Search Results

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Alpha Bakers: Chocolate Pavarotti with Wicked Good Ganache

Cake design inspired by Hector Wong and Rose's latest out bakes post.

This is one of the recipes in the book that has no photos. I didn't know how to decorate the cake or what to aim for. I know I want to make 1/2 recipe of the cake *grin* and thought to decorate it by piping the ganache around the base. When I went to get my 6 inch round cake pan from storage, I saw this 6 inch heart shaped pan instead. I had completely forgotten I have this!!! I think I bought it somewhere along baking through Rose's Heavenly Cakes from a cake supply store in town. It's Wilton brand by the way and it's available on Amazon as well. When the cake cake out of the oven and the top was flat and the cake tall (1 5/8 inches), I remembered Rose's out bakes post last week and the Hector-inspired heart design, so I am proudly copying Hector's beautiful rendition.

This cake turned out a whole lot better than I had hoped for, especially since I didn't have the correct flour. I was so excited to see a King Flour brand of cake flour that I completely didn't realize it said "unbleached". That's not the same as bleached. I only realized this yesterday morning when I did mis-en-place for this cake. Well, I am way too lazy to make a trip to the store to get the correct cake flour, so I adjusted the flour by using 90% of the KA unbleached cake flour and 10% non-gmo cornstarch (Rapunzel brand). For those expecting a math lesson (I'm looking at you Monica :)), half recipe is 78 grams total flour - 70 grams of KA flour and 8 grams of cornstarch. For the leavening, it only uses baking powder. I had to check the recipe twice on the baking powder amount - I thought I read wrong. This cake uses a lot of baking powder. It makes my math difficult. 1/2 recipe would be 1 1/2 tablespoon plus 1/8 tsp. 1 tablespoon is equal 3 teaspoon (according to google), so I used 1 1/2 teaspoon plus 1/4 teaspoon. Confused yet? We're not done. For the eggs, I have been buying Farmer's Hen House Organic Jumbo Eggs. Jumbo! It's not large or extra large anymore. Each egg is about 60 grams. I used the additional 10 grams for the liquid adjustment. Okay now we're done with the math lessons, hehe.

One more thing though, I made 1/3 recipe of the ganache. Why? (I know Kim would ask why). Because last time I made 1/2 recipe of ganache (Chocolate Cuddle Cake), I had leftovers. It's in the freezer and it will probably get lost there. 1/3 recipe turned out to be a good amount. I had enough to frost the sides of the cake and decorated the top.

This is an amazing cake if you think about all the ingredients. The cake itself uses cocoa powder and melted white chocolate. The ganache uses unsweetened chocolate, bittersweet chocolate, and cayenne powder. I really want to know how Rose came up with this cake and all the components.When I went to Rose's book signing last November, she mentioned that this is one of her favorite cakes in the book. She explained the cayenne pepper added a nice flavor finish to the cake. That those who doesn't know it contained cayenne pepper would describe the ganache as having a depth of flavor but cannot discern what's in it. (Disclaimer: I think that's what Rose said, more or less. I am typing this from memory so I might have mis-remembered a bit . Don't sue quote me...)

I am not very good with spicy things so I added 1/4 tsp of cayenne.  I can't really taste it, nor the depth of flavor Rose is talking about. I really like the cake though. It's not too sweet even with the ganache. The texture is lovely - soft and moist and I want another piece as I'm writing this post....

Step by step photos - cake part:

The wrong cake flour. I love the packaging though, it's very pretty.

Melted white chocolate with cocoa butter. I used Green and Black's brand.

Cocoa powder and warm water mixture.

Dry ingredients.

Add room temperature butter and canola oil.

Add cocoa mixture.


After the egg addition.

After the melted white chocolate addition.

It filled the pan a bit over half. Note I remember the cake strip this time :).

The cake baked for 36 minutes.

Step by step photos - ganache part:

Corn syrup.

Added unsweetened chocolate. I used Scharffen Berger unsweetened (99%).

My double boiler. I make ganache this way, add the heavy cream and chopped bittersweet chocolate and mix until the chocolate melt.

This is how it looks like afterwards.

By this time the corn syrup unsweetened chocolate mixture has harden (what the heck?!), so I return it to the heat and add a few drops of corn syrup. Then add it to the bittersweet ganache.

Add 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper.

The best part. Decorate and take photos of the pretty cake.

Close up shot of the crumb.

Alpha Bakers is a group of bakers who are baking through The Baking Bible, Rose Levy Beranbaum's latest cookbook. Come check out the rest of the group at Rose's Alpha Bakers.

Click here for a full listing of all the recipes we are baking.


  1. The heart shape looks great. I admire your maths skills. I'm prone to approximation if it gets too complicated :)

  2. Your mini heart shape cake looked so pretty! You are very good at math calculations..esp. not wasting any! I usually store left over ganache..and add it to my next ganache ..LOL! Like mother-dough ganache..LOL!

    1. Oh mother-dough ganache is a good idea! I'll remember it if I have leftover next time!

  3. Green and Blacks is my all time favorite white chocolate! I have to drive across town to Whole Foods to buy it though and never remember to stock up while I'm there. Your crumb looks perfect. Love the heart shape. It's adorable. The math makes my head spin. I envy your skills.

    1. Thanks Vicki! Green and Blacks were on sale at Natural Grocers 3 month ago so I bought 2 bars and stored them in the freezer. I really like them too - Rose has spoiled us with fancy products :).

  4. Green and Blacks is my all time favorite white chocolate! I have to drive across town to Whole Foods to buy it though and never remember to stock up while I'm there. Your crumb looks perfect. Love the heart shape. It's adorable. The math makes my head spin. I envy your skills.

  5. Jenn, your baby heart cake is perfect, great photographs! I would rather give away half a cake than do all that math. My mind simply won't do those calculations. Glad you had fun with the cake. I liked it, but not sure it's a favorite of mine.

  6. Jenn, Ok.. Seriously how CUTE is that pan! I WANT. I have given up on math a long time ago. When the receipts calls for complicated use of the rule, I call Tom over to help out and figure out all that stuff. I read your recipes and I go back in time to math close (no bueno).

  7. I love your sweet little heart cake and your beautiful crumb! Your math skills rock. If I'm ever in a jam with the math I will be asking you for help!

  8. I love the opening picture, these roses so beautiful and complimenting your beautifully decorated cake.

  9. Oh Jenn, your 6-inch cake is totally adorable! I have that pan too so I wish I would have done the same, especially since we ended up not liking the recipe very much. Oh well, glad you liked it though.

    Patricia @ ButterYum

  10. ב''ה

    I did not realize King Arthur had 'bleached' flour. Very cool.

  11. Your heart cake is so adorable! I love the way the ganache on the sides looks so matte and the top is so shiny! Did you reheat it to pour over the top?

    And your photos are always so pretty. Did you have those roses sitting around or did you buy them for the photo shoot? Lovely.

  12. Alice, it was the other way around. The shiny ganache on top was poured when the ganache was still liquid. The ganache on the side was applied when it has set - somehow it has lost shiny-ness.

    I had to think of how long I've had those roses - it's been 10 years! And OI never thought of using them before. I have several others in different colors. They will slowly make an appearance on the posts :).


Thank you so much for leaving comments.