It took me quite a while, after looking through so many blogging events online, sifting through the ones that looked too intimidating, I finally found one that fit the bill. It wasn’t a contest (i managed to squell the competitive streak in me), and it would keep me baking. Or rather, encourage me to blog about the lovelies that came out of my oven…
You see, I bake. Quite a fair bit. But what generally happens is that I baked and ate them. End of story. I’ve thought about blogging about them, but that’s where it ended. That’s right, ladies and gents! I am a procrastinating baker! There. I’ve said it. Hello, my name is Lynette, and I’m….
Big thanks to Laurie for coming up with Tuesdays with Dorie! Where a member gets to choose from Baking each week, and everyone does their take on it and posts about it on their blog. This week’s (and my very first go at this) is the Almost-Fudge Gâteau. And might I say, this is one decadent cake, and highly recommended for a special occassion.
Dorie recommends a bittersweet chocolate for this recipe, but looking at the ingredients (very little flour and butter… but 5 eggs!), I figured that this was going to be a pretty dense piece of art, so i opted to go with a 66% Valrhona Alpaco, that has a lovely woody, earthy taste. It was G.O.O.D! It was dense, as expected, and the lighter chocolate worked perfectly. As the name described, it was almost like fudge, with a hint of crumb. Delish!
The cake, overall, was fairly easy to make. although the part where it called for the beating of the egg whites to ‘firm but glossy peaks’ did scare me for a minute. I’ve always had this irrational fear for egg whites, or to be specific, whipping egg whites. You see, there’s always talk about how you have to be careful with whipped egg whites. How they are delicate, and how, when handled wrongly, they could ruin everything!! And I didn’t want that to happen. And it’s this fear that had kept me from attempting to make my favourites like meringues (Dorie has a FAB cocoa almond meringues recipe in Baking, pg 155) and macaroons… I speak in the past tense, but that’s another story for another day.
The gâteau (or iced sponge cake, in French) rose beautifully in the oven. Mind you, the only raising agents in this were the revered egg whites, so this meant that they would make or break this cake. You could probably imagine me pacing back and forth in the kitchen, peering at it through the oven window. And of course my sigh of relief when it did what Dorie said it would, rise on the sides, then puffed in the center. Phew!
The glaze was delicious, and was the perfect balance to the cake. The sprinkles, on hindsight, were a little tacky. But it had been so cold and dreary in Hong Kong for the last couple of days, that I wanted to inject some color into it.
Yellow + Orange = Sun, no? Well.. my bad! *shrugs*
I leave you the recipe, and strongly encourage everyone out there to give this a try… you know you’ll regret it if you don’t!
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5 large eggs
9 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup of sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 tablespoons coffee or water
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch of salt
For the Glaze (optional)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
½ cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper, dust the inside of the pan with flour and tap out the excess. Place the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or a silicone mat.
Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a mixer bowl or other large bowl and the yolks in a small bowl.
Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and add the chocolate, sugar butter and coffee. Stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are melted; the sugar may still be grainy, and that’s fine. Transfer the bowl to the counter and let the mixture sit for 3 minutes.
Using a rubber spatula, stir in the yolks one by one, then fold in the flour.
Working with the whisk attachment of the mixer or a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the pinch of salt until they hold firm, but glossy peaks. Using the spatula, stir about one quarter of the beaten whites into the batter, then gently fold in the rest. Scrape the butter into the pan and jiggle the pan from side to side a couple of times to even the batter.
Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the cake has risen evenly (it might rise around the edges and you’ll think it’s done, but give it a few minutes more, and the center will puff too) and the top has firmed (it will probably be cracked) and doesn’t shimmy when tapped; a thin knife inserted into the center should come out just slightly streaked with chocolate. Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and let the cake rest for 5 to 10 minutes.
Run a blunt knife gently around the edges of the cake and remove the sides of the pan. Carefully turn the cake over onto a rack and remove the pan bottom and the parchment paper. Invert the cake onto another rack and cool to room temperature right side up. As the cake cools, it may sink.
To Make the Optional Glaze:
First, turn the cooled cake over onto another rack so you’ll be glazing the flat bottom, and place the rack over a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper to catch any drips.
Put the chocolate in a small heatproof bowl.
Melt the chocolate over a pan of simmering water or in a microwave oven â€“ the chocolate should be just melted and only warm, not hot. Meanwhile, bring the cream to a boil in a small sauce pan. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and stir very gently with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Stir in the corn syrup.
Pour the glaze over the cake and smooth the top with a long metal icing spatula. Don’t worry if the glaze drips unevenly down the sides of the cake â€“ it will just add to its charms. Allow the glaze to set at room temperature or, if you’re impatient, slip the cake into the refrigerator for about 20 minutes. If the glaze dulls in the fridge, just give it a little gentle heat from a hairdryer.