Tuesday, November 17, 2009
TWD - Chocolate Caramel Chestnut Cake
Guess who had a birthday? My baby boy is 22. How the heck did that happen? Of course, a birthday is celebrated with cake. A special boy deserves a very special cake. Happily this birthday coincides with the week to try a celebratory cake recipe from Dorie Greenspan's Baking From my home to yours.
Chocolate Caramel Chestnut Cake is supposed to contain, well, chestnuts and chestnut puree. Since my family is slightly "new food" averse, I decided to omit any chestnuts. Instead I made a walnut puree.
Walnut Puree with Vanilla
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 vanilla bean pod
1/2 cup ground walnuts
Make a simple vanilla syrup using the sugar, water and vanilla. Place the sugar and water in a small heavy-bottomed sauce pan. Scrape in the vanilla beans. Bring to just a boil and stir until the sugar completely dissolves. Have the ground walnuts in a heatproof bowl. Add the warm syrup to the walnuts and stir until mixed.
That was just the beginning. Creating this cake was a two day event. The first night I baked the cake. The walnut puree was incorporated into the batter. Because in this recipe the eggs are separated, the beatened whites help the cake retain its light texure, even under the weight of the sugar syrup and nuts.
For baking, I used a 9 1/2" round springform pan with 3" sides. When fully baked, this cake filled most of the pan. It did take an extra 20 minutes over Dorie's suggested 48 minutes.
The next morning, I started with the caramel sauce. This was my third caramel sauce, so I now know not to touch the pan while it's boiling. Not even a swirl. Just let it darken. Then stand back and add the cream.
The taste highlight of this recipe is that the caramel is added to the milk chocolate ganache. Dorie is right - you make the cake because it's rude to eat all the ganache straight from the bowl. Though I tried.
This is a very dense dessert. A pound of butter, more than two cups of heavy cream - that was just the start. I used two whole 300 gram bars of Lindt chocolate, the milk chocolate for the ganache and the dark for the glaze.
This cake is so rich, we're eating it a sliver at a time.
With the cake as I made it, the ganache was ridiculously delicious, but the caramel was not necessary. For those who made this with the chestnuts, did you find the caramel in the ganache added an important flavour balance?
Please go to Second Dinner, the blog of Katya. She has the complete recipe posted there along with her photos of the baking process. As Katya says, this is a serious cake.