Friday, July 31, 2009

Moist Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache, and my first attempt at White Icing

I have been on a roll making cakes for the birthdays of friends' children. Jodi asked me to make little chocolate cupcakes last week for Renee's birthday, which I was glad to do. They were 'bare' as she frosted and decorated them herself. Topped with chocolate frosting and M&M's on the top, they were a chocolate sensation!

This week it's Keane and Zern's birthday. They're friends with Etienne, and their mom YP is a good friend of mine. They're chocolate lovers and so Chocolate Cake it was. This time I simply poured a chocolate ganache over and let it drip down the sides. The combination of the two was chocolate heaven.

I knew I wanted to dress the cake up with more than just sprinkles. So I decided to attempt white icing. I had always felt intimidated by white icing, thinking it would be hard to do, and had to be very careful when handling it. Temperatures had to be right or it would be too soft, too dry or too hard. So with cornstarch in hand, I tackled a pack of ready made white icing, and simply cut the shapes out. Not knowing how they'd feel, I thought I'd keep it simple this time. It was surprisingly easy. Felt like the paper clay projects I used to make way back when. I feel brave enough now to attempt other shapes and figurines. For Keane and Zern, I had just stamped their initials out with a cookie cutter and set them on a circle. KZ looked like it was short for 'Kazam!' and that prompted me to add lighting bolts for that 'superhero' feel.

I am very pleased with the way the entire cake turned out. The cake was just the right chocolatey sweetness, and the ganache simply highlighted that flavour. Dark and delicious. The colours of the white icing stood out against the chocolate. The white icing was merely for show and we peeled it off before eating.

Prior to this I wanted to (and still do) learn more about white icing. I tried to look for information but could not find the answer to my question. What's the difference between fondant, sugarpaste and white icing? Is it the same thing by a different name? If not, what's the difference and how should it be treated? When modelling figurines, must I use only sugar glue or will water do? What's the best type of food colour to use? Answers very much appreciated. Thanks.

Chocolate Cake (adapted from Betty Yew's Kitchen Secrets)

Makes 1X8” square cake

Butter 180g
Sugar 360g
Eggs 3 large
Instant coffee 1 tsp
Hot water 1 tbsp
Vanilla 1 tsp
Water 1 cup
Plain flour 240g
Cocoa powder 75g
Baking powder 1 tsp
Baking soda 1 tsp
Salt ½ tsp

Grease and line an 8” square cake pan. Sift the dry ingredients and set aside. Cream butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well. Dissolve coffee in 1 tbsp water. Stir in vanilla and add the remaining cup of water. Fold in the coffee mixture alternately with the dry ingredients in 3 batches, starting with the flour. Blend well and pour into the tin. Bake in preheated 175C oven for 55 minutes. Test with a skewer. Leave to cool in pan for 20 minutes and then turn onto rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Ganache

Chocolate 200g, broken into pieces
Whipping cream 150ml

Place both ingredients into a bowl and set it over a pot of simmering water (double boiler style) do not allow the water to touch the bowl. Allow the chocolate to melt. Stir till the mixture is smooth and shiny. Remove from heat and allow to cool a little. When slightly thickened, pour over the cake allowing the ganache to drip over the sides.

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