Maitake aka, Hen-of-the-Woods contains L-glutamate, a natural flavor-enhancer that provides umami — the “fifth taste” — the savory rich flavor that excites receptor-specific nodes on our tongue. Moreover, Maitake is one of the healthiest foods around! The Earthlyness of this mushoroom is a perfect pairing with chocolate!
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for the pans
3/4 cup good quality Dutch processed cocoa, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup whole milk
1/2 cup neutral-tasting cooking oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup boiling coffee
Good quality cooking spray
Maitake Mushroom Frosting ( See recipe below)
Preheat the oven to 350°F degrees, spray and flour three 8-inch round baking pans, tapping out any excess flour. Place on a lined sheet pan and set aside.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the granulated sugar, flour, cocoa, espresso, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl, crack and mix the eggs into a slight scramble and add to the dry ingredietns with the milk, oil, and vanillla beat the ingredients on medium speed for 2 minutes. Add the boiling coffee and continue to mix for an additional minute. The batter will appear thin. Pour the mixture into the prepared pans, dividing it evenly, about 2 cups or approximatly 16 ounces in each cake pan.
Bake the cakes on sheet pans for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean or the cake slightlybounces back to the touch. Cool in the pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Then invert the cakes onto the rack, remove the pans, turn the cakes right side up, and let them cool completely.
Make the Maitake Mushroom Frosting.
Maitake Mushroom Frosting
1 1/3 cups good quality Cocoa, sifted
3-4 cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted
1/2 cup whole milk or cream
8 ounces of unsalted butter
2 ounces of dried Maitake Mushrooms
In a small saucepan, heat the cream and the Maitake mushrooms until a simmer. Remove from heat and allow to steep for a minimum of an hour to over-night. Cool to room temperature. Strain and discard solids.
In the bowl of your standing mixer, beat the butter until velvety. Add the cocoa, and alternate between confectioners’ sugar and infused milk beating after each addition until you achieve a thick, but spreadable consistency. If a lighter frosting desired, add additional cream, a little at a time, until you’ve reached your ideal texture.
Place a single cake layer on a platter or cake stand and spread a good amount of frosting on top. Place the second cake layer on the first and frost the sides and top. Garnish with chocolate truffles or meringue mushrooms with candied pine and roasted, crushed almonds or hazelnuts or a combination.