Thursday, January 27, 2011

Share your love with a Chocolate Ganache Cake

Hello everybody,

Valentine's Day is coming up. What are your plans? This year, instead of going to overbooked restaurants and buying overpriced roses, how about baking a simple, beautiful and delicious cake to share with the people you love?  I think that a chocolate cake baked in the shape of a heart is especially alluring and appropriate.

This is a delicious chocolate ganache cake recipe that we like to use here in our Brown Cookie kitchen. One recipe yields enough for two-9 inch cake pans.  If you are using our heart shaped cake pan, you will need one 8 inch and one 6 inch heart pan.  You can serve the cakes individually or stack them together to form a tiered cake.  You can also use two 8 inch pans, but the cake layers will be thinner.



As with any shaped cake that needs to be decorated or frosted, the release of the cake after baking is important.  Can you imagine all your hard work going to waste because a section of the cake broke away when you were taking it out of the pan?  The trick to getting a perfect release is first to butter the pans carefully (leaving no corners unbuttered) and, second, using a quality cake pan with a removable bottom.  That way, you can transfer the cakes easily out of the pan to the wire rack for decorating and then back to the cake stand for it's final presentation.

Here is the ganache cake recipe (adapted from Martha Stewart Baking Handbook):

For the cake:
3 sticks (1 1/2 cup) of unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for the pans
3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, sifted, plus more for pans
3/4 cup hot water
3/4 cup sour cream
3 cups cake flour, sifted
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 recipe of Chocolate Ganache  (Please see below)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Butter the two heart-shaped cake pans of your choice.  Some equipment suggestions here: 
Choose either:
1)Two 8 inch by 8 inch or
2) Two 8 inch plus one 6 inch (cake will be slightly taller)).
3) Two 6 inch cake pan (You will have some leftover batter)

Line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper.  Butter the parchment, dust with coca powder.  Tip the pan upside down (while holding onto to the bottom of the pan) to tap out the excess cocoa power.

In a medium bowl, whisk cocoa with hot water until the mixture is smooth.  Gently whisk in the sour cream and let the mixture cool.  In another medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and sugar on medium speed until it is light and fluffy. This will take about 3-4 minutes.  Add eggs, one at the time, beating to combine after each addition.  If using a stand-mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl, as necessary.  Beat in vanilla extract.  While the mixture is on low beat, add the flour mixture in two parts, alternating with the cocoa mixture.  Beat this until combined.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans and smooth with an offset spatula. The cake doesn't have baking powder, only a little baking soda, so it will not rise much.  You can fill the pans up almost to the top as shown in the pictures below.

Cake pans filled with batter
Bake until a cake tester inserted into the centers comes out clean.  Again, depending on the pans, this will take 45-50 minutes.  Monitor the "doneness" of the cake. 

Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool for 15 minutes.  Gently lift the bottom of the removable pans, leaving the cake on the bottom of the pan.  This will make handling the cake from this point onwards to the final presentation a lot easier. Let the cakes cool completely.

Transfer half of the Chocolate Ganache (about 3 1/2 cups) to a bowl of an electric mixer.  Let it cool completely, about 40 minutes.  After it has cooled, attach the bowl to the mixer fitted with a whisk attachment.  Beat on medium-high speed until the ganache holds soft peaks, which will take between 5-7 minutes.

Using a serrated knife, slightly trim the tops of the cake to make it even.  You will find that baking the cake in our heart shape pan, the cake is so thick you do not need to sandwich two layers with another layer of frosting.  The cake will remain whole.  If you have a cake turntable, use it.  If not, put the cake on a flat surface and spread with 1 1/2 cup of whipped ganache.  Refrigerate this until it has set, about 30 minutes.


Then transfer cake to a wire rack set over a rimmed baking sheet.  Pour reserved (non whipped) ganache over the top of the cake.  Pour slowly and evenly from the center towards the edges. 



Refrigerate for 30 minutes or until set.  You can decorate with mint leaves, but I like to use strawberries or leave the cake blank!  It is already so pretty.


Recipe for the Chocolate Ganache:

4 cups heavy cream
2 pounds semisweet chocolate, chopped finely
1/4 cup light corn syrup  (Don't worry, they make this without High Fructose corn syrup now)
1/4 teaspoon salt

In a small sauce pan over medium-high heat, bring the cream to a full boil; turn off the heat.  Add the chocolate, and swirl pan to completely cover with cream. Whisk the mixture until it is smooth.  Add the corn syrup, salt and stir until combined. 

I hope you will like this recipe.  So go ahead, this Valentine's Day, feed them some cake.  :)

The heart-shaped cake pans with removable bottoms are available here:

6 inches:
http://www.browncookie.com/shop/cake-bread-pans/cake-pans/six-inch-hard-anodized-heart-shaped-cake-pan-with-removable-bottom.html

8 inches:
http://www.browncookie.com/shop/cake-bread-pans/cake-pans/eight-inch-hard-anodized-heart-shaped-cake-pan-with-removable-bottom.html

Thank you for reading!

Sincerely,
Julie

3 comments:

  1. Thanks Cathy!! Thanks for stopping by

    ReplyDelete
  2. Super use of chocolate. It would be great if you linked it up to this week's Food on Friday: Chocolate

    ReplyDelete

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