On Saturday morning, I looked at my counter, where you can find: a tin of holiday treats and a bag of chocolates from my friends, a tin of Chocolate Chip Cookies (from The Baking Bible), not one, but TWO gingerbread houses, leftover candy from decorating gingerbread houses, and two boxes of handmade truffles. In the freezer, there are still two pieces of frozen pecan pie, and the fridge had a couple of pieces of fruitcake and a couple of pieces of cheesecake. So, what’s a girl to do, when she’s participating in a bake-through with friends from all over the world? Bake anyway, and plan on taking the bulk of it to work. So, that’s what I did/will do tomorrow.
…I just want to know where this cake gets its name.
I didn’t find any one part of this cake particularly challenging, and because I split it up over two days, I almost felt like it belonged in the quick & easy category. First, you make a chocolate chiffon cake, which basically means you’ve got an egg-yolk based batter that a meringue is folded into.
The chocolate, flour mixture, egg yolks and vanilla get beaten together until thick & light in colour.
You can sort of see how much the batter lightened after beating for 1.5 minutes, where it’s much darker on the spatula than in the bowl.
After beating egg whites into a meringue with a bit of sugar, you fold the meringue into the chocolate mixture. I use the big wire whisk from the stand mixer for this. It’s the biggest whisk I’ve got. 🙂
The batter’s poured into a springform pan that has had the sides lined with parchment, then the whole thing wrapped in cake strips, and a flower nail inserted upside-down into the center. The flower nail helps with heat distribution. I thought I knew exactly where my flower nail was, when I started baking, and I went to grab it before putting the cake in the oven, and discovered that it wasn’t where I thought it should be. Commence panic, removing all of my cake decorating supplies from every cupboard and drawer. My husband happened to come in from the workshop at this point and tried to help, but (my fault completely) only succeeded in making me more impatient and flustered. I gave up, threw the cake into the oven, and started trying to clean up the mess. Cleaning up the mess involved reorganizing some of what I’d pulled out of the cupboards, including my tin of cookie cutters. Guess where the flower nail was? Fortunately, the cake had only been in for about 5 minutes at this point, and on top of that, it turned out I’d forgotten to set the timer, so I pulled it and stuck the nail in, and set the timer. It hadn’t appeared to have started to set yet. Whew.
You can kind of see the nail in the middle of the glass bottom of my springform pan, here. The cake baked up beautifully and came out of the pan at the appropriate time with no drama, so yay! I made the ganache Saturday evening, and left it with the cake on the counter overnight. I think the kitchen in my 100+ year old house in Southern Ontario can safely be referred to as “cool room temperature.”
I started on the remaining component, caramel whipped cream, this morning, when it looked and sounded like the roads were icy enough that I wasn’t going anywhere today.
I love my Rose Caramel pot, which I picked up at Golda’s Kitchen a couple of years ago. We’re planning on a visit there next Sunday, so I can pick up Panettone baking molds, and we can also stop at Busy Bee Tools, which is conveniently located directly across the parking lot. We both get to shop when we make a trip to that part of Mississauga!
After the sugar mixture reached 369 Fahrenheit, I took it off the heat and added the hot cream. Mix in the butter, then mix up some cream with some cocoa, and mix that in, too. Now you’ve got chocolate caramel. Mmm..
Since that wasn’t nearly enough cream, we’re going to add that to softly whipped cream, along with some more cream, and gelatin. 🙂
Now, we’ve got our cast of characters fully dressed and ready for the show.
Having taken advantage of a sneak preview from several of my baking buddies, I decided to split the cake in half, and fill the center with some of the whipped cream. I had no trouble at all with this, and it seems to have held up well, so far.
Since I’m not nearly adept enough at spreading ganache with an offset spatula, I piped the border around the top instead of trying to encourage it up above the sides by hand.
This makes a perfect cavity to fill with the caramel whipped cream… and voila!
Jay and I each had a small piece tonight. I think the best part was the caramel whipped cream. The ganache is nice and chocolatey and dark, which is perfect for me. I think my cake was a little dry, because I may have left it out bit too long yesterday afternoon, before I remembered it and covered it. That, or my drama with the flower nail and forgetting the timer resulted in a minor over-baking. Still, a delicious cake, with a great combination of flavours, and relatively straightforward. I think it would go nicely with a glass of milk, too!
I’m feeling a bit of sugar overload right now, and I haven’t been to the gym since last Monday, so I’m going to pawn the rest off on co-workers. 🙂 Hopefully they’re not all sugared out, too!