Mar 6, 2011

Moist Chocolate Raspberry Genoise

Sometime in the middle of the week, I realized that I had to make two huge chocolate cakes this weekend, and had to write about them both before I left for Puerto Rico on Tuesday. I fretted about this for hours. I checked the recipes. The raspberry genoise serves 18; the devil's food cake with midnight ganache serves 20. How was I going to find 38 people to eat big hunks of chocolate cake this weekend? And how was I going to blog about both of them? Also, I hadn't replaced my food processor yet, and I always use Rose's food-processor method to make my ganache. Oh woe, woe is me.

Then I remembered my cute little six-inch pans, and I remembered I was going to a party on Sunday where I was supposed to bring wine, but I could bring wine and a cake, couldn't I? I called the hostess and told her I didn't care what she said, I was bringing a cake along with my bottle of wine. She seemed a little surprised about my vehemence, but said that would be okay. Now I could breathe easier.

Then my only problem was that I was baking two chocolate cakes--both in six-inch pans, both frosted with chocolate ganache--on the same day. I knew I'd get confused, and I did, but nothing too horrible happened.

Cake #1 started with the genoise. The first time I made a genoise cake, I wasn't too excited about it. It was so delicate it fell apart, and I thought that any cake that needed some hoity-toity syrup to be edible was too weak and fragile to be a bona fide cake. My ancestors, working in the fields, didn't put syrup on their cakes; of that you may be sure. But then I fell in love with the genoise cakes. Now I'm crazy about their flavor, texture, and versatility. I also love whipping those eggs. I actually forgot about the new chocolate genoise method that Rose wrote about in her blog, but I'm used to the old method by now.

The cakes rose to the tops of the six-inch pans. The cake was pale brown, but smelled like it carried a real chocolate punch.

On to the raspberry-chocolate ganache. Without my food processor, I had to chop the chocolate--a task I don't much like. The last time Hanaa baked at my house, I admired her efficiency and ease when she chopped chocolate, but admiring it isn't the same thing as adopting it. I chopped what seemed like a ton of mixed dark and white chocolates. I need to get that food processor.

I used frozen raspberry puree instead of pureeing and straining frozen raspberries. Straining raspberries is one of my least favorite jobs in the kitchen. I would rather chop chocolate all day long than strain raspberries. And pouring the raspberry puree into cream really made me happy. If I were on a desert island and could have only three foods, raspberries would be one of the three. I just wouldn't strain them.

The ganache turned out to be smooth, rich, and chocolatey. At first I was afraid that the chocolate would overpower the raspberries, but on second taste, I decided that the raspberries weren't hidden by the chocolate; they enhanced each other. I suppose that's why the chocolate-raspberry combination is so popular--it works.

Just a little glug of Chambord can't hurt.

The cakes were small enough that I could cut them with a serrated knife into more or less even layers.

Syruping the cake with cocoa syrup cake next, and then filling the layers with ganache. Even after a few hours at room temperature, the ganache was too runny, although it was dark and smooth. I put it in the refrigerator to thicken it up. Then I did something else with Cake #2; consequently the ganache got too thick. I had one heck of a time frosting the outside of the cake. I banished Jim from the kitchen because he was taking pictures of me doing battle with the ganache (the ganache was winning).

I called him back after the cake finally got frosted. He said, "Oh, it's cute!" I think he was surprised that it turned out looking like a cake. After I ordered him out of the kitchen, he'd thought that this cake was going on the Disaster List.

Despite the trouble I had with the refrigerated ganache, the cake really isn't hard to make, although there are a lot of steps. When you're baking another cake at the same time, it seems like it's more complicated than it really is. And the people at the party loved it.

Cake #2 (the cake for next week) is frosted, in the cake carrier, and ready to go into the office tomorrow. Cake #1 is a thing of the past.

I'm leaving for vacation on Tuesday, so there will be no mid-week post this week. I'll have next week's cake--the Devil's Food with Midnight Ganache--ready to post automatically on Sunday or Monday. Remember to check Rose's blog for the alternative method of mixing the devil's food cake if you want a slightly less tender, less crumbly cake.


Hanaâ said...

Wow, where did you find such beautiful raspberries?? I hope they tasted as good as they look. You did great chopping your chocolate by hand. Did you remember the microwave trick so the chocolate doesn't fly all over your kitchen? :o) I too made a 6" version of this cake (for our wedding anniversary) but went with a different syrup, filling and frosting.
Have fun in Puerto Rico. I'll see if I can send some snow your way so you don't feel (too) home sick :o)

Áine Tierney said...

This cake looks devine. I love chocolate and raspberries. yumm!

Vicki said...

It's adorable! Puerto Rico sounds like loads of fun. You're so adventurous. Is your broken food processor a Cuisinart? If so, you can call them and they will walk you through fixing the thing on line. I know, it's weird. There's a reset button in the thing. If it doesn't help they can tell you where to take it.

Marie said...

They looked - and tasted - beautiful. They're organic, from Kowalski's. I'm not always sure if expensive organic is worth it, but in this case, the winter raspberries tasted like they'd just been picked.

Thanks! It's one of my favorite combinations too.

It's a KitchenAid, and it's beyond repair. I thought I'd get another KitchenAid because it's America's Test Kitchen's top-rated brand, but I always wonder if a Cuisinart would be better.
I will say I've only had this KitchenAid for 3-4 years, which doesn't seem like a very long time.

Jenn said...

Oh wow Marie. Look at you baking 2 chocolate cakes with ganache for both. 2 years ago this would've felt so impossible, wouldn't it? Your cake looks awesome - I echo Hanaa about those raspberries. And it's one of my favorite berries as well.

Have fun in Puerto Rico! Please take some photos and tell us all about it!

inthekitchen said...

I love the cake as a 6" - so cute! I'm going to have to get some new pans. And your, they look fabulous! Huge and so red...yum.

Have a great trip :)

jini said...

i can always be reached at sayin'. the both look delish!

Marie said...

You are so right--I think we're all better at taking the curves in the road. We're getting more snow in MN tomorrow, so all I have to do to have fun in PR is say, "There's no snow on the ground here...."

I never thought I'd use 6-inch pans. I thought their only purpose was the top tier in a wedding cake, but they work very nicely as a small cake.

I will try to remember the services of the amazing!

Shandy said...

LOVE the 6-inch cake and your raspberries look so fresh and perfect. Have oodles of fun in Puerto Rico!!!!

inthekitchen said...

If anyone will be in the Cambridge/Boston, MA area on April 16, Rose Levy Beranbaum will be doing a demo and book signing at the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts. It's a little expensive (includes a copy of the book) but so exciting to get to meet her after making these cakes! I've just signed up. Let me know if anyone else is going :)

Luther King said...

Yummy Cake whooo makes me drooling over the Cake