This deconstructed take on devil’s food cake gets its name from a French dish where various components are layered in a glass (verre is the French word for glass). Here, those components are a dense chocolate cake, creamy chocolate mousse, a rich chocolate sauce, and a crunchy, salty cocoa nib streusel.
Sift the cake flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt onto a piece of parchment. In a small saucepan, combine the butter and the coffee over medium heat to melt the butter. Transfer to a medium bowl. Whisk in the buttermilk, egg, and yolk and then the flour mixture until incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Cool on a rack for 15 minutes. Invert onto the rack, remove the parchment, and cool completely.
In another medium bowl, whisk the yolks and the syrup over the water bath just until warm. Remove from the heat and whisk briefly to cool.
With an electric hand mixer on medium speed, whip the egg whites in a medium bowl until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes.
With the mixer on medium-high speed, whip the cream in another medium bowl until soft peaks form.
Whisk the yolk mixture into the melted chocolate. Whisk in a spoonful of the whipped cream. With a rubber spatula fold in the remaining whipped cream and then the egg whites. Refrigerate. (The mousse can be made up to 4 hours ahead.)
In a medium bowl, stir the flour and cocoa powder. With the mixer running on low speed, add the flour mixture in three increments, including the cocoa nibs and salt with the final addition. Mix until the dough comes together. (The dough can be refrigerated for a week or frozen for up to 2 months.)
Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment and press the dough into the pan in a 1/4-inch-thick layer.
Bake at 325°F for 8 minutes and then rake with a fork to break into medium clumps. Bake for 7 minutes more and rake again to create small pieces. The streusel will look sandy and will crisp as it cools. (The streusel can be made 1 day ahead.)
Make Ahead Tips
The cake can be baked 1 day ahead. The streusel dough can be refrigerated for a week, and baked up to 1 day ahead. The mousse can be made up to 4 hours ahead.
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Elegant, delicious, and very different from the usual chocolate cake.
AMAZING. Tasty, layered, and impressive. Fabulous for guests. Takes a while and a lot of ingredients, but if you make it over 2 days, it breaks it up a bit. The streusel is worth making for other uses as well: make sure you use sea salt in the streusel so you get the discrete salty hits from the large grains. A very elegant desert.
Delicious - but touting a recipes that serves TWELVE for Valentines Day????????????
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