Saturday, February 28, 2009

February 2009 Daring Bakers' Challenge-Flourless Chocolate Cake

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.
When I read this challenge my mind went to overdrive trying to come up with complementary flavors for the cake and the ice cream. But after I had the flavors in mind, it suddenly dawned on me that the real challenge for me this month is making the ice cream without an ice cream maker! Thankfully the hosts and the other DBs included links to browse for people like me who would be making the ice cream manually.
I have done Nick Malgieri's flourless cake which I also blogged about so I wasn't too worried about the cake, however, I wanted it to have that something "extra"--I thought of mint but then I've always combined those two flavors. And then all of a sudden I looked at my spice shelf and the bottle of cayenne pepper winked at me (I swear, it did!) Voila! I had my flavor!! For the ice cream, I wanted it to be a palate cleanser so I chose Basil, my favorite herb.

Making ice cream manually is so rewarding, I am so thankful that I was able to dig up my ancient handheld mixer which I used on the ice cream every 2 hours. The final product was very smooth and the mouth feel was excellent, thanks to this challenge, I will be experimenting with more ice cream flavors from now on...

The cake was very dense and moist, it did not disappoint me. The kitchen smelled wonderful during and after baking it. The cayenne pepper combined beautifully with the rich chocolate flavor (I used Dark Sweet chocolate).

Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter. {link of folding demonstration}
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Dharm's Ice Cream Recipe
Classic Vanilla Ice Cream
Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Recipe comes from the Ice Cream Book by Joanna Farrow and Sara Lewis (tested modifications and notes in parentheses by Dharm)

1 Vanilla Pod (or substitute with vanilla extract)
300ml / ½ pint / 1 ¼ cups Semi Skimmed Milk – in the U.S. this is 2% fat (or use fresh full fat milk that is pasteurised and homogenised {as opposed to canned or powdered}). Dharm used whole milk.
4 large egg yolks
75g / 3oz / 6 tbsp caster sugar {superfine sugar can be achieved in a food processor or use regular granulated sugar}
5ml / 1 tsp corn flour {cornstarch}
300ml / ½ pint / 1 ¼ cups Double Cream (48% butter fat) {in the U.S. heavy cream is 37% fat)
{you can easily increase your cream's fat content by heating 1/4 cup of heavy cream with 3 Tbs of butter until melted - cool to room temperature and add to the heavy cream as soon as whisk marks appear in the cream, in a slow steady stream, with the mixer on low speed. Raise speed and continue whipping the cream) or use heavy cream the difference will be in the creaminess of the ice cream.

1. Using a small knife slit the vanilla pod lengthways. Pour the milk into a heavy based saucepan, add the vanilla pod and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and leave for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse
Lift the vanilla pod up. Holding it over the pan, scrape the black seeds out of the pod with a small knife so that they fall back into the milk. SET the vanilla pod aside and bring the milk back to the boil.
2. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and corn-flour in a bowl until the mixture is thick and foamy. 3. Gradually pour in the hot milk, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over a gentle hear, stirring all the time
4. When the custard thickens and is smooth, pour it back into the bowl. Cool it then chill.
5. By Hand: Whip the cream until it has thickened but still falls from a spoon. Fold it into the custard and pour into a plastic tub or similar freeze-proof container. Freeze for 6 hours or until firm enough to scoop, beating it twice (during the freezing process – to get smoother ice cream or else the ice cream will be icy and coarse)
By Using and Ice Cream Maker: Stir the cream into the custard and churn the mixture until thick (follow instructions on your ice cream maker)

Wendy's Ice Cream Recipe
Vanilla Philadelphia Style Recipe
Preparation Time: 5 minutes
2 cups (473 ml) of half and half (1 cup of heavy cream and 1 cup of whole, full fat milk)
1 cup (237 ml) heavy cream
2/3 (128 grams) cup sugar
Dash of salt
1 (12 grams) tablespoon of vanilla

Mix all ingredients together (we do this in a plastic pitcher and mix with an emulsifier hand blender-whisking works too).
Refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer
Mix in your ice cream maker as directed.

* 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper was added to the melted chocolate and butter before adding the eggyolks for the cake
**I used Dharm's Ice Cream recipe infusing the chopped fresh basil leaves in the fresh milk
***I also made strawberry coulis as accent on my plate, using a brush to spread it and covered my cake with chocolate icing


Anonymous said...

LOL@ the cayenne winking at you. It's a 'hot' spice that never gives up. I finally had to lock 'him' up so he'd keep his 'paws' off me. :P

That said, I love your incorporation of savory into the challenge, especially the basil palate cleansing ice cream. Very well done, and pretty photos!

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Very well done! Both your cake and ice cream look delicious!



Natalie... said...

Mmm wow this looks good!! I bet the Cayenne pepper went well with teh chcoolate cake! Great job!

Audax said...

I really like chilli chocolate and I always add a touch of cayenne pepper to chocolate cake - eveybody always mentions what is that something extra that my cakes have. And to match that with basil ice-cream is bliss, Great job on this challenge. Thanks for the nice comments on my blog.

Audax said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Leslie said...

cayenne icecream? Great idea!!!!
Love the outcome of your challange!

Sugar Chef said...

Basil ice cream, one of my favorites. Nice combo with cayenne in your Valentino. Good job on your challenge.

Tangled Noodle said...

Delicious! I think spicy chocolate is an incredible flavor and I'm awed that you made ice cream by hand. The closest I've come to that is pouring ingredients into my ice cream maker! Beautiful presentation.

plutosangel said...

WOW nice! a nice mix of sugar and spice :D

pixie said...

cayenne must have given it a boost! love the combination! Bravo!

jill elise said...

Basil ice cream! good idea!

Anonymous said...

basil ice cream sound great! well done! nice pictures.

Anonymous said...

Love the flavor combo... where did you buy your winking spice ;)

Kat said...

I had chocolate and chili on my mind for my first DB Challenge, but went with mint. Next time I make this I am going with the spice! Great job! Everything looks wonderful :)

Lauren said...

Mmm, your cake looks wonderful!! I love the cayenne & basil idea =D!

Junie Moon said...

What a fun time you had with this challenge. As a new Daring Baker, I've quite enjoyed discovering the ways recipes can be adjusted to make them your own. Your added details of ingredients such as cayenne pepper and basil are delightful. Thank you for sharing all this.

Elra said...

wow, you are fabulous chef. Combining cayenne pepper for the cake and basil for the ice cram, sounds like an adventure!

ARLENE said...

Interesting combinations. You sure had fun playing with this one.

Aran said...

looks great!!

Jude said...

What an interesting flavor for ice cream. Basil? Who knew?

J said...

Looks great!

your flavor combinations make you a truly daring baker in my books. :o)

Anonymous said...

Oh i am dying to try basil ice cream now! Looks fabulous!

Kimberly Johnson said...

Beautiful job! I love your flavor combinations.

Chantal said...

Wow, that sounds great. I've always wanted to experiment with adding a little heat to sweet ;) but I still haven't gotten around to doing it, I think you may have given me the boot/boost I needed :)

Anonymous said...

I am so very impressed with your flavor combos. Bravo!

Jenny said...

I have made basil ice cream in the past, and it makes me long for a hot summer day! Lovely flavor choices.

Olga said...

I had to make ice cream by hand too! Mine was a bit grainy, but still pretty delicious.

Aparna said...

That's a lot of unuusal falvours in this months challenge here.
Both look delightful, I must say.

nikkita said...

Wow, you did a great job! Im tempted to try the ice cream and the spicy chocolate combo.

breadchick said...

OH pepper and chocolate. A fabulous combo!! Well done on the challenge.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

I bet that basil ice cream was a fresh pairing with the cake! Well done!

Beth said...

Looks good! Last summer I made a blueberry basil sorbet that was so refreshing and clean. Thanks for reminding me to do it again this year!

Y said...

Great colour, on that basil ice-cream. Love the huge scoop of it too.. more for me please! :)