Saturday, May 2, 2009

Daring Bakers Long Overdue

So I found this circle of blogs, called Daring Bakers, where each month they present a baking challenge and all the members blog about it with their own unique twists. I'm not officially enrolled, but I've done a few (and I might do one more when I go home) and haven't posted them. I'm not going to do the most recent because it's cheesecake. Ew. I'll do the "grad student" twist if you didn't gather that from the concept of this blog. The first one I did was the February challenge (which was posted at the end of February, so you could do it in March, yeah, it's a little overdue for me to post) for a friend's birthday. I was looking for a good chocolatey treat without frosting, and stumbled upon this Chocolate Valentino Cake. I didn't make the ice cream like they told you to because, well, there isn't (well, wasn't) any room in our freezer. That was one of my grad student sacrifices. I did make cocoa whipped cream though. So:

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

Use your favorite chocolate – the finished cake will taste exactly like the chocolate you use. Be creative with your chocolate. I used Trader Joe's 70% Cacao chocolate, I probably could have just used dark, but I liked it this way.
- A higher cacao percentage increases the bitterness of the chocolate.
-Equipment - it is optional to use a heart shaped pan. For a real Valentino, bake it in a heart shaped pan or cut it out into a heart shape. You may use any shape pan that gives you an area of 50” - 6x8 or 7x7. An 8” spring form pan works with great results as do smaller pans or ramekins.
I didn't have any of these (my spring form pan came back with me after spring break, but this was before for my friend's birthday) so I used a regular 8" pan and wasn't able to unmold it, we just ate it out of the pan.
-An instant read thermometer highly recommended. (this is one of my top birthday presents)

Note on recipe - the recipe consists of 3 simple ingredients and how you interpret them is part of the challenge. The simplicity of this recipe gives credit to the ingredients much in the same way of French baguette.
-This recipe comes together very quickly with a hand mixer.
-This is a very decadent cake that will sink a little as it cools but will still hold its shape.
-Very dense and fudgy cake that tastes divine.
-The top forms a light crust kind of like a brownie

Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Notes: I overbeat the egg whites, which made it a little dry. Don't do this. If I made it again I would first, of course, use my springform pan, and second probably be a little more experimental with it. I might throw some cinnamon in it since I love the chocolate/cinnamon combination.

Also, cocoa whipped cream:
I pint whipped cream
Dash vanilla
cocoa (to taste) I went light on it to just provide a subtle tie between the cake and whipped cream. No one appreciated it, including me, since I don't like whipped cream, even when it's chocolate flavored

Beat the ingredients.

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