Saturday, February 28, 2009

Daring Bakers Valentino

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

February’s challenge is a Flourless Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Valentino, inspired by Malaysia’s “most flamboyant food ambassador”, Chef Wan. Recipe comes from "Sweet Treats by Chef Wan."
Okay- now that I have the technicalities out of the way I can tell you that this was a super easy cake to make for a busy day! And also worth the effort (just follow directions exactly). I never would have thought that 3 little ingredients would produce such a tasty cake! I did only make 1/4 of the recipe as we are always watching our weight around here. I used a Nestle Dark Chocolatier bar that I had waiting in the drawer, and it made for a great taste. And I skipped the ice cream part and would top with a bourbon vanilla whipped cream.
I have been a proud member of Daring Bakers for a year now. This is such a awesome, talented, fun group and I have been encouraged to make things I would normally shy away from because they looked too difficult. You really don't need to be experienced to join- you will learn as you go- and you have the backup expertise of over 1000 bakers! Have a question? Just ask in in one of the forums and someone will soon be there to help you with the answer. For info about joining, stop by the Kitchen.
Visit our gracious hosts blogs - Wendy at A Charmed Life (Arizona) and Dharm at Dad - Baker and Chef (Malaysia)- for the entire recipe, including the ice cream. Visit more of the Daring Bakers blogroll for some fantastic looking cakes!

Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Blackberry Cake

At our previous house, we had planted a lot of fruit trees and berry bushes. I have to say, of all the fruit we had, by far the blackberries were the easiest to maintain. We had blackberries- both thorned and thornless varieties. The thorned bushes were slightly tart, but so evil to pick because of the thorns, I decided they were my husband's, so I wouldn't have to go near them. He liked them better anyway!
The thornless variety we had were sweeter and were much easier to pick. And for some reason the birds and the bees did not bother the blackberries like they did our other fruit.
The home we have now has pretty much all shade, so we do miss having our own fruit. So I haven't made this cake in awhile. But it is one of my husband's favorite cakes.
The icing seems to be an unusual choice given the cake, but the flavor it gives the spicy cake is just right!

West Virginia Blackberry Cake
2 C. sugar
1 C. softened butter
4 eggs
3 C. flour
1 t. each ground cloves, nutmeg, cinnamon
1 t. baking soda
1 t. baking powder
1 C. buttermilk
1 1/2 C. fresh blackberries
Cream sugar and butter until fluffy. Beat eggs and add to creamed mixture, beating well.
Combine flour, spices, baking soda and baking powder; whisk well. Add to creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, in three additions each, beating until smooth. Fold in berries.
Pour batter into three greased and floured, 8-inch-round layer pans. Bake at 350°F. for 30 minutes, or until the top springs back when gently touched. Remove from pans and cool on wire racks. Stack layers, filling and frosting with icing.

1 1/2 C. softened butter
1 1/2 lb. powdered sugar
2 t. vanilla
5 to 8 T. cold coffee

Combine ingredients and beat until smooth, adding coffee a little at a time to achieve a spreading consistency