Saturday, July 16, 2011
Actually, if you include the little chocolate jimmies around the bottom, it would be a quadruple chocolate torte, but who's counting anyway?
I am desperately trying to get caught up here on the blog and the other site I write for, Honest Cooking, before things get crazy and I start my pastry job. I have so many pictures of goodies that I want to share with all of you, but I am already having trouble finding time to sit down and get my writing on. I began my third quarter of school this week, and I can't believe how fast it is flying by. I have to say so long to all the tortes and cakes we have been focusing on for the first half of my schooling, and switch gears over to savories (meaning spending 4 hours mincing and julienning vegetables) and plated desserts.
We will get a sneak peek this quarter into the world of restaurant pastry production, and I can't wait. I have been pretty set that I want to be in a bakery and would never want to work on the line, but I am keeping an open mind and trying to soak up as much knowledge as humanly possible.
This chocolate torte was one of my favorites from last quarter, it was chocolate-ly, but not overly rich, and had nice strawberry surprise providing just a hint of fruitiness in the middle layer. The chocolate shavings on the top came from a really really thick hazelnut chocolate bar, but you can substitute smaller ones from any chocolate bar you have on hand. In class we used a 2-stage cake recipe with emulsified shortening, but since the vaseline-like fluid flex kind of squicks me out a little, I am going to give you my favorite devils food chocolate cake recipe instead.
Chocolate Ganache Torte
adapted from Zoe Bakes and Professional Baking
3 cups granulated sugar
2 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1 1/8 cups dark cocoa powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
2 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
3 large eggs
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
3/4 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/4 cup hot coffee
1/4 cup amaretto liqueur
Butter and flour the sides of two 9" cake pans, and line bottom with a circle of parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
In a large bowl, whisk together the sugar and vegetable oil until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking until thoroughly incorporated after each addition. Add the buttermilk and vanilla and wisk to combine.
Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cocoa powder, and salt into a large bowl. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk just until combined. Add the hot coffee and amaretto and whisk until incorporated.
Fill each cake pan 2/3 the way full and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, and center springs back when pressed gently with your finger, about 35-40 minutes.
Let cakes cool completely before assembling.
1 1/2 lb. heavy cream
1 1/2 lb. dark or bitter sweet chocolate, chopped
Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Heat heavy cream over medium heat until it comes to a simmer, then pour over chocolate. Let sit for a minute or two, then gently whisk until smooth. Let ganache cool until it is a spreadable consistency. You can make this ahead of time and chill until ready to use. Just put the chilled ganache in a stand mixer and mix with the paddle attachment until it becomes soft and spreadable.
6-8 strawberries, hulled and sliced thinly
1-2 tablespoons grand marnier
1 tablespoon sugar
Mix strawberries, grand marnier, and sugar in a small bowl and let sit at room temp for 10-15 minutes.
Slice each cake in half so you have four layers of cake. Place the first layer of cake on a flat plate or cake stand and spread a thin layer of chocolate ganache all the way to the edges. Place the second layer of cake on top, and again spread a thin layer of ganache to the edges. Arrange a single layer of strawberries over the ganache, and top with another layer of cake. Fill with ganache, and top the cake with the last layer. With the remaining ganache, cover the outside of the cake, if you find the ganache hard to spread at any point place bowl of ganache over gently simmering water for just a few seconds to help loosen it up.
Decorate as you wish with chocolate sprinkles and/or chocolate shavings. You could also garnish with a little cocoa powder and some strawberries. This would be made even better with a big ol scoop of vanilla ice cream.