Latif celebrated his birthday on the 18th and this was a great day for me as I got to try a new cake recipe! (I think I was more excited than he was). I had been wanting to make this cake for a long time but couldn't justify the effort and time involved. But when his birthday came I knew exactly what I was going to make. This recipe is from Dorie Greenspan's book, Baking: From My Home to Yours. Though I don't have the book, the recipe is on a lot of blogs thanks to the group Tuesdays With Dorie (TWD).
I absolutely loved this cake. The dark chocolate cream is amazing and I could just eat it by the spoonful. The whole thing was actually very easy to make as I prepared the various components one day and assembled the whole thing the next day. I halved the entire recipe and made a 7 inch cake (I didn't have a 6 inch pan) Next time I will make the whole thing as it is a great cake. Check Brown Eyed Baker for the full recipe and baking instructions.
Be extra careful while whipping the white chocolate cream as even a little too much can cause it to spoil. I read a lot of blogs before attempting this so I knew exactly when to stop and got perfect results. However, after sitting in the fridge my whipped cream became a little too thick and so I thinned it a little by adding more heavy cream and stirring gently with a spatula. Use good quality chocolate here (I used Lindt) as it does make a difference in the taste.
Ingredients - Makes One 6 Inch Cake - Serves 5-6.
For The Cake
1 Cup Cake Flour - Used 3/4 Cup All purpose flour + 2 Tbsp Cornflour
1 Tsp Baking Powder
Pinch of Baking Soda
1/8 Tsp Salt
1/2 Stick Plus 2 Tbsp (5 Tbsp) Unsalted Butter, at room temperature
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 1/2 Large Eggs (To get half an egg, Crack open the egg in a small measuring cup and whisk with a fork. Check the quantity and take exactly half of it)
1/2 of a Large Egg Yolk
1/2 Tsp Vanilla Essence
6 Tbsp Buttermilk - Used the milk and lemon juice substitute
For the Dark Chocolate Cream
1 Cup Whole Milk
2 Large Egg Yolks
3 Tbsp Sugar - Used 5 Tbsp
1 1/2 Tbsp Cornflour/Cornstarch, Sifted
1/8 Tsp Salt
3.5 ounces (99.2 Gms) Bittersweet Chocolate, Melted
1 1/4 Tbsp Unsalted Butter, Cut into 5 pieces, at room temperature
For The White Chocolate Whipped Cream
3 ounces (85 Gms) Premium-quality White Chocolate (Such as Valrhona Ivoire or Guittard), finely chopped
3/4 Cup Heavy Cream
Chocolate shavings or curls, dark or white or a combination, for decoration (optional)
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 6-x-2-inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.
Make the Cake
1. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
2. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy.
3. Add the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes.
4. Add the eggs one by one, and then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla; don't be concerned if the mixture looks curdled.
5. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the buttermilk, adding the dry ingredients in 3 additions and the milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients); scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter.
6. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula. Bake for 25 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean. Transfer the cakes to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then unmold, remove the paper and invert to cool to room temperature right side up on the rack.
Make the Dark Chocolate Cream
1. Bring the milk to a boil.
2. Meanwhile, in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar, cornstarch and salt until thick and well blended.
3. Whisking without stopping, drizzle in about 2 Tbsp of the hot milk - this will temper, or warm, the yolks so they won't curdle - then, still whisking, add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (make sure to get into the edges of the pan), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
4. Whisk in the melted chocolate, and let stand for 5 minutes. Then whisk in the pieces of butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the chocolate cream is smooth and silky. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream to create an airtight seal and refrigerate the cream until chilled, or for up to 3 days. Or, if you want to cool the cream quickly, put the bowl with the cream into a large bowl filled with ice cubes and cold water and stir the cream occasionally until it is thoroughly chilled, about 20 minutes.
Make the White Chocolate Whipped Cream
1. Put the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and put the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water. Stir frequently to melt the chocolate evenly. Meanwhile, bring 1/4 cup of the heavy cream to a boil. When the white chocolate is melted, remove the bowl from the pan. Pour the hot cream into the melted chocolate and let it sit for a minute. Using a small spatula, stir the chocolate gently until it is smooth. Let it sit on the counter until it reaches room temperature - it can't be the least bit warm when you add it to the whipped cream.
2. Working with the stand mixer with the whisk attachment or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the remaining 1/2 cup heavy cream only until it holds the softest peaks. Turn the machine to high, add the cooled white chocolate all at once and continue to beat until the whipped cream holds firm peaks. Turn the whipped cream into a bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap gently against the surface to create an airtight seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 6 hours. (Beat the whipped cream just until it holds stiff peaks, the slightest over beating will cause it to separate)
Assemble the Cake
1. If the tops of the cake layers have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. Slice each layer horizontally in half. Place one layer cut side down on a cardboard cake round or on a cake plate protected by strips of wax or parchment paper.
2. Remove the dark and white chocolate creams from the refrigerator and whisk each of them vigorously to loosen and smooth them. With a long metal icing spatula, spread enough dark chocolate cream (about 1/2 cup) over the cake layer to cover it completely. Top the cream with another cake layer, cut side up, and cover this layer with white chocolate whipped cream, making the white layer about the same thickness as the dark layer. Cover with a third layer, cut side up, and cover with another cup or so of the dark chocolate cream. (You'll have some dark chocolate cream left over - I used mine for piping happy b'day on the cake) Top with the final layer of cake, cut side down, and frost the sides and top with the remaining white chocolate whipped cream. If you'd like to decorate the top with chocolate shavings or curls, do it now.
Refrigerate for at least 3 hours, or overnight.
Remove the cake from the fridge about 20 minutes before serving. Use a serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to cut it.
While both the dark chocolate cream and white chocolate cream can be made ahead and kept tightly covered in the refrigerator, once assembled, the cake is best after about 3 hours in the fridge. However, it can be refrigerated overnight - just cover it loosely and keep it away from foods with strong odors.