Saturday, February 28, 2009

Daring Bakers: Chocolate Valentino

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

It's fitting that February's Daring Bakers challenge is a cake recipe. It's the perfect choice since this just happens to be my one year blog-o-versary. (Yeah me! I've managed to say a lot about nothing for a whole year!!) Doubly perfect, since the Daring Bakers was the first baking group I joined back in March of last year.

I guess I'm feeling a little nostalgic about my journey with the Daring Bakers. Most recipes I've adored (my favorite was the Danish Braid), some not so much, but in all cases I've learned and grown as a baker. Thanks so much to Lis and Ivonne for starting this wonderful group and letting us all come along for the ride.

OK, on to February's challenge... a flourless chocolate cake aptly named Chocolate Valentino.

We bakers were to pair our cake with a home made ice cream of our choice. I couldn't resist flavoring my ice cream with my new best friend, browned butter. I found this recipe on Epicurious, but omitted the peanut brittle. I wanted pure, unadulterated browned butter heaven.

We got our cake, we got our ice cream. Let's get this party started!

The verdict? This was my first flourless chocolate cake and I didn't quite know what to expect. The texture was... ethereal. (Do you ever think you know the definition of a word, but when you go to use it, you're not sure? I looked up the definition of "ethereal" and it said "exceptionally delicate", which perfectly describes this confection.) I don't know how, but somehow it held together. I guess it was magic! As mentioned in the recipe notes, it tasted exactly like the chocolate I used, which was a mixture of semi-sweet chocolates. It was definitely tasty, but I might use some milk chocolate if I made this again, since I prefer it.

And the ice cream? It was incredible. Fantastic even.

It was perfect for my blogoversary. (I guess I need to go find something to give away, since that appears to be customary.) Until then, the recipe will have to suffice.

I have included some of Wendy and Dharm's notes at the bottom.

Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling, butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment (see notes below for pan size).
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater, beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C. (I'm embarrassed to admit that I didn't check until it was 170 F on the instant read thermo. D'oh! It still tasted good and I didn't sense any burned chocolate taste.)
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Note on recipe - the recipe consists of 3 simple ingredients and how you interpret them is part of the challenge. The simplicity of this recipe gives credit to the ingredients much in the same way of French baguette.
-This recipe comes together very quickly with a hand mixer.
-This is a very decadent cake that will sink a little as it cools but will still hold its shape.
-Very dense and fudgy cake that tastes divine.
-The top forms a light crust kind of like a brownie
- Use your favorite chocolate – the finished cake will taste exactly like the chocolate you use. Be creative with your chocolate, if you like a sweeter cake use milk chocolate or a combination of the semisweet and milk chocolate. If you like bittersweet chocolate use that and add sweetness by mixing the semi sweet with bittersweet. If you are daring, try white chocolate. (Dharm used all bittersweet and Wendy used a half bitter/half semi sweet chocolate).
- A higher cocoa percentage increases the bitterness of the chocolate.
-Equipment - it is optional to use a heart shaped pan. For a real Valentino, bake it in a heart shaped pan or cut it out into a heart shape. You may use any shape pan that gives you an area of 50 square inches - 6x8 or 7x7. An 8” spring form pan works with great results as do smaller pans or ramekins.
-An instant read thermometer is highly recommended.

Please stop by the Daring Bakers blogroll to check out the other delicious creations. See you next month!


Elyse said...

Yay for Blogiversaries!! This ice cream and cake looks like something I wish I could have had at a birthday party--forget all those sugary roses. Flourless chocolate cake and browned butter ice cream, please! Your presentation was gorgeous, and from the description, these goodies tasted even better than they looked!

Megan said...

What a great looking cake - and the ice cream sure looks delicious. I've never had browned butter before, but it sounds really good!

Debyi said...

Happy Blogiversary!! That's so exciting! Your cake looks great. Your ice cream sounds delicious as well. Great job.

Snooky doodle said...

looks so nice in a cake shape :). this cake is so good. happy bloganniversary :)

Natashya said...

Happy blogoversary!
Your cake is so pretty, and brown butter ice cream sounds so very inviting..

Cakelaw said...

Happy blogiversary Jacque. Browned butter icecream is an inspired choice - yum!

Jude said...

Happy bloggoversary! Definitely a fitting challenge :)

Bunny said...

Happy Blogiversary!! I started last march as well! I've never made a flourless cake, I think it's high time I did, this looks magnificent! I prefer semi sweet too!

The Food Librarian said...

Happy Blogiversary! this looks so wonderful!

Beryl said...

What a great way to celebrate your blogiversary! Brown butter ice cream? Wow!

Heather B said...

Love your cake! It looks fabulous! And the ice cream sounds divine. Great job!

Elle said...

Happy one year!! And one year as a Daring Baker, pretty much, too. Woot! Love you stacked birthday mini cake and the ice cream sounds like heaven.

Engineer Baker said...

Happy blogiversary! What a perfect way to celebrate it - with browned butter and chocolate :)

Lisa Michelle said...

Happy Blogiversary! That said, love how you stacked the cakes tp tier them, and browned butter ice cream is an incredible accoutrement! Lovely job!

Heather said...

Happy Blogiversery!! Your DB came out great!!

Stephanie said...

Happy blog birthday! Your cake looks so pretty!

Anonymous said...

Happy blogoversary!! I love the cake. How creative! The ice cream sounds delicious too!

Amy said...

This sounds divine - perfect for a 1-year party!

Gigi said...

Happy Blog-o-versary! I love how you tiered the cake. Great pics!

Grace said...

great, great idea, jacque! i'd say your anniversary with the daring bakers was a complete success. i don't think i've ever had a cake that made me think of the word "ethereal," but now i want to. :)

Spike said...

Happy anniversary! browned butter ice cream sounds great

Vera said...

Very Happy Birthday to your blog, Jacque! And many more years of blogging to come!
The cake looks wonderful, and this ice cream sounds incredibly good!

Kimberly Johnson said...

Happy blogiversary! Your cake and ice cream both look fantastic! Mmmm brown butter ice cream ...

Jo said...

Great job on your challenge and love your presentation .. very creative.

Jenny said...

Happy blogoversary wishes from a fellow and newbie Daring Baker. The chocolate valentino was my first challenge and like you I found it very very tasty! I love your presentation - very nice pics.

Debbie said...

I very much enjoyed reading about your cake and ice cream! Brown butter ... I too am a fan!