Friday, April 2, 2010
Once upon a time, Wendy had a friend, M. that loves bunnies. She had her 18th birthday a few weeks ago in March. Although officially an adult, she still adores bunnies, but Wendy reckons that she loves chocolate more. So Wendy baked her a chocolate birthday cake...with a silly looking bunny piped on top. M. was happy with her belly full of chocolate cake and a devoured bunny. The End.
Sorry for the lame paragraph above. I am now neck deep into revision for final exams (well at least I should be - only 1 month left!), and my head is full of things to do with chemical reactions, biological processes and mathematical equations and surprisingly, not of cakes, cookies and desserts. Not even chocolate, let alone words and inspiration for blogging. As I tweeted a while ago, this "update-once-a-month" habit is not exactly healthy...I promise to make up for it during summer!
But I did bake a chocolate cake with raspberry filling for M.'s 18th, and it was delicious. The chocolate cake layers were not too heavy yet was full of chocolate flavour, and the tangy raspberry filling paired it really well by balancing the sweetness. The smooth and rich dark chocolate ganache frosting rounded each decadent slice of cake off perfectly.
The decoration is a little childish and haphazard...if I had the time I'd probably spend time experimenting with fondant and colours and mould a 3D fondant bunny on a bed of green grass and purple flowers, but the reality is that I had no time and resorted to piping things with a pink-tinted buttercream. Hey, at least the bunny did look like a bunny! :p
My only complaint that the cake layers are very fragile - I mean very fragile...when handling the layers I broke off quite a huge chunk of one layer and had to cement it on the cake using the ganache. Also, when the cake is sliced, there were a lot of loose crumbs (see above photo), so it seemed like we were eating chocolate soil - but scrumptions chocolate soil!
Nevertheless, I love this raspberry-chocolate combination - I can already foresee raspberry ice cream with chocolate chunks, raspberry-chocolate mousse, or raspberry cream cheese muffins with chocolate chunks....mmmmm!
P.S. - Referring my last post, the Matcha Mochi Cakes - as I said I would bake different flavours after my French Orals, and I did! (But totally forgot about posting the variations on) The chocolate and black sesame variations are now on, so if you enjoyed those mochi cakes as much as I did - have an encore with different flavours :)
Chocolate Raspberry Layer Cake
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
For me, this made a 9-inch three layer cake
For cake layers
3oz (85g) fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut ( I used Varlhona)
1 1/2cups (355ml) hot brewed coffee
2cups (400g) sugar
2 1/2 (313g) cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups (130g) unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup (177ml) vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups (355ml) well-shaken buttermilk
3/4 teaspoon vanilla
For ganache frosting
1/2 pound (227g) fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut
1/2 cup (119g) heavy cream
1 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoons light corn syrup (I replaced with golden syrup)
1/4 stick (28g() unsalted butter
For raspberry filling
(I'd probably halve this next time; I had alot left over)
2 10-ounce bag (567g)frozen raspberries, thawed (I used the same amount of raspberry puree as fresh or even frozen raspberries are very expensive here)
1/2 cup (100g) sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
Special equipment: two 10- by 2-inch round cake pans (I baked three 9-inch layers)
Make cake layers: Preheat oven to 300°F/150°C. and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.
Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.
Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well.
Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.
Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.
Make frosting: Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 1/2- to 2-quart saucepan bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.
Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable (depending on chocolate used, it may be necessary to chill frosting to spreadable consistency). (Deb says that stirring this over a bowl of ice water does a great job of cooling it off quickly and evenly.)
Make Filling: Puree the raspberries in a food processer, blender or immersion blender. Press the puree through a fine-mesh strainer with the back of a spoon, removing the seeds. Heat the puree in a small pot with the sugar and cornstarch until mixture boils, stirring constantly. As it boils, it should quickly thicken. Let it cool completely.
Assemble: Place one cake layer on serving plate/board. Spread some of the raspberry filling (around 1/2 cup) on one layer. Gently top with another layer, and spread with more filling. (I had alot of filling left over; it can be served with cheesecake or over icecream). Spread the chocolate ganache frosting on top of the cake and sides.
The cake keeps, covered and chilled, for 3 days. Bring cake to room temperature before serving.