Monday, 1 October 2012

Chocolate-Honey ganache layer cake

I have said it before, Big Pete loves two kinds of dessert. Chocolate chip cookies and Chocolate cake everything else will get a mild reaction or the "no thanks" reaction.This one is a show stopper! If you want to dazzle someone this is the cake to make. The recipe is from the Oct/Nov 2012 Fine Cooking Magazine and it is a keeper.

This is a gloriously rich and moist cake with beautiful decadent icing. If you have ever made a Duncan Hines cake from a box and then wondered how to make a real homemade cake that fluffy and moist this is your cake! So many chocolate cakes are dense and heavy and this one is so nice and moist and the frosting is glorious made from good quality chocolate and cream, no fake icing here baby!
I would suggest you make the icing the day before or make it first thing in the morning and let it set up in the fridge so it will be ready to use for that night.

You will need:

For cake

  • 3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups hot, strong brewed coffee
  • 1 cup mild honey, such as clover
  • 3 cups unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs- room temperature
  • 3/4 cup sour cream, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp pure vanilla
For the Chocolate-Honey Ganache Icing
  • 1 lb semi sweet chocolate (454 grams) 60% cacao finely chopped
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup mild honey
  • 4 tbsp cold unsalted butter cut into pieces
  • 3 tbsp dark rum (optional)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla
Bar of chocolate to make curls for top of cake

Start with some good semi sweet chocolate. You can buy it in a chunk and chop it or I have just used good quality chips. This is a chocolate cake with chocolate icing find the best stuff you can and just taste the difference.

Make the ganache frosting a day before you want to serve your cake or very early in the morning to frost that evening. It needs time to thicken and it is a large amount of frosting so give yourself the extra day if you can.  The recipe suggests you can leave it on the counter for 24 hours however, if you put it in the fridge then just make sure you allow time for the gananche to come to room temperature before using (a few hours ) This is really the only fussy part of the recipe. 

Step 1:  Weigh your chocolate 1lb = 454 grams and measure the honey and cream. Use the medium sized half litre sized carton of whipping cream which equals 2 cups. Chop butter . 

Step 3:  Heat the cream and honey to just boiling, stirring to dissolve the honey. Remove from heat and pour over chocolate. Leave 1 minute then whisk until smooth. Whisk in the butter and rum if you are using it as well as the vanilla. It should be glossy and smooth. Leave it in a cool room for at least 8 hours but, I found I needed to put it in the fridge to speed up the thickening. It can sit at room temperature covered for up to 24 hours.

Step 4: Heat oven to 350 degrees and have racks in the middle of the oven. Spray  two 10 inch pans with at least 2 inch sides and line them with parchment . This is a large cake with lots of batter so you need these larger pans or use three 8 inch pans.

Step 5: sift both types of cocoa powders into a medium bowl.

Step 6: whisk in the coffee and then the honey. Let cool completely.

Step 7: Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt into another medium bowl.

Step 8: In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter on medium speed. Gradually add the oil( I always use olive oil and it works great and no you can't taste it), beating until combined. Add the brown and white sugars and beat on high until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.

Step 9: Add eggs one at a time, beating well on medium high after each. Add the sour cream and vanilla, beating until just combined.

Step 10: gather your chocolate mixture and your flour mixture. With the mixer on low add the flour mixture in 3 additions and the chocolate in two additions, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the sides as necessary. Beat until just combined to avoid the cake becoming tough. When making cake you need to be careful not to over work your batter.

Step 11: pour batter evenly into both pans. Spread the tops with a spatula to even top, then tap hard on counter to get any bubbles out and settle the batter

Step 12: Bake at 350 degrees F 40 to 50 minutes. Rotate the pans halfway through. When a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean your cakes are done.  Let cool in their pans 10-15 minutes. Then invert onto a cooling rack, remove parchment and let cool completely. 

Step 13: frost the cake. Set one layer on a serving plate. Spread about 1 cup of ganache over the surface. More if you like the middle to have a thick layer of filling. Top with the second cake . Top with a thin layer of ganache all over cake and sides. This is to seal the cake. Put in fridge for 10-15 minutes to set. Spread the remaining icing over top and sides to complete.

finally to create some chocolate curls scrape a big knife over a bar of chocolate. I like to scrape  towards me while holding the chocolate with my thumbs and the knife with my fingers. Place curls in center of cake or all over.

Get a big glass of milk and enjoy one of the best cakes you have ever had!

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