This cake was never going to be made. I was to busy this past weekend, I was hosting my annual Hot Chocolate Party for my girlfriend and I was cooking up a storm and figure that Hot Chocolate + Chocolate cake was NOT a match made in heaven, so I put it on my list to skip it.
But then on Monday, actually late Sunday, the posts from my fellow bakers started to trickle in and words like “light as a feather and as soft as a whisper”, “EPIC”, “Everything a cake should be”, “the caramel whip cream is to die for”…were written all over the place, and the praises continue in our Baker Facebook group, where it seem this cake was the talk of the town. I was sucked in and posted that I was on my way to the kitchen to see if this cake was going to be the belle of the ball in Casa P.
Like everyone said before, it may look like a lot, being that the recipe has 6 pages of instructions, but its because it has 4 different components – The batter for the cake, the Ganache for frosting part of the cake, the caramel, that ends up in the last step, the whipped cream, which according to everyone who baked and tasted the cake, “IS the best thing on the cake”.
I cannot say much for the cake batter, because that step took less time than prepping the cake pan. The equipment list asked that we use a 9x3 spring form pan. Folks I have over 20+ baking pans in my kitchen – TWENTY, and NONE of those meet the 9x3 size. I was not about to go search for one, so I debated – do I scale down the recipe and use my small 6x3? Or do I use my 9x 2¾ one, and not fill it to the top?
Lazy won out, and I decided to go for broke and use the bigger size, and hope that that all the batter would fit in it. Then you had to line the pan with parchment paper on the inside and cake strips on the outside. Finally I had to deal with the rose nail, which SURPRISE I knew I had one – FINALLY, that long ago decorating Wilton Class in Michael’s would pay off! I was so excited I did a happy dance, until I open my decorating tool box and saw that my rose nail was not METAL but plastic – Cheap manufacturing crap - there was a bunch of cursing that happen at this point, and serious thinking about taking the plunge and using it, but images of melted plastic in chocolate cake stopped that thought process right on quick.
But see, this is why sometimes it pays off to procrastinate on these bake along, our fearless leader Marie, had the innovated Woody helping her during this cake and they MacGyver a Rose nail out of her husband tool box – So I copycat it and raided Tom’s tool box and we were in business.
As previous noted, the batter cake together pretty fast, so fast that I did not even break out the KA for this one, but use my hand-held to beat the egg whites and a whisk to mix the other ingredients – into the oven it went to then tantalized me with the chocolate aroma for the next 45 minutes.
Out of the oven it cake out and unlike most of my fellow bakers, I notice my top did not crack, but the cake was way done… I waited the requited 1-minute before flipping it and letting it chill away. Unmolding it almost 2 hours later – it was a bit tricky, but the delicate chiffon cake held it own and did not crumbled on me.
Next up, the ganache, pretty standard stuff - hot cream, plus 60% chocolate, a bit of Kahlua, a bit of vanilla and to the side it went to rest up and as I was getting ready to forge ahead and complete the final two steps, THIS guy started giving me all types of hints that he wanted to go outside for a walk to play in the woods…
So, the final two steps, the caramel and whip cream, was put on hold until the next day.
Today, I woke up with that feeling - my luck was going to run out. After baking this long, I know it in my bones when it’s the wrong day to bake.
It all started well…The caramel came together pretty fast, I have done so many caramel, I can pretty much eye ball it and know at which stage it is during the cooking. It turned out to be a glorious amber color, which turned into a deeper mahogany as soon as I added the cocoa mix. So far so good.
Until the next step…
The whip cream; again nothing-ultra difficult here, but what is that saying, “always expect the unexpected?” … Yeah, this whip cream decided to bring my over confident self down a peg or two.
It started with no issues, I was whipping along, then added the caramel (which was at the right temp), then I started to fold in the gelatin mix, which again was at the right temperature. And then….
I knew I was in trouble. My cream started to curdle and separate – oh, oh. I immediately stopped the whipping and DID NOT PANIC – I was an ALPHA baker for Christ sake, I got this.
I took some more cream out and slowly started to add it to the curdle one, and with a wire whisk slowly tried to bring it back. And for a bit, I thought I had save it.
But that whip cream had it for me today.
Reality smack me right back.. It did not work. Instead, It got worse; in fact, it went from curdle to liquid.
I tried putting it in back in the refrigerator to get it cold again, and after a bit, tried once more to whip it, nothing, it was a total DOA at this point. I did some healthy cursing around my kitchen, I called the cream all the names I could think of, in spanish and Italian to REALLY make my point, and then when I let it all out of my system, I cut my losses and though about starting all over again.
Except, I did not have the heart to dump it out and start from scratch… so I decided that my whip cream was now a Caramel sauce and was going to be poured it on the cake.
The cake taste was perfect in its chocolate goodness, the ganache was just the way I like it, not to sweet, with the subtle boozy flavor of the addition of the Kahlua, and well the caramel whip sauce, was good – I’m sure it would have gotten the “to die for” high praise if it would have worked as intended. But, I’m calling it a win, since Tom, who is not a fan of chocolate cake, ate 2 pieces. In the meantime, I’m so glad that next week choice its pie, I don’t think I can handle another baking failure.
You can check out the rest of The Baking Bible Alpha Bakers doing their stuff by stopping at the bake along blog.
Disclaimer: As previously noted, no recipes are shared in my Cake Bible posts, due to publishing restrictions enforced by the publisher of Rose’s The Baking Bible. But, you can support me and her by purchasing the book.