Sunday, February 5, 2012

Black and White Chocolate Layer Cake

Dorie Greenspan's book Baking From My Home to Yours includes several Big Cakes, as it should.  Those time-and-equipment-intensive layer cakes, each composed of multiple different elements, alternately inspire and terrify me.  If this were just an average book on my shelf, I might select one of these layer cakes if I had something that I wanted to celebrate (with cake) and I had the time at my disposal to bake it.

In the course of baking through the entire cookbook as part of the Tuesdays With Dorie baking group, with recipes announced monthly as assignments for the group, however, these cake recipes periodically popped up like little landmines. Boom - a cake recipe was chosen, and suddenly I would find myself scrambling around for a layer cake occasion and meshing the cake's steps and my schedule.

It's a little easier now that I'm catching up on the recipes that I missed from the early days before I was a TWD member, and posting them in the original order, because I know which recipes are coming and when.  I have a list of all the recipes and the original posting dates [which you can see on my Tuesdays With Dorie page] so now I can plan ahead to fit baked good to appropriate event.  The Black and White Chocolate Cake was chosen as the TWD baking assignment four years ago today, and I prepared a mini version several weeks ago for my book group meeting.

n.o.e.'s notes:

-  The founder of TWD, Laurie of the blog Slush, posted the recipe on her blog in February, 2008.

-  I baked a half recipe in two 6" cake pans.  The cake layers are a vanilla buttermilk, and the cake is filled with a dark chocolate mousse and frosted with a white chocolate whipped cream.

-  I measure my ingredients by weight whenever possible, and I know that Dorie's cup of all purpose flour is 4.8 ounces or 136 grams.  This recipe calls for cake flour, though, and I had no idea how much to use by weight.  Internet sources varied wildly on weight of 1 cup of cake flour, anywhere from 3.5 oz to 4.25 oz.  I went with the heaviest because Dorie uses a "heavy cup" for regular flour (4.75 oz).  Also that's what it came out to when I double checked the measurement with my measuring cup.

-  There was no buttermilk in my fridge, so I used pourable yogurt from Traderspoint Creamery for my cake batter. (Nope, they don't pay me to mention their product, same with any brand I mention on my blog.)

-  In the cake batter I also used some wonderful duck eggs from my farm box.

-   For the white chocolate, I used a mixture of Callebaut and Ghiradelli.

-   For the dark chocolate, I used a mixture of 61% el Rey and 72% Trader Joe's.

-   This recipe used 8 bowls, 4 sauce pans, 2 cake pans, 1 cookie sheet, 1 cooling rack, 2 sieves, 4 silicone scrapers, an arsenal of table knives, 2 measuring cups, a knife, and assorted measuring spoons. To be fair, some of the bowls were prep bowls where I pre-measured ingredients, but this was a sink-ful of dishes for a little cake!

-  Constructing a cake with even layers, frosting it neatly and cutting it cleanly so that the filling doesn't smear into the layers is beyond my ability, but it must be possible because the picture of the cake slice in the book is absolute perfection!

the verdict:

The cake was well-received at my book group, but in this after-holidays time of year, most of the members were limiting carbs, or limiting sweets, or on diets, so the pieces they cut from the cake were mighty small.  I ended up with a good bit left over, and I can report that it keeps extremely well in the fridge.  Because it is not sugary-sweet, it is great any time of day, and makes for a lovely breakfast in a pinch.

The cake layers are tender and moist with a charming touch of vanilla.  The chocolate pastry cream was fantastic as a slightly-bitter filling, and the whipped cream frosting provided a creamy sweetness and just a hint of white chocolate flavor.

With this cake, I've finished all of the layer cakes in Dorie's book.  Here are my posts from the others:
Perfect Party Cake
Devil's Food "Wite Out" Cake (the "Cover Cake")
Chocolate Caramel Chestnut Cake (variations)
Cocoa Buttermilk Birthday Cake
Bill's Half-Sized Carrot Cake


Anonymous said...

Yum. I've made this one. Your cake looks great!

collin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Abby said...

That looks so good, Nancy! I'm a little intimidated with all of the dishes, but I think I'll have to give this one a try soon. :)

Di said...

That looks great, Nancy! This cake is on my list of things that I still haven't made. I like your idea of doing a small cake; might be time to break out my 6" pans again. =)

Andrea at Nummy Kitchen said...

Your cake looks wonderful! I've been wanting to try that one for a while. I wish I had a little book club to bring treats to, how fun.

I am trying to bake all the TWD treat I've missed as well, I think that, as of today, I'm trying to do it just in the order they appear in the book, although that may change. It will be nice to keep up and see all of these "old" recipes baked and reviewed :)

Peggy said...

For some reason, I don't remember this cake. Love your "small" cake. Would be perfect at my house!

Kayte said...

Wow, this turned out so beautifully gorgeous! I love anything layered, it always just looks so pretty. I probably should make this for a special occasion...making note of it now to do so...Mark's mother would probably love this for Mother's Day. I always learn so much from all your notes.

TeaLady said...

Looks so pretty. Love the little polka dot plate. It didn't last long at our house. Tasty.

Leslie said...

Lovely cake, Nancy! I wish I could say I was finished but I still have the cocoa birthday cake. Maybe next weekend...

Unknown said...

I missed this one too, but it is such a beautiful cake I really need to find an occasion to make it. I agree with Di - good idea to make it in 6" pans, much more manageable!