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Friday, May 28, 2010

Chocolate Genoise

Cake, actually chocolate genoise with a cognac soaking syrup and chocolate buttercream. It is almost birthday time, plus I donated a dessert to an auction and I decided I should probably practice. So here is a cakelet.
They look sort of like sloppy snack cakes except that they are kinda rich for eating a whole one. Here is a sliced shot from someone's phone. Quality could be better, but, you can see that it looks just like a tiny cake. As with most genoise cakes, this one benefits from a soaking syrup, in the case of this version, I use 1/2 cup of cognac and 1/2 cup of super-fine sugar, flamed it off and brushed it onto the cakes to moisten the crumb.
It had a fine crumb and fit on a coffee saucer perfectly.

Chocolate Genoise Recipe:
3 tablespoons (42 grams) hot melted unsalted butter or clarified butter
1 teaspoon (4 grams) pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (65 grams) cake flour
1/3 cup (30 grams) unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
4 large eggs
2/3 cup (125 grams) granulated white sugar
Note:  When warming the eggs and sugar, whisk constantly to ensure the the eggs do not overheat and curdle. 

Chocolate Genoise:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (177 degrees C). Butter, or spray with a vegetable spray, a 9 inch (23 cm) round cake pan and then line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper.
In a small bowl, combine the melted unsalted butter with the vanilla extract.  Keep this mixture warm.  If needed, re-warm for a few seconds just before using.
In a medium bowl sift together the flour and cocoa powder.  Set aside.
In a large heatproof bowl whisk

together the eggs and sugar.  Place the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.  Whisking constantly, heat the eggs and sugar until lukewarm to the touch (this will take approximately 5 minutes depending on the temperature of the eggs and the simmering water).  Remove from heat and transfer the egg mixture to the bowl of your electric mixer.  Beat on high speed until the egg mixture has cooled, tripled in volume, and looks like softly whipped cream.  This will take approximately 5 minutes and the batter is beaten sufficiently when the batter falls back into the bowl in a ribbon-like pattern.
Then siftabout one-third of the flour mixture over the whipped eggs and fold in using a large rubber spatula or whisk. fold in half of the remaining flour, and then fold in the rest.  Do not over mix or you will deflate the batter.  Then take about 1 cup of the batter and fold it into the hot butter mixture with a small spatula.  (This will lighten the butter mixture and make it easier to incorporate into the egg batter without deflating it.)  When completely combined, use a spatula to fold the butter mixture completely into the rest of the egg batter.  Pour the batter into your prepared pan, smoothing the top.
Bake until the cake shrinks slightly from the edges of the pan and the top springs back when lightly pressed (about 20-25 minutes). Cool on a metal rack. When the cake has cooled completely, run a small knife or spatula around the edges to release the cake.  The genoise will keep well-wrapped two days in the refrigerator or else three months frozen.

Chocolate buttercream:
1 cup (220g) caster sugar
3 egg whites
300g unsalted butter, room temperature and chopped
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
200g dark chocolate, melted

Place the sugar and the egg whites in a heat proof bowl. Place over a pan of simmering water. The base of the bowl should not be touching the water.
Whisk until the sugar has dissolved. You can tell if the sugar is dissolved by rubbing a little of the mix between your fingers. If you can feel the sugar crystal keep whisking. Remember to scrape the sides of the bowl down.
Transfer the mix to a large mixing bowl and beat on high for approximately 10 minutes. You can stop beating when the mix is cool. Scrape down a couple of times to stop build up on the sides of the bowl. The buttercream at this stage will be thick and pure white a bit like meringue.
The mix must be cool otherwise it will melt the butter as you add it.
Add the butter one piece at a time beat until smooth between each addition. This step should take at least 6 minutes. Dont worry if the mix looks as if it may curdle, it will come together in the end.
Once the butter has been added mix through the vanilla and melted chocolate. Warning the chocolate must also be cool otherwise it will melt the buttercream and this is not something you want to happen - believe me!
Mix until well combined. Scrape the bowl down to make sure.

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