All about Food. B:9 Most of the blog will be about my various cooking experiments with some reviews of local restaurants thrown in once in a while. Reviews/food experiences from other place will be included also.

Friday, December 08, 2006

Gâteau au Chocolat (Chocolate Cake)

While I read reading my new book Jacques Pépin's The Complete Techniques, I came across a recipe for the basic sponge cake (génoise) that's very versatile. I decided to try out the recipe because I'm a fan of sponge cakes. The recipe called for two 8-inches round pan but we didn't have any in the house so I ended up using two 9-inches pan instead. What I thought was interesting was the first step where you heat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla over boiling water or the burner to make it lukewarm. Then you "over beat" the mixture for about 10 minutes because you need to add the melted butter at the very last stage. Flour was then sifted and folded into the mixture. Because the oven temperature is almost impossible to adjust, I ended up baking the cakes at around 170-175 C. When the cake came out of the oven, it looked gorgeous with this wonderful golden brown color. The smell was lovely also. Wid's mom thought the cake was a bit undercook, but it looked and felt fine to me. It was a bit hard to get the cake out of the pan, but maybe I was a bit too impatient while waiting for the cake to cool a bit.

After thinking for quite a bit about what sort of cake to make (fruit with cream, chocolate, or tiramisu), I decided on the chocolate cake filled with whipped ganache and coated with more ganache. The next day I assembled the cake. I cut each cake into halves. I couldn't cut the cake into thirds because it was too thin. I made two batches of ganache with semisweet chocolate (instead of half bitter/half semisweet because it's impossible to find bitter chocolate here) and heavy cream. First batch was whipped and flavored with a bit of rum, and I used this to frost each layer of the cake and all over the cake once it was assembled. The second batch was allowed to cook to room temperature which was then poured all over the cake to make the shell/coating. I wanted to follow the direction in the book to make the white frosting, which was used as decorations, but because we ran out of eggs I couldn't make the frosting nor could I make another frosting that I used for neapoleon because we can't find corn syrup. In the end, I combined a bit of powdered sugar with a bit of honey, water, and lime juice to make something that's workable. Unfortunately, I found out later that it doesn't cool well, but at least I got to decorate the cake.

It was really fun trying to frost and decorate the cake (a first for me), but the best and messiest part of the experience was dumping a large amount of ganache on the cake and letting it run off to the counter. The cake looked very amateur-ish, but it tasted great. Widhy really liked the taste of the cake. I thought the chocolate and the sponge cake went well together and not overwhelmingly sweet, but I'm not happy with the texture of the cake. My mom's sponge cakes always been softer and finer in texture, but all the cakes I had here are coarse. I'm pretty sure one of the reason is that the local flour is inferior to flour from US. Maybe once I mastered basic cake making techniques, I can switch to imported flour to make a better cake.

It kind of sucks to be handicapped by not so awesome ingriendents and bad equiptments. It's very frustrating. Well, at least the chocolate was awesome and it did produce really awesome results.

Labels: , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home