Sunday, September 26, 2010

Chocolate Tomato Cake with Mystery Ganache

I know, chocolate what? Chocolate-zucchini, sure, but a chocolate cake made with condensed tomato soup? Can we say eew? We can, but not about this cake which was a big hit. V-8 should take up the cause; I can just picture the commercial now with a family enjoying the cake and the little vegetable servings count above their heads clicking up a number. This could be a great way to sneak some veggies into kids at a birthday party. They would be none the wiser.

Chocolate Tomato Cake with Mystery Ganache

Aug 31, 2010
Name of cake: Chocolate Whaaaa?
Occasion: HCB, and welcome sweet little abigail
Constitutents: two 9 inch layers chocolate-tomato soup cake filled and frosted with tomato soup ganache

I made this three weeks ago, and I should have written the post then. Now, it is all a blur. Which means it must have been a really easy cake to put together.

First up, I made the ganache as it needs to cool for at least an hour. Unfortunately, I ran out of 62% chocolate for the ganache and wasn't about to go back to the store. Digging around in my cupboards I found some 70% chocolate which I deemed "good enough." I think about 1/3 of the ganache was the darker chocolate, and I blame my too-hard ganache on that fact only. I wish it had been creamier, but alas.

Next, the cake. This is a butter cake, with all the liquid and the salt replaced by the can of condensed tomato soup. Since there isn't any water to make the traditional cocoa paste, the cocoa power, eggs, vanilla, and soup are combined into a goopy chocolate mixture.

Chocolate Tomato Cake with Mystery Ganache Chocolate Tomato Cake with Mystery Ganache

The dry ingredients--flour, sugar, baking powder and soda--are whirred around in the mixer for a bit before the butter (3 sticks!  Does that seem like A LOT of butter?) and half the goopy chocolate mixture is added and beat furiously for 90 seconds. The rest of the chocolate mixture is added in two parts, and the cake is ready to be baked!

I must have been out of cake flour because I substituted with 85% bleached all-purpose (265 grams) and 15% potato starch flour (47 grams).

Rose calls the batter "thick and fluffy" which when I first read didn't pay much attention to. All her butter cakes have a thick and fluffy batter so I didn't get why she felt she needed to mention it here, in the middle of the book. However, this batter really is thicker than most of her butter cake batters. It was also delicious.

Okay. When I read the instructions for filling the cake pans, it says: "...being sure to press the thick and fluffy batter against the sides of the pans, and smooth the surfaces evenly..." Reading it tonight it is obvious the batter is supposed to be smoothed flat in the cake pans, but when I was scraping the batter into pans I thought this phrase meant I was supposed to build the cake batter up the sides of the cake pans a bit. WOW...what recipe was I reading?

But that is what I did. I made sure there was more batter on the sides than in the middles:

Chocolate Tomato Cake with Mystery Ganache

I remember being confused by these instructions but I did it anyway. The cake figured itself out despite my bumbling and baked flat and evenly:

Chocolate Tomato Cake with Mystery Ganache

Filling and frosting were pretty uneventful, except that the cake was really crumbly which made me worried it was dry. Oh yeah, and the ganache hardened up pretty quickly. The cake in the book has pirouettes circling the cake like castle turrets, but I decided to keep it simple. Earlier I had gone to the Decorette store to buy a cake box and a few little pink sugar flowers.

Chocolate Tomato Cake with Mystery Ganache

I needed a cake box as I was giving this cake to my friends, Greg and Char, who had given birth to their second baby girl that morning! They were going to be in the hospital for a few days with a lot of visitors and lovely nurses coming in and out, so I thought it was a good place for a chocolate cake. Especially one with a mystery ingredient.

I dropped the cake off that evening but didn't stay to visit (or try the cake). Nor did I tell them it was full of tomato soup. A couple of days later I was able to stay for a proper visit and try out the cake (and hold the baby!). Char loved the cake, and asked if it was mexican chocolate. Her friend Kelly also loved it and warned Char's nurse that tasting the cake would make her cry. Char's room was very popular with her nurses, who came in when they could for cake.

Chocolate Tomato Cake with Mystery Ganache

They only had a few plastic knives for cutting, so the cake was looking pretty shaggy. I sawed off a piece and found the cake to be crumbly but very moist. The texture was similar to a chocolate cake donut--dense but soft and tender. I used Scharffenberger cocoa powder and the taste was rich and full, with a little zing just like Rose said. It was really good! Char was leaving the hospital the next day so she let me take a chunk home (for breakfast) (and photos).

Chocolate Tomato Cake with Mystery Ganache

I can't believe I liked it so much. Joelf and Cookie were also surprised that a cake full of tomato soup could be delicious. I could definitely see myself making this for a party!

Chocolate Tomato Cake with Mystery Ganache

7 comments:

  1. It looks so beautiful with the pink rose (I take the baby was a girl?)

    I did not make the cake - I was too busy cooking other stuff.. so this one got put in the back burner, and eventually fell of the too do, but your reviews has me wanting to make it.. maybe tomorrow ...

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  2. It looks adorable with the pink flowers. I'm just getting ready to muster the energy to make it. After trimming trees all day I can barely move.

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  3. Your cake looks so pretty with the flowers on!

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  4. Monica, yes, baby Abigail. she is adorable. Make it tomorrow! I would love to hear what you think of it.

    Vicki, after finishing the charlotte i can barely move! chocolate cake would be a good way to end your day.

    faithy, thanks!

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  5. ב''ה

    I also got the crumbly yet moist crumb. Glad yours came out so well.

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  6. ECL, beautiful cake and beautiful picture. I'm glad to hear rave reviews on this cake. I am chocolated out right now so had to skip this week's selection.

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  7. mendy, thanks! i thought yours was really pretty as well.

    thanks jenn! i hope you try this cake someday.

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