Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Chocolate to bring in a new blog

You will notice that my baking tends to spill over my other blog, where it is not so appropriate, seeing as it is called "South Beach Effort." So, I've decided to start a separate blog, one dedicated just to the sweeter things in life.

Yes I know that there is some internal inconsistency in what I'm doing, but I am really only an occasional baker. This suits me just fine because I am really way too busy right now with school work to be blogging actively, so I will only blog when I bake something. An opportunity came two days ago to bake this for my brother-in-law's birthday:

I always look forward to this time of year because I get to hang out with Patrick's family who have long welcomed me into their fold. I love it how we try to get together regularly, and it's always festive when we do. We reconnect and talk about what pains us, share small events as well as big milestones (and there were a couple this year), and what better way to do so than with cake.

The full recipe can be found here.

One other blogger noted that if the original recipe is followed, the frosting can take up to 3 hours to set properly, which is why although Mrs. Milman has been making this for 40 years, I was inclined to shake things up a bit.

Here are my notes and modifications:

1. I only made 1/2 the recipe because I had already filled the cake with an espresso buttercream.

2. Pour the cream into the pan you're going to be cooking in and set it out to room temperature 30 minutes before cooking. This will take the chill out of the cream, and will hasten cooking a bit.

3. I cooked the cream and chocolate chips on LOW (not medium low as the recipe says) for 30 minutes (instead of 35), making sure that no chocolate is sticking to the bottom as I'm stirring. When the chocolate has all melted and the mixture looked homogeneous, I increased the heat *slightly*. If the cream is chilly when you started cooking, this will take longer than 35 minutes.

4. I placed the heated cream/chocolate in a pre-chilled metal bowl and stirred it for a few minutes to rapidly cool the mixture before proceeding with the cooling step.

5. I placed the mixture in the freezer instead of the fridge, and stirred every 10 minutes for the first 30 minutes, then every 15 afterwards for 1 hour and 50 minutes. The idea is to make sure that the whole batch hardens instead of having the sides set and the centre remain soft.

The frosting is done when it is very thick but still spreadable (it should hold furrows and soft shapes sculpted with a butter knife).

When done, the frosting has this texture:

This only seems like a lot of work. Really, only the first 30 minutes requires small vigilance, the rest is... well... a cake walk.

This recipe is ideal for multitaskers. Once I got to cooling the frosting, I was able to work on other things (I used the oven timer to remind me of every 15 minute mark).

Lastly, Ally (Jim's lovely better half)offered a tip that proved serendipitous: to serve the cake after it has sat at room temperature (especially if it has had a sojourn in the fridge). This really brings out the chocolate taste.


The Food Librarian said...

These are great changes to the recipe! This is surely save time. Your photos are wonderful and the cake looks delicious! Keep baking!

Diane said...

Ahhh this looks so good, I wasnt going to do a chocolate icing, but now I will.. Did you also half the buttercream recipe?