Black-and-White-Chocolate Cake

Two of my good friends are getting married in June and have asked me to make the cake (eek!).  They are planning on having other desserts but want a small cake for tradition's sake.  They key criteria is that it taste good (which I think I can handle) but it also needs to be somewhat photographable (which I'm not so sure about). 

They haven't decided what flavor they want and I've decided I need some practice so I am declaring May to be cake month.  I want to cook a variety of cakes so my friends can pick their favorite and also improve my layer cake building (this one fell over) and decorating skills.  Plus, I realize I don't bake cakes very much, so this will be a fun change of pace.
I think I should have started out with a simpler cake, though, because I may have topped out with this one.  It is a quadruple layer cake with two different chocolate fillings and it is delicious.  The first filling is a dark chocolate custard cream filling.
The second filling and the frosting is white chocolate whipped cream.  The cake is a buttermilk cake, moist and rich, not too sweet.  The cake got excellent reviews from all my friends and the future bride and groom.
I am not going to pretend to be an expert on constructing layer cakes.  My normal philosophy is if it tastes good, the appearance is less important.  If the cake is making an appearance at a wedding however, this may not be the case.  As the month progresses, hopefully I will improve and will obviously let you know any tips and tricks I discover.
As you can see below, however, my cake building skills leave something to be desired.  With layer cakes, it is really important to cut off the cake domes so each layer is and even thickness.  I tried but managed to make them pretty uneven anyway, so my cake sagged to one side.  I got a rotating cake stand in hopes of helping fix this, we'll see if that helps anything.

Black-and-White-Chocolate Cake

2 cups cake flour
2 tsps baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tbsps) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
6 tbsps sugar
3 tbsps cornstarch, sifted
1/4 tsp salt
7 ox bittersweet chocolate, melted
2 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces, at room temperature
6 oz premium-quality white chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1. For the cake: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9-x-2-inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour, tap out the excess and line the bottoms of the pans with parchment or wax paper. Put the pans on a baking sheet.
2. Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
3. With a stand mixer, beat the butter on medium speed until soft and creamy. Ad the sugar and beat for another 3 minutes.
4. Add the eggs one by one, and then the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla.
5.Reduce mixer speed to low and add 1/3 of the dry ingredients, followed by 1/2 the buttermilk, alternating until everything is added. Mix only until the ingredients are blended into the batter.
6. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans and smooth the tops with a rubber spatula. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, rotating the pans at the midway point. When fully baked, the cakes will be golden and springy to the touch and a thin knife inserted into the centers will come out clean. Transfer the cakes to a rack and cool for about 5 minutes, then unmold, remove the paper and invert to cool to room temperature right side up on the rack.
7. For the dark chocolate cream: Bring the milk to a boil. Meanwhile, in a large heavy-bottomed saucepan, whisk the egg yolks with the sugar, cornstarch and salt until thick and well blended.
8. Whisking without stopping, drizzle in about 1/4 cup of the hot milk to temper the yolks. Add the remainder of the milk in a steady stream.
9. Put the pan over medium heat and, whisking vigorously, constantly and thoroughly (make sure to get into the edges of the pan), bring the mixture to a boil. Keep at a boil, still whisking, for 1 to 2 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat.
10. Whisk in the melted chocolate, and let stand for 5 minutes. Then whisk in the pieces of butter, stirring until they are fully incorporated and the chocolate cream is smooth and silky. Press a piece of plastic wrap against the surface of the cream and refrigerate until chilled or up to 3 days.
11. For the white chocolate whipped cream: Put the white chocolate in a heatproof bowl and melt (in a pan over simmering water or the microwave). Meanwhile, bring 1/2 cup of heavy cream to a boil.
12. When the white chocolate is melted, remove the bowl from the pan. Pour the hot cream into the melted chocolate and let it sit for a minute. Using a small spatula, stir the chocolate gently until it is smooth. Let it sit on the counter until it reaches room temperature - it can't be the least bit warm when you add it to the whipped cream.
13. Whisk 1 cup heavy cream only until it holds the softest peaks. Add the cooled white chocolate all at once and continue to beat until the whipped cream holds firm peaks. Turn the whipped cream into a bowl, press a piece of plastic wrap gently against the surface to create an airtight seal and refrigerate for at least 2 hours, or up to 6 hours.
14. Assembling the cake: If the tops of the cake layers have crowned, use a long serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion to even them. Slice each layer horizontally in half. Place one layer cut side down on a cake plate.
15. Remove the dark and white chocolate creams from the refrigerator and whisk each vigorously to loosen and smooth them. With a long metal icing spatula, spread enough dark chocolate cream (about 1 cup)_ over the cake layer to cover it completely. Top the cream with another cake layer, cut side up, and cover this layer with white chocolate whipped cream, making the white layer about the same thickness as the dark layer.
16. Cover with a third layer, cut side up, and cover with another cup or so of the dark chocolate cream. (You'll have some dark chocolate cream left over, use it as a dip for madeleines or sables.) Top with the final layer of cake, cut side down, and frost the sides and top with the remaining white chocolate whipped cream. If you'd like to decorate the top with chocolate shavings or curls, do it now. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight.
Recipe from Baking; From my home to yoursk by Leslie Mackie
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