I am a little ashamed of posting this cake after seeing how tall other's cakes are and comparing it to how tall the cake in the book is. My cake only measured 1 1/2 inches tall. Sniff. The loss of height is because of my own fault. If you keep reading you'll find out why...
I was really looking forward to this cake. Plus it coincides with my birthday. I planned to bake the day before my birthday, though I didn't sleep well and didn't feel like baking. I started anyway. I should know better. Since I was not in the right mood, of course I messed up. It was bad. I had to make the caramel three times to get it right. My fault because I forgot to order a new instant thermometer so had to make do with the dying thermometer - don't really trust a dying thermometer, it seems to be working okay around 200 degrees but can't go past 250 degrees. So I am doing this by eye-balling, which is a bad sign. My first caramel, I was afraid of the caramel (still remember the caramel burn I got from a couple of years ago) so I didn't wait until the caramel was dark enough. And then I forgot to separate the cream to add to the cocoa powder. So I mix the cocoa powder into the caramel directly while it was still warm.
First caramel attempt.
Second caramel attempt:
By this time I do not have enough cream to do a third caramel and the whipped cream, so I put everything away, washed dishes, and proceeded to watch The Good Wife marathon and knit for the rest of the afternoon.
Next day, Birthday! Ran to the store to get another whipped cream in the AM and started over.
Mixture of sugar, golden syrup and water.
Added the hot cream. Bubbling furiously.
Mix for a minute until the caramel dissolves.
Third caramel!!! Success!!! I even remembered the vanilla. YAY! And yes it looked just liked the first caramel (duh, Jenn...)
I had a brief moment of panic because my husband has taken our new cocoa powder to the office (the universe is against me baking). I found an older jar of Ghirardelli cocoa powder in the back of the pantry that still has about 2 tsp of cocoa powder in it.
Caramel with cocoa powder added. I mix it pretty well but there were a lot of small cocoa blobs that was quite visible. So I strained it to get a smoother mixture. I don't have a shot of what was strained but in addition to the cocoa blobs there were a couple of small sugar chunks (crystals?), so I was glad I thought about straining it.
I waited and paced for the caramel to cool. When it gets to about 80 degrees I made the gelatin.
Blurry photo of cooled gelatin with vanilla.
Whipped cream with caramel added.
By this time, hubby came home to deliver the cocoa powder.
With safflower oil.
Batter with dry ingredients added and egg yolks.
Foamy egg whites.
Mixer in action.
After sugar added and more mixer action, stiff peaks.
Added 1/3 egg whites.
After folding the first 1/3.
Batter ready for oven with rose nail in the middle. Pop quiz: what's missing in this picture?
The next 38 minutes felt like forever as I wait for whether this turn out disastrous. And yup, it's short. It never rose really high and it looks like this.
It gets worse. This is what it looks like after the upside-down cooling period and un-molding.
Nothing that a generous layer of ganache and whipped cream can't fix....
The chocolate curls was pretty challenging. I followed the instructions and melt enough chocolate to fill 1 hole in the financier pan. I had to do about 10 - 12 5 seconds burst in the microwave to get it soft enough to want to curl but the chocolate curl keeps breaking. My new vegetable peeler is sharp (I've almost peeled my fingernails once). I think maybe my issue is the instruction said to peel toward you but this is an awkward move for me because I always peel away from me. And by the way, I still have almost a full block of chocolate left, would I be able to store and use this in the future for say, ganache?
This cake taste like a cross between chocolate butter cake and chocolate genoise. It has the fudgy-ness taste of a chocolate butter cake and the texture is airy like a chocolate genoise. I don't know if the fudgy-ness is because it's shorter/dense, but I like it. I will make it again and won't mess up (hopefully) next time.
Click here for a full listing of all the recipes we are baking.