Aug 16, 2010

Chocolate Feather Bed

After two glorious fruit-based cakes, I said, only half-jokingly, that another chocolate cake would seem like penance. This Chocolate Feather Bed is so light and delicious that if it would be assigned as penance, people would be lining up for miles outside the confessionals.
Flourless cakes kind of amaze me--especially cakes like this one, which is made with only eggs, sugar, and chocolate.
I decided to pay careful attention to the cacao content of the chocolate. Most chocolates labelled "dark" or "bittersweet" have higher cacao contents than the recommended 53% to 62%, and I wanted to make sure my cake didn't taste too bitter. At my grocery store, a Perugina 60% was the best bet.
Jim bought the eggs at the Farmers' Market, and accidentally picked up medium instead of large eggs, so it took nearly eight egg yolks to make 112 grams. I'd have been in a heap of trouble if I hadn't weighed the egg yolks.
The yolks look nearly white after they're beaten for five minutes.
The chocolate-y egg yolk mixture and the beaten egg whites are about to be mixed together.
And that's all there is to it! I don't know why I thought this cake was going to be difficult. I think the directions about baking two cakes confused me. Fortunately, I only baked one so I didn't stay confused.
Here's the cake after baking for precisely 16 minutes. It was another sweltering day, so I was very relieved that I could turn the oven off after such a short time.
The cake was shrouded in a dish towel (one that is "clean" and "dry"--the instructions specify-- in case you were inclined to use one that was wet and dirty) until it's cool. Then I could wrap it in plastic and put it in the refrigerator while I went off somewhere cool.
I asked Jim if he wanted light whipped chocolate ganache or gelatin-stabilized whipped cream. I thought he'd probably choose the ganache because the "gelatin-stabilized" part of the whipped cream sounded suspicious, but he opted for the whipped cream. Adding gelatin to cream was a brand new experience for me. It simply involves heating the cream with a few teaspoons of gelatin.
After that mixture has cooled, it's just gradually beaten into ordinary whipped cream.
If you had made the full cake, you'd cut each long rectangle in half, making a more or less square cake with four layers. Because I made only one pan, I cut it in four pieces, to make a small rectangle with four layers.
Then all four layers are topped with whipped ganache or whipped cream. I made the double recipe for whipped cream for my half cake, and only had a bit left over. Perhaps I slathered it on too thickly, but it didn't seem like too much whipped cream to me, but then I'm not sure that "too much" ever describes "whipped cream."
After I was done with the filling, and I'd grated chocolate for on top (it was such a hot day I didn't want to let the chocolate get warm enough to make curls--I thought it would go straight from room temperature to melted), I stood back to admire. I could see that I hadn't been careful enough in measuring my layers, placing them directly on top of each other, or evening off the filling.
Let's just say it had a casual look. Or perhaps the look of a cake put together by someone who had been blindfolded. But the pieces looked attractive when they were sliced, even though the chocolate shavings didn't all stay attached to the whipped cream.
I liked this cake a lot--it had a deep chocolate flavor without being overwhelmingly chocolate, especially for someone coming somewhat reluctantly back to Chocolateville after being gone for a few weeks.
I'd like to try it with the whipped ganache sometime, but I thought the whipped cream was a perfect flavor and color contrast, so I'm not sure that the ganache could be better.

Jan: "It's light and delicious."
Laurel: "Is there egg white in the filling? It's airier than ordinary whipped cream. I like it that it's not overly sweet."
Betty: "It's wonderful. I like the chocolate shavings."
Fred: "If I had a criticism, it would be that it's almost too delicate. It's just a little bit too light--not enough heft."
Jim: "The cake is delicious. I think it has plenty of heft."


Jenn said...

Yay, your tasting panel is back. Your cake turned out very nice! That's a good call using the correct cacao content - mine didn't turned out so well :(.

Lois B said...

The whipped cream is a great color contrast.

Hanaâ said...

Yum, that cake looks luscious. Love the contrast of the choc cake and the whipped cream. I meant to make this week’s cake but got pre-occupied with “other” things in life :o) The way you describe how you made this cake, reminds me of the Bûche de Noel I made from TCB about 3-4 years ago. I remember thinking, “how can this work without any flour in the batter!”. I filled it with a chocolate whipped cream made with Dutch cocoa, whipped cream and sugar. It’s “lighter” than whipped choc ganache.

I’m planning on joining all of you for the Choc Layer Cake with Caramel Ganache. I heard so many good things about the ganache from a fellow blogger that I can’t wait to try it.

Katya said...

ooh. now I wish I'd gone with whipped cream... well, there's always next passover.

Marie said...

I like my tasting panel too--it's more fun when people are eating what you bake.

Yes, I agree about the color contrast--it really looks nice.

It's kind of amazing, isn't it? I always wonder who was the first person to figure out some new technique, and how did they do it?

Or next weekend.

evil cake lady said...

i loved your wet and dirty towel comment! you never know what people may be thinking...or not if they need it specified that the towel be clean and dry.

i did both the whipped cream and the ganache version and we unanimously liked the whipped cream version better. so you didn't miss anything!

i think chocolateville is easier to visit when it's cold out, but this was a nice little jaunt. back to fruit next week!

NancyB said...

Hmmm...why didn't I think of doubling the whipped cream amount for the half cake? I'm certainly in the "too much never describes whipped cream" group!

Monica said...

That is it.. I'm going to have a redo and use the whip cream instead.. those cakes look much more yummy than with the ganache version.

faithy said...

Sounds like more like it with whipped cream instead of ganache! Your cake looks delicious! Glad to see that your tasting panel is up too! :D

Alpha Baker Joan said...

Seems like I am not only the 'slumpy' one this past week. I really want, and intend to, make this wonderful cake. I enjoy seeing it so pretty with the contrast of the whipped cream and haven't decided which to do. Like much of this that we do, it will probably decide for itself lol.

Melinda said...

I think your cake looks wonderful. And I am not blindfolded!
I am pleased to see you using the English tea towel I sent you and glad it was both dry and clean!
This sounds good with the whipped cream and I am on the loads of whipped cream team!

Marie said...

I think you're right about chocolate not going well with heat waves.

Nancy B.,
I don't think a single recipe of whipped cream would have been enough!

Yours looked awfully pretty, but there's nothing wrong with a whipped cream re-do. Have a nice vacay!

There will be a day when the featherbed cake is calling you. Maybe on free choice week?

Maybe you are blindfolded and you're just touch typing? If so, good job! I do, fortunately, keep all my tea towels clean and dry. (I wondered if you'd recognize the towel!)

PAM said...

Your cake sounds like it tasted great and glad your taste panel is working again for you. I love light chocolate cake with whipped cream.

jini said...

i confess, i confess!! really! are there any leftovers?? :)