Saturday, February 28, 2009

Flourless Chocolate Cake

For the month of February, the Daring Bakers Challenge was to make a Flourless Chocolate Cake.
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 recipe wasn't hard, but did need to be followed closely to make sure it turned out just right. I made three attempts at the cake. Two turned out great, one did not.

Here are the recipes. My comments and details will follow (along with pictures).

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.

Dharm's Ice Cream Recipe
Classic Vanilla Ice Cream
Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Recipe comes from the Ice Cream Book by Joanna Farrow and Sara Lewis (tested modifications and notes in parentheses by Dharm)

1 Vanilla Pod (or substitute with vanilla extract)
300ml / ½ pint / 1 ¼ cups Semi Skimmed Milk – in the U.S. this is 2% fat (or use fresh full fat milk that is pasteurised and homogenised {as opposed to canned or powdered}). Dharm used whole milk.
4 large egg yolks
75g / 3oz / 6 tbsp caster sugar {superfine sugar can be achieved in a food processor or use regular granulated sugar}
5ml / 1 tsp corn flour {cornstarch}
300ml / ½ pint / 1 ¼ cups Double Cream (48% butter fat) {in the U.S. heavy cream is 37% fat)
{you can easily increase your cream's fat content by heating 1/4 cup of heavy cream with 3 Tbs of butter until melted - cool to room temperature and add to the heavy cream as soon as whisk marks appear in the cream, in a slow steady stream, with the mixer on low speed. Raise speed and continue whipping the cream) or use heavy cream the difference will be in the creaminess of the ice cream.

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 infuse
Lift 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 back into the bowl. Cool it then chill.
5. 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 or until firm enough to scoop, beating it twice (during the freezing process – to get smoother ice cream or else the ice cream will be icy and coarse)
By Using and Ice Cream Maker: Stir the cream into the custard and churn the mixture until thick (follow instructions on your ice cream maker)

Wendy's Ice Cream Recipe
Vanilla Philadelphia Style Recipe
Preparation Time: 5 minutes

2 cups (473 ml) of half and half (1 cup of heavy cream and 1 cup of whole, full fat milk)
1 cup (237 ml) heavy cream
2/3 (128 grams) cup sugar
Dash of salt
1 (12 grams) tablespoon of vanilla

Mix all ingredients together (we do this in a plastic pitcher and mix with an emulsifier hand blender-whisking works too).
Refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer
Mix in your ice cream maker as directed.

OK, so here's what I did.

My first attempt was with cinnamon baking chips instead of chocolate. That one was very good! Sorry, no pictures of that. I didn't have any homemade ice cream or whipped topping, but I did have some Bryer's Coffee Ice Cream. That was good with the Cinnamon cake. Oddly, the cinnamon chips made it taste a lot like pumpkin pie.

My second attempt was with 1/2 white chocolate baking chips and 1/2 peanut butter baking chips. While it smelled wonderful baking, by the time the inside was cooked, the outside was burned.

My final attempt was with semi-sweet chips. This was very good, although a bit bitter. I served this one with homemade whipped cream. I wanted to do ice cream, but just didn't have the time this month with work issues and whatnot. I have been using these little serving bowl things I got at GFS for the kids a lot lately. They love them. I swear they will eat almost anything if I serve it up fun. Of course they would have eaten this no matter what I served it on.

The bottom line on this is that I will make it again and again. It became a fast favorite with my kids. I would like to experiment with other flavors. I think milk chocolate would be better because the semi-sweet was a bit bitter without topping. However, as long as I have a sweet topping, it is perfect. Just now I thought of putting caramel on it. Now that would be great.

I had really wanted to make the ice cream to serve with the second attempt. But with work issues, kid issues, and attempt number two not turning out I just plain ran out of time. I do plan to make ice cream soon though. I'm going to try a vanilla base with toasted coconut, peanut butter chips and chocolate swirls. Or something like that. I'll be sure to post when I make it and let you know how it turns out.

Thank you again t0 our hosts this month. This was a great recipe to make and it was really fun to experiment with different flavors. I can't wait to make it again.


plutosangel said...

Three times?!! WOW!! gr8 job :D

Heather B said...

Great job! Your cake looks delicious!

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