buttercream start by beating the soft butter until white and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
- Add the icing sugar and continue beating until fluffy.
- Slowly start adding the pudding, one tablespoon at a time while beating all the time. Only add the next tablespoon of pudding to the buttercream when the previous one has been fully incorporated.
- Remove the ganache from the refrigerator about 30-60 minutes in advance. Beat the ganache until fluffy, taste, and add a bit of icing sugar if you feel it necessary (I didn't).
Assemble the cake:
- Place one cocoa layer on a suitable rectangular serving dish.
- Spread half of the vanilla buttercream on top and level nicely.
- Place the sponge on top and cover it with the remaining vanilla buttercream.
- Place the second cocoa layer on top and press lightly.
- Spread the ganache on top and sprinkle the cake with the chocolate flakes.
- Cover carefully with some aluminum foil without ruining the topping and place in the fridge for at least 4-5 hours or better overnight.
- Cut into small squares and serve.