Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Chocolate Framboise (Chocolate & Raspberry Cake)

It started with cake. Back in July, I had seen all these impressive, beautiful stacked cakes on Pinterest and I so wanted to make one of my own. But I knew that it would be a waste to just suddenly decide to make one which could serve more than ten people, and offer it to our household of three. So I needed an excuse - and what better than a party?

It's not my birthday and it wasn't a christmas party (though the party favors were somewhat festive). Instead it was simply a summer party. This gathering was reminiscent of birthday celebrations of my childhood, or at least of children's storybooks. I made a treasure hunt; we had egg-and-spoon and three-legged races from between one pair of hay bales to another; and the spread - well, how about I show you…

After a treasure hunt in which the two teams hunted for a pair of crowns (I made them myself - the how-to and inspiration come from here), we feasted on pea and herb falafel (above left, front), chicken sesame sausage rolls (above right, back) and proscuitto, pesto & mozzarella bruschetta (above left, back). I also added a little sweet thing - lovely coconut macaroons (above right, front). Lazing in the shade and games followed, then this decadent chocolate framboise topped the day off splendidly.

It reminds me of the cakes I saw and tasted in St Kilda's, Melbourne, but the addition of what is, essentially, a lemony raspberry jam between the layers gave the cake a refreshing fruity hit. It was much needed in the afternoon heat. The two bottom layers are soaked in a cocoa syrup then slathered with the raspberry filling and chocolate ganache (which by the way, isn't your average chocolate and cream concoction, oh no), before being stacked with the final layer then covered all over with the rest of that rich mousse-y icing. Upon eating, the cocoa-syrup-infused layers and ganache provide a satisfying contrast of soft and moist with thick and rich, and the raspberry spikes your tongue with just enough tart flavor to set off the, what might over wise be, overpowering dark chocolate flavor. Plus the berries piled on top add another dimension of fresh summer sweetness.

How the cake is presented in the magazine

This is a cake to enjoy with friends, family, the ones you love; a way to show your appreciation of them through the effort you put into this cake. It would definitely be the perfect thing to finish off a christmas party! As a first timer at this sort of cake, I found that the individual elements weren't too difficult, and I quite enjoyed the process. That said, make sure you carefully follow the recipe and be vigilant during the cooking and baking stages. It would also pay to give yourself a lot of time to make the chocolate framboise. I started two days before my party, and decorated it the morning of my little fete. In addition, I followed the advice of this informative blog post to achieve a flat top on my sponge: I reduced the oven temperature to 160°C and baked the cake for about 60 minutes, rather than the 50 minutes suggested in the recipe. Alternately, you can slice the domed top off your cooked cake once cooled to achieve a flat top, as the recipe instructs.

Chocolate Framboise

From Cuisine magazine, Issue 151 March 2012

Raspberry Sauce

200g raspberries
100g caster sugar
2 slices of lemon

Place the raspberries, sugar and lemon slice in a bowl. Set aside for 4 hours then place in a saucepan. Bring to the boil then simmer for 30 minutes. Remove the lemon slices then reserve the sauce.

Chocolate Sponge

6 eggs, separated
150g caster sugar
60g flour
40g cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 170°C. Butte and line the base and sides of a 23cm cake tin.
Whisk the yolks and 30g of the sugar in and electric mixer until pale then set aside.
In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Slowly beat in the remaining 120g sugar, a little at a time, until stiff peaks form.
Fold the yolk mixture through the egg white mixture then sieve the flour and cocoa powder over the top and fold through to combine.
Spoon the mixture into the cake tin. Smooth the top then bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Turn out and allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Cocoa Syrup

100g caster sugar
20g cocoa powder

Place the sugar and cocoa powder in a saucepan together with 250ml water. Bring to the boil, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and strain then set aside to cool. Reserve.

Assembling the cake. Clockwise form top left: Cocoa syrup, raspberry sauce,
special ganache, chocolate sponge layers.

Special Ganache

300ml cream
¼ vanilla bean, split, seeds scraped with the point of a knife
3 egg yolks
20g caster sugar
310g 70% dark chocolate, chopped

Place the cream and the vanilla bean seeds in a saucepan then set aside to infuse.
Bring the cream and vanilla to the boil over medium-high heat then immediately remove from the heat.
Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks and sugar until a pale lemon color. Pour the cream into the egg yolk mix, stirring, then transfer to a clean saucepan. Return to the stovetop over low heat, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until it thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon.
Place the chocolate in a bowl. Pour the egg sauce over the chocolate then stir until smooth. Reserve.

To Assemble

100g white chocolate, chopped
cocoa powder and mint leaves, to serve
225g mixed berries (I used strawberries, blueberries and raspberries)

Use a serrated knife to slice off the top of the cake, so that it is flat (see notes above). Slice the cake horizontally into 3 discs.
Brush one piece of the cake with half the cocoa syrup the top with half the raspberry sauce. Carefully spread one-quarter of the special ganache over the raspberry sauce, going right to the edges.
Top with a second piece of cake and repeat the layers of cocoa syrup, raspberry sauce and ganache.
Finish with the final layer of cake and spread the remaining ganache over the top and sides, using a palette knife to smooth it. Refrigerate the cake for 1-2 hours until set.
Meanwhile, line a tray with baking paper and make a small cone of baking paper to use as a piping bag.
Place the chocolate in a stainless steel or glass bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until melted.
Spoon the chocolate into the piping bag then squeeze a 1cm-diameter circle on the baking paper. Dip your index finger in the chocolate circle then wipe it over the baking paper to form a wing shape about 5cm long. Dip your finger again in the same circle and wipe a 4cm-long wing below, and parallel to, the 5cm wing.
Squeeze another circle of chocolate onto the baking paper and repeat. Continue to repeat this process with the remaining chocolate. Place the tray of chocolate wings in the fridge for 10 minutes to set.
Sieve cocoa powder over the cake the decorate with berries, mint leaves and the chocolate wings.

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