February 28, 2009

I decided that what with all my unrequired veganizing and complicating of things, I should join the ranks of the Daring Bakers. One might decide to brand me rather a rash baker or perhaps an incorrigible one, but neither of those handles lend themselves to wearing capes so "daring" it is. In any case, this is my first post as a daring baker and I'm very honored and excited to be counted among them. As a daring baker I am responsible for completing a culinary challenge each month. One of the requirements is typically little to no variation from the given recipe, a restraint at which I initially balked but which is really a blessing where I'm concerned. Sometimes I should just follow the recipe because someone along the line has to have know what they were doing. Particularly if they were French.

Anyhoot, here's the blurb: 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.

This was the perfect challenge. Not only have I lately been nostalgic for my old favorite dessert (the chocolate cake from Just Desserts that only made an appearance on birthdays) but my ice cream maker was long overdue for a dust-off (two or three less than successful runs and it's been moldering in the corner for months? who am I?). This task was also a true challenge because it forced me to attack a technique I have never attempted: whipping egg whites into stiff peaks. No, my aversion to eggs in baked goods is not actually covering up a latent fear of exposing a gimpy whisking arm, but I don't make meringue and I rarely make cakes and etc etc basically I've never done it. I have emulsified in the name of aioli, however, so I entered the challenge only slightly daunted.

The cake that emerged from my chocolate fume-belching oven was so delicious and decadent that I almost couldn't believe I had produced it without the help of oats, yogurt, molasses, bananas or any of my other frequent crutches. The soy ice cream was not as much of a success story, but it was passable (luckily I had enough soy milk leftover to keep me from going into a chocolate coma while eating the cake). All in all this challenge was a joy and I can't wait until next month!

Chocolate Valentino Cake and Vanilla Pecan Soy Ice Cream
courtesy of the Daring Bakers, with help from PPK and David Lebovitz

A note regarding the cake: I had neither the required cooking utensil (an 8" springform pan) nor any parchment paper with which to line it. I split the batter into two buttered and sugared 6" ramekins instead and they worked perfectly. The cakes were a cinch to tip out of the ramekins and the sugary crust did not detract from their deliciousness.

For cake:

16 oz semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
1 stick + 2 Tbl unsalted butter
5 large eggs, separated
Preheat oven to 375.

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.

While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.

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).

With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.

Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.

Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining whites. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.

Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C

Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
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.

Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

For pecans:
2 cups toasted (for about 10 minutes at 350) and chopped pecans
1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil
1 1/2 Tbl dark brown sugar
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 1/2 tsp maple syrup
3/4 tsp coarse or kosher salt
Mix other ingredients together before adding pecans. Thoroughly coat the nuts and spread them on a parchment or foil-lined baking sheet.

Place baking sheet in the 350 degree oven for 10 minutes, making sure to stir the nuts a few times while they cook. Remove and allow to cool, separating the nuts as they become cool and crispy.

For ice cream:
6 oz vanilla soy yogurt
4 oz silken tofu
2 tsp vanilla
1/3 cup maple syrup
1 cup soy milk
Combine all the ingredients in food processor and blend until thoroughly combined and smooth. Pour into ice cream maker and follow the instructions, adding the cooled pecans just as the ice cream is beginning to thicken.

1 comment:

Andreas said...

Welcome to the Daring Bakers. Well done on your first Challenge. And don't neglect your ice cream maker. It deserves some care and attention. ;)