That is a yellow cupcake with hot fudge frosting. This, my friends, is my ideal in cake and frosting: a buttery rich vanilla cake with a thin layer of rich chocolate, and hot fudgy to boot! Hot fudge is one of my most favorite ways of chocolate delivery. And here it is, in frosting form! I have often wondered how they do it. And how I can do it, since it is my favorite.
And now, thanks to Rose and the Heavenly Bakers and this Chocolate Apricot Roll, I know how I can do it too. (Cue Happy Dance.)
March 15, 2010
Name of cake: Hot Fudge Apricot and Stuff
Occasion: HCB, one week behind
Constituents: Biscuit roll, Apricot Lekvar, Ganache, and the Hot Fudge Glaze
The Heavenly Cake Bakers baked this cake last week. I was in California hanging out with these guys (mostly the one on the right):
Even though this recipe is like 500 pages long, everyone said it was pretty easy once all the steps were broken down. Heartened by this news, I decided to play catch up. There are several steps, pretty much all of which can be done ahead of time. I saved them all for a Sunday.
Step one: make the Lekvar
This is an optional step, as one could simply buy apricot preserves and go from there. The HCB really liked the lekvar and encouraged readers to make it, so I did too. It is really simple, but it does take some time to make. First off, dried apricots are soaked in water for two hours. Did you read that? Two hours. So plan ahead. I actually soaked mine overnight, as I started soaking then forgot about them until I was going to bed Saturday night. Oops!
They are then cooked for about 30 minutes in order to soften them completely. The soft apricots and water are pureed with a little sugar, lemon zest, and apricot brandy. I forgot to buy lemons so I used a teaspoon of lemon extract. I also had this cheap ass bottle of apricot brandy from my Mad Hatter Tea Birthday Party six years ago. Eh, I decided, let's use it.
The puree is then put back on the stove, I presume to cook off the alcohol and some of the water, and caramelize the sugars a bit. The lekvar should be thick, take 3 seconds to drop from a spoon, and be a dark orange color. I got the first two requirements, but not the last. In hindsight that is a bummer, as I think the lekvar would be really tasty with the sugars a little caramelized. Mine just tastes like apricot puree.
The lekvar is then set aside to cool and hang out. Rose says this can last indefinitely in the refrigerator. I doubt it will last more than 6 months!
Step two: the ganache
This is a simple, classic, basic ganache, with the addition of a little Mr. Boston. Once made, it also hangs out and cools. Curiously, Rose instructs to let it cool uncovered for one hour, then covered after that. Huh.
Step three: bake the biscuit
This is a sponge type cake, so leavening is achieved by nicely beaten eggs. Four eggs are used, plus one egg yolk, however only two of the four egg whites are beaten into a meringue. The other two whites, plus all the yolks, are first whipped up with most of the sugar and the vanilla. They make a nice thick yellow substance.
I was getting all confused about which egg parts went into which bowl, so I rewrote the instructions to help me out. Of course, owing to the egg yolk conspiracy, I also calculated out the exact grams of whites and yolks needed where. I generally need about 3/4 more yolk than called for, and about 2/3 less white. I used to be hardcore and measure out the whites and yolks separately for EVERY cake I baked, but recently have become lazy and now only do it with cakes where only one of the egg parts is needed, or for sponge type cakes where the eggs do all the work.
Both bowls of eggs mixed up nice and fluffy, and after folding all the parts together I spread the batter in the sheet pan and set it to bake. It only bakes for 7 minutes or so, then comes the fun part. As soon as the biscuit comes out of the oven it is pulled from the pan, sprinkled with powdered sugar, and rolled up to cool. Fun!
Step four: the freaking fantastic hot fudge glaze
Rose named this the Lacquer Glaze, because it is so darn shiny. It really is. Here is a photo of the just glazed cake, and you can see in the glaze a reflection of the trees outside my window and the church across the street. I mean, seriously.
I had no idea this was the hot fudge frosting I had been searching for until I made it. Which, by the way, is much easier than one would think a shiny glaze would be. When I smelled it, and licked the spoon, I realised what I had just made. Basically, hot fudge!! Then I thought about the ingredients: cocoa powder, cream, corn syrup, sugar...pretty much that's hot fudge. This is different in that it has gelatin, which gives it that amazing shine.
I am so in love with this stuff.
Step five: assembling the cake
Another easy step. The biscuit is unrolled, and first a layer of lekvar is spread, then a thicker layer of ganache. Personally I didn't think there was enough lekvar--next time I would use more lekvar and less ganache. Then the biscuit is rolled up again and gets a crumb coat of ganache to smooth the surface for glazing. I didn't have much ganache leftover so the cake only got a very thin swish across the top. Then the lovely glaze is poured over the top to coat the cake. You can bet that I scraped up every last bit of overflow and saved it for later! Rose says this glaze is very forgiving; you can freeze and refreeze it no problem. I don't think it will be around long enough to need freezing.
Technically the cake should relax for at least a couple of hours before serving, but it was time to go to Cookie's house for craft night. Mondays I go over to her house and we knit and watch tv. We both needed a hiatus from knitting after all the hats or mittens that we made for the Olympics, but last night we were ready to get back on the horse. So after an hour's rest I set the cake on the serving plate and drove on over to her house. Somewhere along the way the cake tipped over (dang!) and some of the glaze stuck to the plate (dang!) but oh well. We didn't seem to have a problem eating it.
Step six: eating the cake
I brought over a jar of lekvar in case anyone wanted more apricot flavor. Which we all did.
I thought the biscuit was a little dry; Rose recommends an apricot syrup for the cake if eating the same day as assembling, but says that the ganache will moisten the cake perfectly if you can wait until the next day. I rolled the cake Sunday and glazed it Monday, so the cake should have been moist. But next time I will syrup as well.
Cookie and Cookie's husband liked the cake, but also agreed it needed more apricot. We all enjoyed the hot fudge frosting. All in all, a good cake. Not a huge hit, but not a bust either. And that hot fudge is a clear winner.
I borrowed this shot from Monica, who has the best photos ever
Note to the GF readers: I've made the biscuit a few times before, twice gluten free. In The Cake Bible, Rose says this is a good cake to convert to other flours as there isn't much flour and the structure is provided chiefly by the eggs. Both times I used the basic GF flour mix of white flour, tapioca flour, and potato starch flour. They came out great, although once it came out a bit gritty as I used less cornstarch and Bob's Red Mill rice flour, which isn't ground fine enough and is always gritty. Now I only buy rice flour from Asia, which is very finely milled. Anyhoots, if you want to see those posts (but still, no recipe. Go buy the book!!) they are GF tiramisu #1 and GF tiramisu #2.
(Aww, and Melinda, I think GF Tiramisu #1 is the first time you left me a comment! That gives me the warm fuzzies...)