My copy of My Sweet Kitchen by Linda Lomelino (her blog, Call Me Cupcake is a favourite of mine) is starting to look a little beat up. Dustings of cocoa powder have added some grit to the pages. Well-used recipes are a bit sticky from icing sugar that I attempted to wipe off with a damp cloth. There is a splatter of chocolate on the chocolate cake page. While I do try to look after it, I sometimes get into the "baking zone" and things start flying. The concern is that I have owned the book for less than a year! For a baking blogger, the book is a gem because it offers the beautiful photography and recipes that one would expect as well as tips on how to create that imagery. For the home baker, the recipes are approachable and often have a bit of a twist.
It is in better condition than my mom’s cherished 1980’s Better Homes and Gardens cookbook but I think it is well on its way to having that” loved look” to it. On days when I am in the kitchen, whipping up dinner and then taking a long time to make the perfect dessert, my husband’s sighs and mutters “you cook like your mother.” He is referring to flour on the floor, the bowls piled in the sink and the use of all the available countertop space. Of course, I take this as a compliment and celebrate the fact that I do something similar to her.
If you are looking for a delicious chocolate cake that has more of a wow factor, than look no further. Chocolate addicts rejoice as this recipe has three types of chocolate: dark, milk and cocoa. The cake itself has a moist crumb and it is easy to achieve excellent results with this recipe (even in my finicky oven). The drippy layer of dark chocolate is the most difficult part to achieve a consistent look. I had planned to share this recipe months ago, but I had to practice dripping the chocolate down the sides. Balance is achieved by the toasted meringue frosting.
Before decorating the cake with the chocolate glaze (also known as the drippy layer), I suggest that you consult these tips by Tessa Huff at Style Sweet. The first time that I attempted to make a drippy cake was an absolute disaster because I poured all of the glaze on the top of the cake and hoped for the best. Slow and steady will lead to a much more aesthetically pleasing cake. Regardless of the end design, the cake will taste delicious and you will have a pile of dishes to wash up!
Chocolate Cake with Meringue Brûlée
Reprinted with permission from My Sweet Kitchen, by Linda Lomelino, copyright © 2016 (English translation), published by Roost Books, An Imprint of Shambhala Publications, Inc.
Makes: 1 6-inch (15 cm) layer cake (serving 8-10)
Time: 3 hours (Baking time: 40 minutes + Prep time 1 hour + Decorating and Rest time 1 hour 20 minutes) + Clean-up time
5 ½ tbsp (78 g) salted butter
1 ½ cups (300 g) granulated sugar
1 ¼ cups 156 g) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (79 g) cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
2 large eggs
¼ cup (168 g) whole milk
¾ cup (170 g) boiling water
Milk Chocolate Frosting
198 g (7 ounces) milk chocolate
21 tbsp (or 1 cup plus 5 tbsp or 298 g) salted butter, room temperature
3 tbsp espresso or strong coffee (I substituted freshly squeezed orange juice)
2/3 cup (75 g) icing sugar
pinch of salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
76 g (2 2/3 ounces) dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
2 ½ tbsp (35 g) salted butter
2 egg whites
¼ cup plus 2 tbsp (75 g) light Muscovado sugar (I substituted brown sugar)
Two 6-inch (15 cm) cake tins
A good whisk
Piping bag and round tip/nozzle
Torch for browning the meringue
Making the Cake Layers
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Butter and flour two 6-inch (15 cm) cake pans.
2. Melt the butter and let it cool slightly.
3. Mix the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Add the cooled butter, the eggs, and milk and beat until smooth. Add the boiling water and beat until smooth.
Making the Milk Chocolate Frosting
1. Chop the milk chocolate and melt in the top of a double boiler with simmering water in the bottom pot. Let cool slightly.
2. Beat the butter in a medium bowl until light and creamy. Add the espresso, confectioners’ sugar, salt, and vanilla and beat until smooth and creamy. Add the melted chocolate and beat a little more.
Assembling the Cake
Cut the cooled cake layers in half horizontally so you have four thin layers. Place one layer on a plate. Cover the layer with frosting and add another layer. Continue stacking and frosting until the last layer has been added, then cover the entire cake with frosting. Refrigerate the cake while you make the chocolate glaze.
Making the Chocolate Glaze
1. Chop the chocolate and melt it with the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Let cool to room temperature.
2. Take the cake out of the refrigerator and pour the chocolate glaze over it. Quickly spread the glaze with an offset spatula or a spoon so that it runs down the sides. Refrigerate the cake again.
Making the Meringue Frosting
1. Pour boiling water into a saucepan or the bottom of a double broiler and simmer over low heat. Put the egg whites and Muscovado sugar into a heatproof bowl or saucepan and place over the simmering water in the bottom pan. Using a hand whisk, beat the mixture until it reaches 150°F (65.6°C), or until all the sugar crystals have dissolved.
2. Pour the mixture into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until the meringue is light and fluffy. Continue beating until the mixture cools, about 10 minutes.
3. Fit a pastry bag with a round tip and fill the bag with meringue frosting. Remove the cake from the refrigerator and pipe rosettes on the top of the cake. Brown the meringue rosettes with a kitchen blowtorch (optional).
Best served at a birthday or special occasion.
From a workflow perspective, I suggest that you bake the cake on Day 1. On Day 2, make the frostings, glaze and decorate that cake.
What cookbook do you find you consult all the time? I would love to know!