Thursday, February 18, 2010

Finishing Off The Work Week

Yes, thank God it's Thursday...the end of MY work week. I finally got around to baking off the mini cupcakes I've been planning since Christmas so my work mates got a sweet treat to help 'em to Friday. It's a crazy good recipe from Birnbaum's Cake Bible but nearly not worth the trouble...NEARLY.

I start off with the All American Chocolate Butter Cake. This part is not too difficult and really, really yummy. Reminiscent of a Devil Dog (kicked up a whole bunch of notches) this super chocolaty, melt-in-your-mouth cake gets it's strong flavor from Dutch-processed cocoa. Seemingly a bit dry (like the Drake's Dog) when you first take a bite, the butter in the cake literally begins to melt releasing a great fudgey flavor.

The tedious element to this confection is a Caramel Silk Butter Cream filling. I have never tried any other recipe for this but I think another could be satisfactorily substituted. I use this because I had never seen a caramel flavored frosting, which in my opinion is what puts this cake over the top. Birnbaum's recipe is made in 3 separate steps - first you make a creme anglais, then a silk meringue. The 2 come together when whipped with a significant amount of pure sweet creamery butter. The process is long and precise and I never have luck with the 'from scratch" caramel syrup. It always goes to hard ball/crackle stage before I can get it incorporated so I have to do some fancy footwork to make it happen. I have recently found a more conventional butter cream recipe with the caramel flavor so I might try using that one next time.

I top the cake off with a lovely, rich smooth ganache. With a very noticeable flavoring of Cognac, it is too die for.

I made the cake in two 9" layers and used a very small biscuit cutter to make little rounds. They didn't hold together as well as I had hoped but as Grandma used to say: "It doesn't matter - it will look worse than that when it gets where it's going!"

So au revoir to mes amis at Variety...until Monday! Have a good weekend.

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