Jan 23, 2011
Hanaâ, Woody, and I did a blind chocolate taste test. Neither Hanaâ nor I had found 53% cacao chocolate (although when I was at Whole Foods the next day, I saw that they had bulk 53% chocolate). I provided Lindt 50% and Paul Newman 54%. Hanaâ brought a big brick of Cote d'Or, which she had bought at an airport in Europe.
We all preferred the Cote d'Or, even though it had the lowest percentage of cacao. It was smooth, yet had a bold chocolate taste. The Lindt was smooth, but a little too fruity, and the Paul Newman wasn't bad, but had an aftertaste.
After we chose our chocolate, we got to work on the genoise, which we could (almost) do without looking at the directions. After baking cakes for a year and a half, I have gotten very fond of a genoise. When I first started baking, my preference was definitely the butter cake. Every time I make a genoise, though, I see its virtues more clearly. Delicate, light, and moist, with a chameleon-like ability to take on other flavors, it is now perhaps my favorite cake.
As usual, I am amazed by the transformation of eggs to genoise batter:
I had made the beurre noisette ahead of time. I cooked the butter for a few minutes longer, hoping to get a nice, rich brown and not a burned mess.
Fortunately for me, I did; I think this is the best one I've made so far.
Just 20 minutes in the oven yields a lovely, golden layer.
I put myself in charge of syruping the cake and Hanaâ in charge of the whipped mocha. That's because all I had to do was cut the top off the cake. Hanaâ got the hard part.
I also got to fill out the testing form that Woody had brought for us. I couldn't find a ruler. Woody told me I should always have a ruler at my side when I'm baking. Jim was pretty sure he had a Ruler App. Luckily, I found a ruler before Jim could start talking about Apps.
Woody warned darkly that we had not allowed enough time to make the ganache. Hanaâ smiled sweetly and told him we could do the shortcut in no time. She briefly zapped the chocolate, and quickly cut it into small bits. She is no slouch with a knife.
Before you knew what was happening, she'd melted and cooled the chocolate, and whipped the cream--voila! light whipped mocha ganache.
We had a little discussion about who was going to frost the cake. Since Hanaâ no longer had the knife in her hand, I felt free to be stubborn and tell her there was no way I was going to do it when she was in the same room. I admired her skill, not to mention the results. She could have been a surgeon. Just as well she went in a different direction--she'd probably want to decorate people's midsections after doing appendectomies.
In no time at all, we were ready for tasting. Woody brought along another top secret cake. Since it's a secret, I will only say that it's over-the-top chocolate. Or, if you don't want to say it's over the top, you'd have to say it's at the very top of the chocolate heap--the Pinnacle Cake?
Although, come to think of it, the Tres Café Genoise could give any cake a run for its money in a contest for top-of-the-heapdom. When you've got a delicious genoise with just a hint of coffee (Hanaâ and I opted not to add coffee powder to the cake itself, so I guess ours was really a Deux Café Cake), that you top with a sinfully smooth and delectable whipped ganache, you have to bow to no cake. I loved this cake so much I was glad to cut it in half. I'm still trying to lose that stubborn holiday weight, and having this cake around would do me no good at all.
Hanaâ: "I think this is one of my favorite cakes."
Karen: "This cake has such a nice texture, and it's very moist. The coffee flavor is wonderful--and I don't like coffee. Very, very good cakeJim: "The cake is so moist it doesn't really need the syrup. I really like the ganache because it's so light but it still has a good chocolate flavor."
Posted by Marie at 2:57 PM