Sunday, February 15, 2015

The Baking Bible: Chocolate Pavarotti with Wicked Good Ganache

There are chocolate cakes and there are chocolate cakes. This is one of the best I've had; it is light, moist, and tender. It almost feels like a cross between a sponge type cake (like the Chocolate Cuddle Cake) and a dense rich butter cake. It is easy to make and so delicious. The secret ingredient is white chocolate, which gives it that melt-in-your-mouth quality as well as a little bit of extra lift. Oil replaces some of the butter to keep it moist and soft at cool room temperature.

The ganache is also really wonderful; it is soft and pliant and richly satisfying without being too dark and possibly overpowering (I'm looking at you, Midnight Ganache of my dreams). There's a secret technique here, too, which is what Rose calls an "enrichment" of unsweetened chocolate and corn syrup. This gets mixed into the regular culprits of 61% chocolate and heavy cream. Oh, and there's a little kick from a bit of cayenne pepper. I thought we had cayenne until I went looking for it and discovered we don't anymore (Mark went on a big spice clean-out before we moved here). He suggested using the Ancho chili powder instead so I did. Just a tiny bit of lingering something that stays on your tongue, nothing overpowering or uncomfortable. Rose says the bit of heat encourages the chocolate flavor to linger in your mouth, and I think I might agree. At any rate, it is a yummy ganache.

I am loving pre-prepping the night before baking. Everything is up to room temperature, everything is measured out, and therefore mixing takes only a couple of minutes.  


And when you've given the child his favorite car, a stool, and some pots and pans to keep him occupied, a quick mix is a great thing.

 
Here's the finished cake. I got a little lazy with the melting of the white chocolate and you can see a little white chocolate blob on the side there.
 

And frosted. We couldn't wait to cut into this pretty little cake.


The young sir ate peas while I frosted and photographed.
 

So...can we eat yet?


 Pac-man cake.

  
We initially had vanilla ice cream with the cake, which was nice but not amazing. Also, the cake really blossomed in flavor and texture later that night, maybe four or five hours after cooling. Also, I would totally bake this cake again, if I had a chance!

19 comments:

  1. Jen, your little boy is sooo cute and adorable! Can you please hug him for me? :) He has rash on his forehead? Your cake looked so tall and pretty! I too love this cake. I like it's velvety texture and it's soft and tender. I love how you frosted the ganache too. Simple and yet inviting. I too would make it again. :D

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    1. You're so sweet! I will hug Eliot for you. He's got a viral infection called Molluscum--it's harmless but takes forever to clear up. Poor little dude. Speaking of frosting, I loved all your sprinkles!

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  2. I was admiring the height of your cake too. And your little tacker who always looks happy. So cute.

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  3. Beautiful photo! Seriously made me want another slice of this cake! I like your idea of prepping the night before. I would have to set everything on a tray and keep in the garage though because my cats would find something new sitting on the counter too irresistible. Your little boy is adorable. Does he like to stand up holding onto the stool or actually climb a step? And when I think about all those expensive Fisher-Price climbing sets this is genius!

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    1. He is interested in climbing up the stool but hasn't committed to it yet. He will pull up and sort of nonchalantly put a foot on the step, then take it off, then put it back on, then take it off...

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  4. Your finished cake looks amazing. Getting everything ready the night before is a great idea, I'm totally doing that next time. Great post.

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  5. gorgeous! now i'm wondering what kind of white chocolate you used to get the same results of height and texture that we got.

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    1. Thanks Rose! I used El Rey Icoa Discos, found here: https://www.chocosphere.com/default/icoa-1kg-discos.html. It is 34% cocoa butter.
      Apparently this white chocolate has been voted best white chocolate in the world the last four years by the International Chocolate Awards! I had no idea when I bought it.

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  6. hi Jen, love your cake and the design on top and the little guy is so cut , he looks like he is having fun...

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  7. Jen, it looks beautiful, great photos! Love that little guy of yours! My cake tasted a little dry but I love that ganache! Pac Man--hilarious!! Take care--Michele

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  8. Jen, your cake is so pretty and creamy and luscious looking. I bet the ancho was excellent. I felt that you had a great time making this cake.

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  9. Jen, El Rey is THE BEST CHOCOLATE ever.. but then its from my country of birth.. so I'm very proud. I'm actually down to my last bar, and I'm saving that puppy up like crazy (only very special baking recipes get it)... thanks for the link. Whole Food's use to carry it, they they stopped and I went into panic mode... they are a bit pricy, but then so is every other high end chocolate out there.

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    1. I just discovered El Rey and they are amazing! I used their 61% for the ganache and it was so delicious. I love their company practices, too.You should be proud! I was actually really happy to get a kilo of their chocolate for about $25.00. So worth it.

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  10. Great looking cake, and great idea with the ancho chili. Myself almost tempted to replace the Cayenne with chipotle chili.

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  11. To answer your question, I did not strain out the coconut. Probably should have in retrospect but it was not noticeable. I do wonder if it affected the moisture content but doubtful. It was that blasted cocoa powder, in my opinion, and confirmed after that article I came across. That has amazing chocolate scientific information. My cocoa powder does not have the fat content listed. Ordered Valrohona!

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  12. To answer your question, I did not strain out the coconut. Probably should have in retrospect but it was not noticeable. I do wonder if it affected the moisture content but doubtful. It was that blasted cocoa powder, in my opinion, and confirmed after that article I came across. That has amazing chocolate scientific information. My cocoa powder does not have the fat content listed. Ordered Valrohona!

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  13. ב''ה

    What a Cutie. Your cake looks fab! I like how the ganache looks.

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  14. What an adorable kitchen helper!! He even looks quite satisfied with his peas rather than chocolate cake...what a good boy ;)

    Your cake came out beautifully! I love your ganache swirls (so creamy looking!) and your cake is so tall.

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  15. Ah, molloscums - they are such a curse! Happily chocolate cake puts everything into perspective.

    Strange we all had such differing results. So glad it worked for you - def makes me want to bake this again.

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