Actually there are a few recipes that I wanted to share. But I am willing to let this entry jumps the queue, seeing that it's Thanksgiving this Thursday, and you may want some dessert ideas, other than pumpkin pie.
This is the chocolate cake I made for a dinner party last Friday. The cake and frosting is a combination I have made in the past. I feel more comfortable bringing a tried and true dessert to any party, as oppose to something new and potentially exciting. Call me inadventurous, I certainly don't want to use it as an opportunity to experiment with new recipes. Hey, it is my reputation at stake. Although I am not sure if I have one at the moment. Having said that, I am pretty sure the nice people in OCT's lab wouldn't mind being my guinea pigs. Which in a way,they already are, eating whatever I conjure most of the Fridays.
As much as I enjoy baking, cake decorating is something I dread. I can't pipe anything without being mistaken as a child's work. Cake decorating is undoubtedly one aspect that I need to work on. For the time being, my idea of decorating consists of microwave melted chocolate in a ziploc bag, and snipped off a tiny hole at one corner to trace a simple pattern.
As you can see, my drawing is pretty untidy. There's even a puddle of white chocolate in the center of the cake, where the circles intersect. I had no choice but to cover it with some hazelnuts. Luckily, I always keep a selection of nuts on hand.
As for the lady fingers on the sides, they were there for a reason. Their mission was to cover the somewhat bare sides I left behind, after realizing I didn't make enough frosting to cover the whole cake. The pack of lady fingers is the hero that saved my day. :)
A ribbon tied around the cake make the recipient feel special, and hold all lady fingers in place.
This is just my 2 cents on how to decorate a cake without resorting to the piping bag and tips. So, what are you making for Thanksgiving?
Chocolate Lovers' Chocolate Cake
cake base and filling adapted from this recipe
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Filling:(enough to fill one layer)
Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache
(adapted from Alice Medrich's Bittersweet)
1 cup heavy cream
3 ounces 72% chocolate
2 teaspoons granulated sugar
For the ganache: (used as topping)
1/3 cup (3 oz) heavy cream
4 ounces best-quality bittersweet/dark chocolate
lady fingers, soaked briefly in syrup (heat some raspberry preserve and water in a saucepan, sugar to taste)
melted white chocolate
Make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350°. Butter two 8-inch round cake pans and line them with parchment paper; butter the paper. Dust the pans with flour, tapping out any excess.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle, mix the flour with the sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt at low speed. In a medium bowl, whisk the buttermilk with the oil, eggs and vanilla. Slowly beat the buttermilk mixture into the dry ingredients until just incorporated, then slowly beat in the hot coffee until fully incorporated.
Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake for 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of each cake comes out clean. Let the cakes cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then invert the cakes onto a rack to cool completely. Peel off the parchment paper.
Make the whipped gananche:
Heat the heavy cream and sugar in a small saucepan until it bubbles on the edges and immediately pour it over the chocolate. Allows the heat from the cream to melt the chocolate.Let stand for 10-15 minutes. Slowly stir to make sure that the chocolate has completely melted. Chill for at least 6 hours or overnight, and whip the ganache only when ready to use.
Make the gananche :
Bring 1/3 cup of heavy cream to a near boil in a small saucepan.When it is steaming well, remove it from heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Stir or whisk until the chocolate is melted. The mixture should be smooth. Let stand until the ganache is warm enough to be poured over the cake.
Assemble the cake:
Set a cake layer on a plate with the flat side facing up. Evenly spread the whipped ganache over the cake. Top with the second cake layer, rounded side up. Spread a thin layer of the whipped gananche over the top and side of the cake. Arrange lady fingers immediately around the cake.
Pour the gananche to cover the top of the cake.Unleash your imagination and use the melted chocolate to sketch whatever pattern that strike your fancy. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour before slicing.