Saturday 28 February 2009

Daring Bakers February 2009 Challenge: Chocolate Valentino

When I saw this months challenge was a chocolate valentine I was highly curious as to what it was as it conjured up images of exploding chocolate volcanoes in my head. It turns out to be a rich, moist and wickedly chocolaty flourless chocolate cake – thankfully involving no volcanoes or explosions of any kind. (Yes I initially misread the title as a chocolate volcano!) It involves just 3 simple ingredients, chocolate, butter and eggs. No flour, no ground nuts and more surprisingly no added sugar! Yes that’s right, the only sweetness in this cake comes from the chocolate, so depending on how bitter or sweet you like your desserts determines on what type of chocolate you should use. Whatever cocoa percentage of chocolate you use, it should be good quality, as the chocolate really is the main flavour and ingredient of this cake – in involves a LOT of chocolate. I usually like my chocolate dark and intense, but the fact the recipe involved no added sugar left me feeling a little daunted, so I decided to go for a nice middle of the range 55% cocoa content, which I feel turned out just right.

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.

This month not content with just a chocolate cake to contend with but we were also given the choice of two vanilla ice creams to make to accompany the cake. I decided to go with Dharm’s ice cream recipe, as it used an egg yolk custard base and I had plenty of yolks left over from my latest Cake Slice challenge. I also flavoured my ice cream with Amaretto which added an interesting note as it melted on your tongue and I think it always pairs well with chocolate. I couldn’t resist dipping a spoon into the custard base before I tucked it away in the freezer, so creamy and comforting.

I decided to also make a simple warm chocolate sauce to drizzle over the slices of cake when serving, which I think made the dessert complete. The cake puffed up and cracked in the oven but slowly relaxed into a flat surface while cooling. It was moist and very dense, but not heavy. Despite its appearance, it actually had quite a light mouthfeel, similar to a just cooked brownie. The deep, slightly bitter chocolate flavour was really intense, which as a dark chocolate lover I adored, but it may have been a bit too bitter for some people, but I suppose you could always add mostly milk chocolate for a sweeter taste. I wonder if white chocolate would work? It’s definitely more of an after dinner dessert rather than an afternoon tea cake. I kept the cake on the counter but moved it to the fridge on the second day and after that it became more like a giant fudgy truffle – I think it would be great cut into little squares and served with coffee like this.

Thanks Wendy and Dharm for a tasty chocolate challenge. Click to view their creations along with the other Daring Bakers Cakes.

Flourless Chocolate Valentino
(Recipe from Sweet Treats by Chef Wan)
455g semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped (around 55%)
145g 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. Remove from the heat once melted.
2. While the chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Grease an 8inch/20cm deep springform cake tin and line with a parchment circle. Preheat the oven to 190C.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks until thick and slightly pale.
6. Stir the egg yolks into the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in a third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and gently fold in the remaining two-thirds until no white remains. Do not over mix or the batter will deflate.
8. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 60C, or until the top of the cake looks like it has a thin sugary crust and a soft interior, similar to a brownie. A cake tester will appear wet.
9. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Dharm's Ice Cream Recipe - Classic Vanilla Ice Cream
(Recipe from the Ice Cream Book by Joanna Farrow and Sara Lewis)Ingredients
1 Vanilla Pod (or substitute with 1tsp vanilla extract)
300ml Semi Skimmed Milk.
4 large egg yolks
75g caster sugar
1 tsp corn flour
300ml Double Cream
(I added 1 tbsp Amaretto)

1. Using a small knife slit the vanilla pod lengthways. Pour the milk into a heavy based saucepan, add the vanilla pod and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and leave for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to infuseLift the vanilla pod up. Holding it over the pan, scrape the black seeds out of the pod with a small knife so that they fall back into the milk. Set the vanilla pod aside and bring the milk back to the boil.
2. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and corn-flour in a bowl until the mixture is thick and foamy.
3. Gradually pour in the hot milk, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over a gentle hear, stirring all the time.
4. When the custard thickens and is smooth, pour it into a clean bowl and stir in the Amaretto. Allow it to cool before refrigerating.
5a. By Hand: Whip the cream until it has thickened but still falls from a spoon. Fold it into the custard and pour into a plastic tub or similar freeze-proof container. Freeze for 6 hours, beating the mix every 2 hours to ensure a smooth and creamy texture or else the ice cream may be icy and coarse. Freeze until firm enough to scoop.
5b. For Ice Cream Maker: Stir the cream (not whisked) into the custard and churn the mixture until thick (follow instructions on your ice cream maker).

Simple Chocolate Sauce
100ml double cream
60g dark chocolate
2 tsp runny honey

Heat the cream until small bubbles begin to appear. Remove from the heat and stir in the chocolate and honey until smooth.
Serve warm.


Snooky doodle said...

oh the photos sum it all. pure decadent !

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

i like seeing the slice of cake. you can really appreciate the density and moistness of the cake like that. fantastic.

Dharm said...

Your cake and ice cream look just great! So glad you joined us on the challenge this month! Chocolate sauce too eh??!!

Anonymous said...

Oh wow. I thought I was alone in misreading valentino as volcano. Now I'm only mildly embarrassed :)

thepassionatecook said...

good lord! can there be anything more decadent than this cake? wonderful!

Meeta K. Wolff said...

chocolate on chocolate yummy! it looks insanely moist. nice going!

Dewi said...

Beautiful and look so moist. I love that you capture that dripping sauce. It makes the cake even more irresistible!

Anonymous said...

It's gorgeous, Katie. I also wondered about how bitter the cake would be if I used my usual 70% chocolate, so I used a milk chocolate and it was still rather bitter. Oh well.

Great minds think alike on the almond/Amaretto!

Alex said...

Oh my goodness - this post is a choc-fest! I'm drooling now!

Anonymous said...

I just gasped out loud when clicking onto your blog and seeing this. The sauce is just the icing on the cake (arf arf). I want some! You must make this again..! x

Elle said...

Delightful pairing of not too dark and not too ligh chocoalte cake with lovely ice cream...amaretto is such a great flavor with chocolate! Love your photos, too.

sunita said...

This was such a decadent challenge..your cake looks wonderful, and so does the ice cream :-)

Engineer Baker said...

Talk about gilding the lily - chocolate sauce on top of this sounds fantastic! Beautiful job.

Elyse said...

Wow, your cake looks gorgeous! I love the addition of the amaretto to the ice cream. You're right: it really ups the flavor ante. What a delicious combo!

Leslie said...

stunning photo. The first one really showcases the cakes CRAZY GOOD texture!

Anonymous said...

Incredible pictures- You really captured the texture wonderfully, it looks like pure fudge!

TeaLady said...

That looks like a gooey fudge cake. Lovely.

Anonymous said...

That's so cute, Chocolate Volacno! I love the slice picture, I should do more of those. It really shows the texture of the cake well.

The Caked Crusader said...

wow - that looks wickedly delicious!

Sam said...

Oh wow that looks good! The amaretto ice cream sounds delicious too and a perfect match with the cake. Yum!

Maria♥ said...

Wow, your cake looks so yummy!


♥Rosie♥ said...

I'm feeding with my eyes here over your scrumptious photos of this gorgeous cake!! Pure heaven on a plate!

Rosie x

Anonymous said...

Your chocolate cake looks amazing. I love nothing better than chocolate cake.

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♥Rosie♥ said...

Hi katie, Please pass by my blog and collect some awards ;o)

Rosie x

rasita said...

A couple of questions. How long did you leave the cake to cool before eating? You mentioned that it went well in the fridge.
Is this something that can be made a couple of days in advance?

Gigi said...

Now this is my type of cake! I love dark and dense chocolate cakes!

rasita said...

I made it, tried it once it had cooled down, then put it in the fridge for a couple of days...yum!!! I prefer the version that has been in the fridge, and so does everyone else.

Stephany Benbow said...

Your cake came out so fudgy and silky looking. Nice job, I could really go for a slice right now!