Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Did Someone Say Cake?

Well, not having a lot of time on my hands – means that occasionally I need to think ahead when a few unaccounted for minutes come my way. On one such an occasion a week or so ago I got the urge to bake. Now for me, baking is the fun part. I don’t necessarily have to eat it – well not right away anyway. So, I whipped up a nice hazelnut sponge from my old friend the Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook. They call it the "Filbert Torte", but that's a little high brow for me. Sweet, but not too sweet and nutty but not like a mouth full of nuts. My urge being satisfied I popped that little treasure into the freezer for a rainy day.

Okay, so it didn’t rain on Saturday, but M mentioned cake and I was off.

Cake I said, yes, we can do cake. Out came the sponge to thaw. I didn’t need a lot of thought on what to pair with it, White Chocolate Ganache from Rose Levy Beranbaum's Cake Bible would do the trick quite nicely. Out came my prized stock pile of Callebaut White Chocolate (time to buy some more I am getting desperately low) and Lindt White Chocolate bars. I prefer the Lindt bars for creaminess in the ganache, but nothing beats Callebaut for taste and snap for the chocolate leaves I planned for garnish. Since it is spring I thought a few raspberries in the middle might be nice too.

After one failed attempt on the ganache – boy am I out of practice – I have some advice for anyone who tries Rosie’s recipes - follow the instructions exactly! Sadly I didn’t the first time and had to toss the result due to solid chocolate on the beaters! Well, when I did follow the instructions I got the silky smooth whipped cloud I was looking for.

You don’t have to go to the trouble of making your own chocolate leaves if you don’t want to. Nowadays you can buy chocolate shapes in the grocery store. I prefer to make my own, but hey that’s just me.

Hazelnut Sponge
(Adapted from Good Housekeeping Illustrated Cookbook 1988)

6 Eggs, separated
3/4C Sugar
1/3C Dried, plain bread crumbs
1/4C Flour
1C Ground Hazelnuts (available from King Arthur Flour)
1t Vanilla (the recipe calls for this in the topping I add it to the cake)
1 tray of fresh raspberries

2 Recipes White Chocolate Ganache (The Cake Bible)
White Chocolate Leaves

Preheat Oven to 325°F

Beat Whites to soft peaks at high speed. With mixer on gradually add ¼ C sugar. Continue eating until stiff peaks form (do not over beat or your cake will be dry).

In another bowl beat egg yolks at medium speed until lemon colored and thick. Gradually beat in sugar and vanilla until blended. Stir in bread crumbs, flour and 2/3 C nuts.

Lighten egg yolk mixture with a few tablespoons of egg white; fold remaining whites into yolk mixture. Pour into 9 x 3 inch spring form pan (DO NOT use a non-stick pan, and DO NOT GREASE PAN.)

Bake 40 minutes or until top springs back when lightly touched. Invert cake in pan on wire rack if it has not grown over the edge of pan. If it has; place an empty ring from another 9 inch pan under it and place all that on the rack to cool complete. This keeps the lightness and height in tack.(Now you can freeze this cake for up to one month with no adverse effects.)

Split the cake in half horizontally. Spread about a cup of ganache over cake and place an even layer of raspberries into ganache, reserving a few for garnish. Press down lightly and cover raspberries with more ganache.

Top with remaining layer, coat liberally with ganache, top and sides – it doesn’t need to be perfect, but as smooth as you can.

Lightly press remaining nuts onto the sides of cake and arrange chocolate leaves on top in a flower pattern. Place reserved raspberries in the middle.

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