A favorite neighborhood treat is the Princess Cake from Crumbs Bakery. I did my best to recreate it.
Best Ever Chocolate Cake (via www.kraftfoods.com)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease two 9-inch round baking pans. Chop 2 of the chocolate squares; set aside. Beat cake mix, dry pudding mix, eggs, sour cream, oil and water in large bowl with electric mixer on low speed just until moistened. Beat on medium speed 2 min. Stir in chopped chocolate. Spoon into prepared pans.
Bake 30 to 35 min. or until wooden toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks 10 min. Loosen cakes from sides of pans. Invert onto racks; gently remove pans. Cool cakes completely.
This is where I change the recipe. Make chocolate mousse using the recipe below. Chill in refrigerator for at least an hour.
Place frozen whipped topping and remaining 6 chocolate squares in microwaveable bowl. Microwave on HIGH 1-1/2 min. or until chocolate is completely melted and mixture is smooth, stirring after 1 min. Let stand 15 min. to thicken. (First of all, the whole cool whip thing scared me because I think the stuff is gross. The frosting actually turns out to be quite good - a ganache-type consistancy. Second, I don't have a microwave, but a double boiler works just as well).
Place one cake layer on serving plate; top with chocolate mousse and second cake layer. Spread top and side with chocolate frosting.
Chocolate Mousse (via Alton Brown, Food Network)
1 3/4 cups whipping cream
12 ounces quality semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 ounces espresso or strong coffee
1 tablespoon dark rum
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon flavorless, granulated gelatinChill 1 1/2 cups whipping cream in refrigerator. Chill metal mixing bowl and mixer beaters in freezer.
In top of a double boiler, combine chocolate chips, coffee, rum and butter. Melt over barely simmering water, stirring constantly. Remove from heat while a couple of chunks are still visible. Cool, stirring occasionally to just above body temperature.
Pour remaining 1/4 cup whipping cream into a metal measuring cup and sprinkle in the gelatin. Allow gelatin to "bloom" for 10 minutes. Then carefully heat by swirling the measuring cup over a low gas flame or candle. Do not boil or gelatin will be damaged. Stir mixture into the cooled chocolate and set aside.
In the chilled mixing bowl, beat cream to medium peaks. Stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whipped cream in two doses. There may be streaks of whipped cream in the chocolate and that is fine. Do not over work the mousse.