Friday, May 30, 2008

A Post I Started A Year Ago

The original name for this post was:

The Best Ganache in the World. Seriously.

But that was almost a year ago (06/08/07), and I just found it, languishing unpublished in my account. The only reason why I am bothering to publish it now, when I never finished the post, was because that ganache really was the best ganache in the world. Seriously.

Zetta invited the punkins over for dinner the other day and she told me two things about it.

1. Bring chocolate cupcakes.

2. DON'T BE LATE

June 17, 2007
Name of Cupcake: The Vehicle for the Ganache
Occasion: Punkins!!!!
Constituents: Chocolate Cupcakes with The Best Ganache in the World. Seriously.

I decided to get all fancy and shit and try a new chocolate cupcake recipe. I got it from The Cupcake Bakeshop (Sherryl Porro) who apparently got the original recipe from Clotilde at Chocolate and Zucchini. Sherryl's chocolate cupcakes look so good and chocolaty, and she talks of them having a slightly dry, cracked top, with a very intense, but not too sweet, chocolaty flavor and a moist cake inside. Her pictures of them always look SOOO yummy.

So I thought, why not try them for the punkins?

The recipe looked easy enough; you melt 62% dark chocolate over a double boiler with a bunch of butter, then you pull it off the heat and stir in the sugar. This you let sit while you get your dry ingredients measured out and ready. Then you beat into the chocolate mixture your eggs, one at a time, then you sift the dry ingredients over that, mix to incorporate, and pour into your cups and bake! No problem!

Right?

Well, the ECL baking mishap warped the process thusly:
1. Chopping chocolate takes forever.
2. Frozen butter takes much longer to melt, even if chopped into little cubes.
3. I am firing the silicone cupcake cups I bought a while ago, because
A) Silicone needs to be greased--that's a lot of greasing.
B) Silicone slows down the entry of heat which is good for cakes because it produces a level top for layering. Not so much fun for cupcakes.
C) Cleanup is not so much fun.

I don't remember exactly what happened with these cupcakes...I think they were dry and not very chocolaty at all. I must have blocked them from my memory. I do remember none of us liked the cupcakes...

...but everybody LOVED the ganache I frosted them with. I used RLB's raspberry ganache, which is the best food in the world, no contest. You add a goodly amount of Rose's raspberry puree to your ganache when you are mixing it up, and you get this slightly red, super amazing, sort of tangy, seriously chocolaty, heavenly, dreamy, orgasmically amazing raspberry ganache. The perfect mix of both tastes--neither the raspberry nor the chocolate overpower the ganache. Just a harmonious blend of both ingredients. I would eat Rose's raspberry ganache all day, every day. I'm not kidding. That recipe is worth buying the whole darn book for, even if you never made anything else in there.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

A Devilish Cake for an Evil Cake Lady

Yes, people, on Tuesday May 27 I officially become a year older. To celebrate (and/or distract myself from the fact that I am older), I invited a few friends to try out a fondue restaurant, and to gild the lily, I baked Dorie Greenspan's Devils Food White Out Cake. Seemed the most appropriate cake for Evil Cake Lady's birthday celebrations.

Also, this cake is the most recent project of the Lazy Bakers, No Rules Club. The club consists of me, Melinda, the Breadbasketcase, and Pinknest. Melinda, the unofficial club president, has also invited her friend Jeanette, who doesn't have a blog, to bake along. We hope Jeanette sends Melinda some photos and a recap, so that Melinda can post that on her blog. We all wanted to bake together (even though none of us live near each other--or even have met each other in real life), but we didn't want rules and stipulations and deadlines. Hence, Lazy Bakers and No Rules. Melinda is really the one who started this whole thing--that's why I've made her the unofficial president.

ECL's Devils Food White Out Birthday Cake!

May 24, 2008
Name of cake: Devil's Food White Out Cake
Occasion: ECL Turns 35, and the Lazy Bakers' bake-along
Constituents: Three layers triple chocolate devil's food cake, filled and frosted with marshmallow fluff, decorated with the cake crumbs from the fourth layer of cake

THIS IS IT
this had better be it!

Like BBC, I had to go out and buy 8 inch cake pans. BBC ended up at Williams-Sonoma buying gold plated cake pans that set her back $18.95 per pan...not what I wanted to do. So on Saturday (yes, the day of the party) I headed out to the Decorette store after my massage to buy a couple of cake pans. There was much confusion at the store concerning the cake pans that I wanted to buy--apparently they just had a cake decorating class--the wedding cake version--and all the students cleaned the store out of 8 inch cake pans. After about an hour of being there and talking to 3 different people, I finally got them to call the Tigard store to see if they had two 8 inch cake pans they could set aside for me. And one hour after that, I was back home with two 8 inch cake pans, a falafel sandwich for me, and some milk for the cake.

Phew!

how many cocoa powders does it take

The night before I had begun my mise-en-place for this cake, so the baking part of this cake went fairly smoothly. There are a lot of ingredients to assemble and add to the cake at certain times which seems so fussy to me. I would like to understand why there are so many ingredients--why baking soda AND baking powder? Why melted chocolate AND cocoa powder? Why brown sugar AND regular sugar? Why milk AND boiling water? And why boiling water--aren't we just melting the butter when we add that? Dorie Greenspan is awesome, but she isn't as interested in giving us the whys as is the RLB. And I admit it, I like the whys.

ECL's Devils Food White Out Birthday Cake!

The cakes baked up nice without much mishap. As they cooled on the racks, I cleaned up the kitchen and got ready to make the frosting.

The frosting, Dorie's version of Seven Minute Frosting, took forever to come together. Dorie's recipe requires that you cook a sugar syrup (plus the cream of tartar) on the stove while your egg whites wait patiently in the KitchenAid. The last time I made this addictive frosting, I used Martha's recipe and she has you cook the eggs, sugar, and water over the stove together. Dorie's way seems like it would be easier, but it was more like a twenty to twenty-five minute frosting. And hence my roommate and I were 40 minutes late for our dinner reservations, and the last ones to arrive at my party! Pretty typical.

ECL's Devils Food White Out Birthday Cake!

Cake assembly was easy and fun--this is a great frosting as it is billowy, fluffy, and sticky. Easy to get on the cake and make look pretty.

Our server at the restaurant kindly whisked my cake in the cake carrier to their cooler, where it waited patiently for us to finish dipping all sorts of things into two little pots of stuff--cheese, broth, chocolate and caramel. When our server brought out our cake (which I had them take out early so that it would come up to room temperature), she brought us a little box of white candles! We stopped at four candles (we didn't want to melt the cake with 35 candles' worth of BTUs), and my peeps sang me happy birthday--how sweet!

ECL's Devils Food White Out Birthday Cake!

By this time, the five of us had eaten quite a bit, and even though we cut small slices of cake, it was hard to finish. However, it is a good cake, with a moist and very light crumb when at room temperature, and the marshmallow frosting is a nice, light, and surprisingly, not too sweet adornment for the very chocolaty cake. For the sugars I used light muscovado and golden baker's and it gave the cake a nice, flowery, molasses and caramel tone.

didn't we get enough cheese in the first course?
just in case you didn't get enough cheese
and that is my lip ring, not a hole in my teeth

To be honest, I am not a fan of the chocolate chips in the cake, but most people seem to enjoy it. I had a piece tonight with some friends who could not make it to dinner, and the cake was still cold from the refrigerator. This left the cake pleasantly dense and fudgy, and the frosting even better. Either way, a good cake indeed!

ECL's Devils Food White Out Birthday Cake!

Melinda, the dedicated person that she is, typed up the entire recipe, which is no small feat. Click here to read about her cake, which took a village to eat, and see the recipe.

Breadbasketcase, currently romping around Australia and New Zealand (say hi to the sheep!), braved this very complicated-looking recipe and made a great cake for mother's day. Click here to read about her first project with the Lazy Bakers, and to see her gold plated cake pans!