Friday, February 18, 2011

Andrea's Birthday Cake

While I'm finishing up the quilt I told you about in my last blog, I thought I'd tell you about Andrea's birthday cake.

Andrea said she wanted America's Test Kitchen's Triple Chocolate Mousse Cake for her birthday cake. I offered to make it.  I have standard cakes I make all the time, but this was something new.
So after buying the ingredients and stewing and worrying about messing it up (remember my problem with measuring? It extends beyond linear measurements to cups and weights and anything, really). So I watched the video. It was so helpful!

Here's the recipe from the Test Kitchen itself (To gain access to all their recipes, register free). I'm adding my comments below in black.  Because I worked from the recipe as printed from the ATK website, I found that I had to keep flipping back to the ingredients' list. So I created a shopping list for you and then listed the ingredients needed with each step so you don't have to keep scrolling back.  I also put the entire ingredients' list at the end of the blog.  

I made the cake the evening before the party. It took about two hours from start to the end of clean up.

Serves 12 to 16
This recipe requires a springform pan at least 3 inches high. It is imperative that each layer is made in sequential order. Cool the base completely before topping it with the middle layer. We recommend Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar for the base and middle layers; our other recommended brand of chocolate, Callebaut Intense Dark L-60-40NV, may be used, but it will produce drier, slightly less sweet results. Our preferred brand of white chocolate is Guittard Choc-Au-Lait White Chips. (search though I did, I couldn't find these. I used Ghirardelli white chocolate chips). For best results, chill the mixer bowl before whipping the heavy cream. The entire cake can be made through step 8 and refrigerated up to a day in advance; leave it out at room temperature for up to 45 minutes before releasing it from the cake pan and serving. For neater slices, use a cheese wire or dip your knife in hot water before cutting each slice.
Common Household Items needed: hot water, spring-form pan that is at least 3 inches high, spatulas, stand mixer, waxed paper and tin foil
  • To summarize the ingredients for  for your shopping trip, you'll need:
  • 1. 14 oz of bittersweet baking chocolate (4  Ghirardelli bittersweet baking bars )
  • 2. 1 bag of white chocolate chips
  • 3. 1 quart of heavy cream
  • 4. cocoa powder  (I used Hershey's and no one complained)
  • 5. espresso powder (this is available from King Arthur's Flour online but I imagine you can find it around town)
  • 6. 1 package unflavored gelatin
  • 7. light brown sugar
  • 8. vanilla
  • 9. eggs
  • 10. unsalted butter

  • INSTRUCTIONS
    1. FOR THE BOTTOM LAYER:
    Bottom Layer Ingredients:
    6tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter , cut into 6 pieces, plus extra for greasing pan
    7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine (see note)
    3/4teaspoon instant espresso powder
    1 1/2teaspoons vanilla extract
    4large eggs, separated
    pinch table salt
    1/3
 cup packed (about 2 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar, crumbled with fingers to remove lumps
    Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Butter bottom and sides of 91/2-inch spring-form pan. 
    Separate the eggs:

    Melt butter, chocolate, and espresso powder in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and cool mixture slightly, about 5 minutes. Whisk in vanilla and egg yolks; set aside.

    2. In stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, beat egg whites and salt at medium speed until frothy, about 30 seconds.

     Add half of brown sugar and beat until combined, about 15 seconds.

     Add remaining brown sugar and beat at high speed until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, about 1 minute longer, scraping down sides halfway through. 
    see how the color of the egg whites and brown sugar has changed when the peaks are formed.

    Using whisk, fold one-third of beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture to lighten. Using rubber spatula, fold in remaining egg whites until no white streaks remain. 

    Carefully transfer batter to prepared springform pan, gently smoothing top with offset spatula.
    3. Bake until cake has risen, is firm around edges, and center has just set but is still soft (center of cake will spring back after pressing gently with finger), 13 to 18 minutes. Transfer cake to wire rack to cool completely, about 1 hour. (Cake will collapse as it cools.) Do not remove cake from pan.
    Notice how my baked bottom layer has shrunken away from the sides of the pan? Andrea said this didn't happen to her. But it sure happened to my cake. 

    Maybe this is because I left it on the cookie sheet for a few minutes before I put the pan on the wire rack? Don't know. But I did know that the subsequent layers were going to slop over onto the sides and there would not be a smooth finish as shown on the ATK video. So I made a collar.

    I tried to make one from tin foil, but it was too stiff and I was afraid of battering the cake, so I made a second of waxed paper. 

    This I very carefully stood it to fit around the edge of the pan filling the gap created by the shrunken cake and forming the support for the top, delicate layers. 

    4.FOR THE MIDDLE LAYER:
    Ingredients: Middle Layer
    tablespoons cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
    5
 tablespoons hot water
    ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine (see note)
    1 1/2
 cups cold heavy cream
    tablespoon granulated sugar
    1/8
 teaspoon table salt
    Combine cocoa powder and hot water in small bowl; set aside. Melt chocolate in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan filled with 1 inch of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and cool slightly, 2 to 5 minutes.
    5. In clean bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip cream, granulated sugar, and salt at medium speed until mixture begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, 15 to 60 seconds.

    6. Whisk cocoa powder mixture into melted chocolate until smooth. Using whisk, fold one-third of whipped cream into chocolate mixture to lighten. Using rubber spatula, fold in remaining whipped cream until no white streaks remain. 

    Spoon mousse into springform pan over cooled cake and gently tap pan on counter 3 times to remove any large air bubbles; gently smooth top with offset spatula. Wipe inside edge of pan with damp cloth to remove any drips. Refrigerate cake at least 15 minutes while preparing top layer.
    7.FOR THE TOP LAYER:
    Ingredients: Top Layer
    3/4teaspoon powdered gelatin
    1tablespoon water
    6ounces white chocolate chips (see note)
    1 1/2cups cold heavy cream
    Shaved chocolate or cocoa powder for serving, optional (see note) (If you buy Ghirardelli's, because of the way it is packaged, you'll have some leftover for shaving)
    In small bowl, sprinkle gelatin over water; let stand at least 5 minutes. Place white chocolate in medium bowl. Bring ½ cup cream to simmer in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat; add gelatin mixture and stir until fully dissolved. Pour cream mixture over white chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth, about 30 seconds. Cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally, 5 to 8 minutes (mixture will thicken slightly).
    8. In clean bowl of stand mixer fitted with whisk attachment, whip remaining cup cream at medium speed until it begins to thicken, about 30 seconds. Increase speed to high and whip until soft peaks form when whisk is lifted, 15 to 60 seconds. Using whisk, fold one-third of whipped cream into white chocolate mixture to lighten. Using rubber spatula, fold remaining whipped cream into white chocolate mixture until no white streaks remain. Spoon white chocolate mousse into pan over middle layer. 

    Smooth top with offset spatula. Return cake to refrigerator and chill until set, at least 2½ hours.
    in the refrigerator

    9.TO SERVE: If using, garnish top of cake with chocolate curls or dust with cocoa. Run thin knife between cake and side of spring-form pan; remove side of pan. Run cleaned knife along outside of cake to smooth sides. Cut into slices and serve.
    Joe had plenty of candles. 

    There were 22 party guests and everyone (over 1 year old) got a small slice. We served the cake with fresh raspberries.  We served completely dairy-free chocolate pecan pie to those guests who can't eat dairy and that way they didn't feel left out. 
    When we sang Happy Birthday to Andrea, 

    Jack ran to the table, scrambled up onto a chair 
    while his cousins watched, Jack came to lend a hand. That was a big fire to blow out!
    and helped blow out the candles.


    Andrea's family has a wonderful tradition of singing again, in Polish, the Happy Birthday song.  Next birthday, I'm going to video it for you.  Jack, pleased with himself for blowing out the candles, also sang every word of the Polish version. 
    Everyone loved the cake!
    Ingredients List:
    Bottom Layer
    6tablespoons (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 6 pieces, plus extra for greasing pan
    7ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine (see note)
    3/4teaspoon instant espresso powder
    1 1/2teaspoonsvanilla extract
    4large eggs, separated
    pinch table salt
    1/3cup packed (about 2 1/2 ounces) light brown sugar, crumbled with fingers to remove lumps
    Middle Layer
    2tablespoons cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
    5tablespoons hot water
    7ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped fine (see note)
    1 1/2cups cold heavy cream
    1tablespoon granulated sugar
    1/8teaspoon table salt
    Top Layer
    3/4teaspoon powdered gelatin
    1tablespoon water
    6ounces white chocolate chips (see note)
    1 1/2cups cold heavy cream
    Shaved chocolate or cocoa powder for serving, optional (see note)
    (If you buy Ghirardelli's, because of the way it is packaged, you'll have some leftover for shaving

3 comments:

  1. This really is a complicated recipe and I very much appreciate your taking the time to make it and pass along the recipe. I love the pictures :) Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
  2. OH WOW!!!! I should be cleaning but reading about this cake and thinking about it is MUCH more entertaining :)! Happy Birthday Andrea!
    ~Karis

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  3. yum! This is a gluten free cake! I think I'll make this for Luke's Birthday.

    ReplyDelete