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Wednesday, January 5, 2011

TCB: Bittersweet Cocoa Almond Genoise

For a New Year's party at a friend's house, I offered to make a cake. Which cake, I have no idea. It took me forever to choose. Do I choose one of the 40 cakes I have left from Rose's Heavenly Cakes? That would be good, one more cake down, 39 to go. Or do I try something from The Cake Bible?

The crowd I'm serving to seem to like Genoise-type cakes, and chocolate is always a favorite. I have made both Moist Chocolate Genoise and Genoise Au Chocolat. Genoise Au Chocolat is the running favorite (lighter, fluffy, and less sweet).

I flipped through RHC, looking at the ones I have not made. Then I did the same with TCB. My hand stopped at a page... the cake is called Bittersweet Cocoa Almond Genoise.

Score! I thought. This would work perfectly with a decorating idea that I had in mind, borrowing from this blog.

I read the genoise recipe. Intrigued. Then I did a search for this cake over at Rose's forum. It yielded results. Reading on, I'm liking the cake. And so here it is.

I made the full recipe of the cake, baked in 2 7 inch pans. It is not what Rose recommended, but I wanted to achieve a good height for the chocolate decor.

I used a low fat cocoa (Ghirardelli). I took Julie's suggestion and used 75% of the cocoa and 25% of Schaffenberger unsweetened chocolate. The combo worked like a charm and the cake turned out wonderful.

For the filling, at first I was going for stabilized whipped cream all over. On baking day I changed my mind and went for light whipped ganache. I didn't do a good job when melting the chocolate with the cream, the mixture was too hot and I can see the chocolate separating. Not a big issue, I took it off the heat and started adding cream slowly until the mixture come together.

Too lazy at this point to add more chocolate, I went with it and the result is a very very light ganache, more like a chocolate flavored whipped cream. It was wonderful. Fit perfectly with the cake as it was pretty rich.

Making this cake, I figured out that I much prefer piping than torting and frosting a cake. Slicing each cake in half is no biggie except the sides of the cake started falling a part and they look more like a distorted circle. I gathered all the crumbs, combined with some light ganache, and started spackling.

The chocolate decoration is pretty easy to do. I followed Emma's instruction down to a T. The only deviation I did was that I apply the chocolate directly onto a cake, instead of forming it around the tin can, as Emma did.

The chocolate was not even tempered, and it held up throughout the 60 photos I took and through the evening.

I'm very pleased with the end result, it didn't look like the mess that I torted.

And most importantly? My friends LOVED the cake. They all think it looks awesome and it tasted awesome.


    And yes all that shouting is really loud and giddy! [note the multiple EXCLAMATION POINTS and CAPS].

    Chica.. the pictures rock... I'm hoping to god you submitted to FG and TS.. and if they so much as reject you, THEY.ARE.DEAD.TO.ME.

  2. gorgeous! i love everything about it--the story, the components, the finished cake and of course the photos. great job jenn--very inspiring!

  3. Beautiful. Great job. Your friends must absolutely love you for it :o) Thanks for including a picture of the inside. I love seeing the different layers of the interior. I must have missed something... what's the filling of the cake? I'm assuming that the outside is a whipped white choc ganache (unless I misread that too, ha ha).
    Btw, I have a picture of a similar cake with a lattice choc band I did years ago (one of my first cakes from TCB, if not THE first cake from TCB). You can find a picture here: Let me know what you think.

  4. This beautiful thing is just smashing! And sitting on it's own white throne, yet! Thank you for all the tips. I'm not good at substituting and it is beneficial to read you posts. I know your friends must have loved it - I want to make it too.

  5. I'm sure everyone was impressed with your gorgeous cake. I love the outside decorations..but then to see that the inside layers are beautiful too..that's amazing :)

  6. Hanaa,
    the filling was supposed to be light whipped ganache but ended up being very light whipped ganache (added more cream). The outside is just cornstarch stablized whipped cream. I find I like making the cornstarch version better.

    I checked out your TCB cake. It's gorgeous! I love whole look ! The lemon curd looks yummy. And now I'm intrigued with the white chocolate whipped ganache, will have to try that sometime.

    When I made the lattice band last year, even though I tempered the chocolate, I couldn't cut through the lattice band as you did. I wonder why? Do you know?

  7. Thanks answering, Jenn! I've never made cornstarch-stabilized wh cream, just gelatin-based, which I like. Makes the cream "mousse"-like. But I should try the cornstarch one because it's easier to find (since I use kosher gelatin only). The white choc ganache is awesome (use good quality white choc; make sure it contains cocoa butter, not palm kernel oil). As for cutting the cake neatly, I came up with my own trick for that. You hold your knife vertically, very close to the cake, with the tip pointing down. Then (carefully) pull the tip of the knife away from the cake while holding the handle in the same place. When you let go of the tip, the knife kinda catapults towards the cake, which gently cuts/cracks the chocolate. Now you take your knife and cut into the cake, following the "new" crack in the choc band. Repeat process. Makes sense? If not, I can try to explain it a diff way :o)

    Btw, I love the new logo on top. How did you do that? Did you use any special software with templates?

  8. Hanaa, I understood your instruction. That is pretty cool. Never would have thought of holding the knife horizontally! Now I need to plot another lattice band so I can try your method, :).

    I do not notice any textural difference between using gelatin vs. cornstarch to stabilize whipped cream. I like cornstarch because if I forgot to use it immediately, and left it sitting there 10 minutes longer, the mixture is still usable. The consistency is like pudding. With gelatin, I have to use it right away after it cooled, otherwise it become too hard like jello, and when it's incorporated into the whipped cream, all I got is chunks of gelatin everywhere and the cream never hardens. Speaking from experience here!

    The logo is a work-in-progress. My friend made it for me - she used Adobe Photoshop.

  9. She did a great job on the logo.

    True, the corn starch would be more flexible than the gelatin (I had the gelatin turn into jello too, ha ha). Btw, I just realized something… what would be even easier than my other method I described above cutting into a lattice band cake, is to heat the knife in a glass of hot water, and wipe it. Hold the knife vertically against the cake to melt the choc band, followed by cutting into the cake :o) I think we're both motivated to make a lattice band cake again, ha ha. Hubby's bday is coming up (I'll check w/him... maybe it's too "girly" for him, ha ha).

  10. How did i miss this post? So gorgeous and lovely this cake looks! I love the sides chocolate decoration.

  11. Looks incredible. Not only is it beautiful, but this cake sounds so tasty! <3

  12. I can't stop looking at this cake. Gorgeous. So pretty. I am in love. Great photos, great recipes, amazing blog. Thanks for sharing. I have to add this to my favorites. Beautiful.


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