Week 119: A berry chocolate cake

Sunday is my “hermit” day. And I usually like to spend it vegetating at home. But a good friend just got out from surgery recently and what are friends for if they can’t sacrifice one Sunday to visit their friend.

I knew Fui from way back during our university days in the UK. The circumstance of our friendship was a little unusual at that time. But life is strange and for the past few years, we have been in touch, and for the past Lunar New Year, she even invited me to join her family for the reunion dinner when she found out I won’t be going home to my parents’ place. That was really sweet of her.

So when she texted me yesterday to ask if she can make a last minute request for a cake to celebrate her husband’s birthday, well, how could I possibly refuse? To make sure nothing goes wrong, I reverted to my trusted devil’s food cake recipe. Haha, but even then, I made a slight mistake with the chocolate ganache by adding twice the amount of heavy cream. Thankfully it set properly.

Makes a 6-inch round cake

For the cake layers

33g unsweetened cocoa powder

63g cake flour (not self-rising)

1/4 tsp fleur de sel

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/8 tsp baking powder

57g unsalted butter, at room temperature

75g granulated sugar

82g brown sugar

1 large egg, at room temperature

1/4 cup strong coffee

1/4 cup whole or low-fat milk

1/2 tsp pure chocolate extract

1) Adjust the oven rack to the center of the oven and preheat convection oven to 175C.

2) Butter two 6″ x 2″ cake pans and line the bottoms with circles of parchment paper.

3) To make the cake layers, sift together the cocoa powder, cake flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder in a bowl.

4) In the bowl of a standing electric mixer, or by hand, beat together the butter and sugar about 5 minutes until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and beat until fully incorporated. (If using a standing electric mixer, stop the mixer as necessary to scrape down the sides to be sure everything is getting mixed in.)

5) Mix together the chocolate extract, coffee and milk. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture, the add the coffee and milk. Finally stir in the other half of the dry ingredients.

6) Divide the batter into the two prepared cake pans and bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.

For the ganache frosting

142g dark chocolate couverture (>70% cocoa), coarsely chopped

120g heavy cream

85g unsalted butter, at room temperature

1) Melt the chopped chocolate with the cream in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until melted. Remove the bowl from the pan of water.

2) Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk them into the chocolate until completely melted and the ganache is smooth. Cool until spreadable, which may take about 1 hour at room temperature.

For the pouring chocolate ganache

17g unsalted butter, at room temperature

28g dark chocolate couverture

39g whipping cream

1) Melt chocolate together with whipping cream on top of a bain-marie.

2) Once melted, take chocolate mixture off the heat, and add in the butter. Stir until melted completely.

3) Stir mixture until it has thicken slightly and use immediately.

For the strawberry glaze

70g strawberry jam

1 tbsp mineral water

14g granulated sugar

1) Put all the ingredients in a heavy bottom saucepan and cook on medium heat. Allow to boil for a minute.

2) Remove from heat and strain the mixture.

3) Set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.

To assemble

7 large whole strawberries

A punnet of raspberries

A punnet of blueberries

Edible gold paint (optional)

1) To frost the cake, run a knife around the inside of each of the cakes which will help release them from the pans. Tilt one cake out of the pan, remove the parchment paper from the bottom and invert it back onto a cake plate. Spread a good-sized layer of frosting ganache over the top. Top with the second cake layer and spread the top and sides with the remaining frosting. Smooth the frosting and allow to set in the freezer for at least an hour.

2) Remove cake from freezer and drizzle the pouring ganache liberally on the cake. 

3) Arrange the strawberries around the middle of the cake, then pile on the raspberries and blueberries. Brush with the glaze as necessary to hold the fruits together.

4) Brush on gold paint as desired.

The resulting cake looks rather good. How I wish I could have a slice!

3 thoughts on “Week 119: A berry chocolate cake

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