Saturday, February 28, 2009

Daring Bakers February: For the Love of Chocolate

The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

For this month's Daring Bakers challenge we all made chocolate valentino cakes. We were to serve our cake with an ice cream of our choice. I made a buttermilk-vanilla ice cream to go with my cake.

The ice cream was a real experiment for me. I am going to be teaching a class later this year on making ice cream without an ice cream maker and so I experimented with David Lebovitz's method for machine-free frozen treats. It's pretty simple: put your ice cream base in a container. Stick in the freezer and stir vigorously about every half hour until it looks like ice cream. The advantage of this method is that is gives you very dense, almost gelato-like ice cream (and you don't need another appliance in the kitchen). That said, I think I prefer the smoother, churned texture I get from my ice-cream maker. But if I didn't have the equipment on hand, the "freeze and stir" method would be a very good fall back technique to have in your arsenal.

The recipe I developed doesn't contain any eggs: I wanted it to be super fast to pull together. I also scaled the recipe for a small quantity (about 2 cups worth).

Creamy Buttermilk Ice Cream
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • pinch salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a small saucepan, heat the sugar and about 1/2 cup of the cream together. Heat, stirring, until the sugar dissolves. Add the vanilla and salt. Pour the sweetened cream into a storage container and add the rest of the cream and the buttermilk. Stir to combine. Chill for at least four hours if you are going to use an ice cream maker. If you use the "freeze and stir" method, you can start that right away.

This flourless chocolate cake is fairly similar to the Cook's Illustrated version I make. The only material difference in the two recipes is the CI version has you whip the whole eggs until very thick. I made a half-batch of the recipe and baked it in a 6" springform. It makes a very dense, fudgy cake. I think I overbaked mine a tiny bit as it was the tiniest but dry (ice cream can cover that sin pretty well however). To account for the smaller pan, I reduced the oven temp to 350 and the baking time to 20 minutes, but I should have pulled it out at 17 minutes, methinks. The full recipe is reprinted below.

Chocolate Valentino Cake
  • 16 ounces (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
  • 5 large eggs, separated
Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.

While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling, butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.

Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.

Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).

With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.

Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.

Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.

Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C.

Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C. (Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.)

Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.


Lisa Michelle said...

Great job on the cake and ice cream. I'd be terrible using the no ice cream maker method, because I'd most probably forget to stir it several times! lol

Sunday Cook said...

The trick with the no-maker-method is to set a timer to go off every 25-30 minutes. No way I would remember otherwise!

Anonymous said...

Hey Mary!

I didn't know you did DB too...ahh, I'm hoping March's challenge is more interesting.

Nonetheless, great job with the challenge.

Claire said...

Mmmm...buttermilk ice cream. Sounds yummy! I just don't have room in my current freezer to do that. All looks wonderful.

Bumblebutton said...

Buttermilk ice cream sounds so refreshing and a nice way to cut the density of the cake. How fun to teach an ice cream class!! Nice that you have another favorite cake recipe to fall on. Bravo!

kellypea said...

I swear I must be the only person on this planet who doesn't have that ice cream book. The buttermilk sounds yummy in this and I'm wondering how much honey could be substituted for the sugar. I've been on a honey kick of sorts. I agree with you on the consistency of the churned ice cream, but I'd still like to give this a go.

Audax Artifex said...

From your posting on the DB forum I thought that your blog would be 'heavy' BUT there is no mention that you are feeling 'down' maybe the chocolates (full of feel-good chemicals) had its affect. I really like buttermilk ice cream thanks for the recipe will try soon. I did the non-churn (hand-made) method also and I worked out well apart from mixing every 30 mins for 4 hours. Great job on this challenge. Yours from Australia Audax

Anonymous said...

Great job! Very pretty.

Sunday Cook said...

Hi Linsey - Only my second month in DB, I like the challenge (so far) of making something I might not choose to make on my own. I agree, I am looking forward (hoping) to March blowing my socks off!

Sunday Cook said...

Claire (and all): you can also try the freeze and stir method with a ziploc bag, I've been told. Instead of stirring, just squish the bag around every 15-20 minutes. The bag should be able to fit in a fairly small space in the freezer!

Audax: it's 28 and snowing here, I can't imagine what 90 degrees feels like anymore. :-) Your cake is lovely BTW.

Kellypea: Buy the book, by now you should be able to find one second-hand. Seriously amazing ice cream recipes.

Jenny said...

I used an ice cream maker, but I want to try the stir method after reading your take on it. :)

Sunday Cook said...

Jenny: I own three(!) ice cream makers and still did it this way (mainly because I'd forgotten to freeze my insert!). Definitely easy and the results were pretty delicious.

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