Monday, January 24, 2011

Spiced Chocolate Torte Part 3…Finally

We have finally arrived at act 3, the chocolate ribbons.
Chocolate Ribbons
7 ounces white chocolate
7 ounces of bittersweet or semisweet chocolate
1/2 cup of light corn syrup, divided IMG_1544I set up two double boilers. Melt the chocolate until smooth, then stir in 1/4 cup of corn syrup into each bowl of chocolate.IMG_1545Pour the chocolates onto a parchment lined baking sheet and chill in the refrigerator for 30-40 minutes, until firm.IMG_1547Next , knead the white chocolate several times on a clean work surface. Shape the chocolate into a ball, wrap in plastic, and let stand at room temperature for 1 hour. Repeat with the semisweet chocolate.IMG_1552Cut the ball of chocolate into 4 pieces. Flatten each piece until you are able to run it through a pasta roller set to the widest opening. Run the chocolate through the pasta roller 3 times at the widest setting, folding the chocolate in thirds before each pass. Turn the roller to the next narrower setting and run chocolate through once. If you don’t have a pasta roller, you’ll have to roll it by hand. You want the chocolate to be about 1/16th of an inch thick.IMG_1549Next, you’ll need to cut out four 8x1 inch strips of white chocolate and four 8x1/2 inch strips of semisweet. I cut out one 8x1 inch strip of parchment paper and one 8x1/2 strip of paper to use as templates. I put the chocolate on the cutting board and used my paper templates to help me cut uniform strips. Also, I found that a pizza cutter worked great for cutting the chocolate into strips.IMG_1550Now, just lay the semisweet strips on top of the white ones. Run the 4 strips from the base of the cake to the center as pictured above.IMG_1562We’re almost there. Using the same method from above, cut thirteen 6-1/2x1 inch strips of white chocolate and thirteen 6-1/2x1/2 inch strips of semisweet. Run four strips of ribbon from the top center of the cake over the sides about half way down. Cut the bottom of the strips at a 45 degree angle to look more like ribbons. These strips should run between the strips that run from the center to the base. The two of the shorter strips are pictured above to the left and right of the full length strip. The next 9 strips of chocolate will be used to make the bow on top. Fold 8 of the chocolate ribbon over into a bow piece. Use a knife to cut the ends of the bow into a “V” shape (as seen on the piece of cake pictured below. Arrange the eight bow pieces on top of the cake. Take the final ribbon and roll it in a loop to place in the center of the bow.IMG_1586Whew!!!! All that is left to do is impress your friends and family. Enjoy!!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Spiced Chocolate Torte Part 2

Let's move on to Part 2 of the Bon Appetit cake. This cake has a rich, rum buttercream frosting and a thick chocolate glaze covering the whole thing. Here we go.

Rum Buttercream Frosting
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup light corn syrup
4 egg yolks
1-1/2 cups butter (3 sticks) cut into small pieces, room temp
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
1/4 dark rum

Chocolate Glaze
12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup butter (1-1/2 sticks) cut into 12 pieces
2 Tbs honey
3/4 tsp instant espresso powderIMG_1516For the buttercream frosting, stir sugar and corn syrup together in a sauce pan over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
IMG_1519In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat egg yolks until pale and thick. Gradually beat in the hot sugar syrup. Continue beating until the mixture is cool, about 5 minutes.
IMG_1522Beat in the butter 1 piece at a time, incorporating each one before adding the next.
IMG_1525Blend in the melted chocolate, then the rum.
IMG_1527Reserve 1/2 cup of buttercream. Place 1 layer of cake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Spread 1/2 of the remaining buttercream on top of the first layer. Place the second cake on top of the first and cover with the remaining buttercream. Next, place the third layer of cake on top.
IMG_1530Use the reserved buttercream to fill in any gaps where the cake layers meet. Try to make the sides as smooth as possible. Finally, freeze the cake until the buttercream is firm, about 2 hours.
IMG_1532For the glaze, stir all the ingredients together in a double boiler until the mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and stir glaze for about 5 minutes, until it is thickened.
IMG_1536Remove cake from the freezer. Pour about 3/4 of the glaze over the top of the cake. Tilt the cake back and forth so the glaze runs down the sides. Smooth the sides with a spatula. Use the remaining glaze to coat the cake where necessary.
IMG_1539Chill the cake until the glaze is set, about 20-30 minutes
You're almost done. stay tuned for Part 3

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Spiced Chocolate Torte Part 1

I was certainly hoping to have this recipe posted before Christmas. Unfortunately, my computer crash prevented that. On the bright side, we got a shiny new computer for Christmas. Although it’s not quite as exciting when you have to pay for it yourself. Let’s talk about this cake. This cake just jumped of the cover of December’s issue of Bon Appetit. The letter from the editor inside the magazine gave me all the reasons I needed try this cake. The cake first appeared on Bon Appetit’s cover in 1984. Since then “it remains our most requested recipe.” I knew I wanted had to try this cake, until………. I read the recipe. After I read the recipe, a few thoughts went through my head. Most of them were cynical and skeptical in nature. To help you understand, let me highlight some of the ingredients going into this cake; 7.5 sticks of butter, 12 eggs, over 2.5 pounds of chocolate, and 1 cup of corn syrup plus nearly 3 cups of sugar. It’s OK, take a moment to catch your breath. So, my first thought was: If you want to pinpoint when the obesity epidemic in this country started, I believe it very well could have been December 1984, when this recipe was first published. My second thought after reading the recipe was: “it remains our most requested recipe.” Really?? My final thought: it must be incredible, let’s do this!

The cake is quite an undertaking so I ‘m breaking it up into three separate posts. Part 1 will be the cake recipe. Part 2 will be the butter cream frosting and the chocolate glaze. Finally, part 3 will be the ribbon decorations.

Spiced Chocolate Torte Wrapped in Chocolate Ribbons:
Modified to be Gluten Free
1-1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks)room temp
2 cups of granulated sugar
8 eggs, separated, room temp
10 ounces, bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (do not exceed 61% cacao), melted, room temp
1-1/2 cups finely chopped pecans
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp nutmeg
1-1/3 cups
gf flour mix plus extra for pans
1/8 tsp xanthan gum
1/8 tsp of salt
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
Start by preheating the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and gf flour 3- 9inch round pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a piece of parchment paper. Butter and flour the paper.
In a small bowl, whisk together the gf flour, xanthan gum, cinnamon, cloves, and nutmeg. Set aside.Using a double boiler, melt chocolate. Take melted chocolate off the heat and allow to cool to near room temperature. To save a little money, I used a mix of semi sweet chocolate chips along with chopped semi sweet chocolate from a bar.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in the 8 egg yolks 1 at a time.
Next, blend in the melted chocolate. Slowly mix in the chopped pecans and vanilla extract. Gently mix in the flour in 4 batches. The batter will be thick and dense. In a separate bowl, use a hand mixer to whip the 8 egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar until medium peaks form. Gently fold in 1/4 of the egg whites into the batter. Then fold in the remaining egg whites.
Divide the batter equally between the 3 prepared cake pans. Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 35-40 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Remove from the oven and allow the cakes to cool for 10 minutes in the pan before inverting onto a cooling rack. It may help to run a knife around the side of each cake before inverting onto a rack.

Stay tuned for Part 2.