At the beginning of every month, the Daring Bakers hoss(s) of the month choose a top secret recipe for us DBers to bake, and at the end of the month, we reveal our results!
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.
The link to Dharm's blog goes straight to the recipe. A chocolate Valentino cake is supposed to feature heart shapes.
So . . .
I made sure that mine did. Photo by Chris Wass.
The cake is supposed to be a heart. You can't say my cake doesn't have a heart! I served it during my monthly Savories and Sweets dinner party the day after Valentine's Day, so it was appropriate.
Our hosts also asked us to make our own ice cream to serve with the cake, and I opted for David Lebovitz's Fleur de Lait from his book, Perfect Scoop, which I've had from the library for many, many months now because it's just that good. This recipe is my favorite. I won't write it here, but you can find it here.
Photo by Chris Wass. I used a combination of unsweetened and bittersweet chocolate, and the cake was very rich and chocolatey, so the fleur de lait made a great foil.
What I learned:
I'm not afraid of folding ingredients together, unless two of those ingredients are chocolate and egg whites. Maybe the fat in cocoa butter messes me up. Maybe it's all in my head. But whether it's chocolate meringues or macarons, my mixture seems to go totally flat. This time, I managed to fold it all together just right--knifing the spatula straight down the middle to the bottom of the bowl, then sweeping it up the inside of the bowl, dredging up ingredients from the bottom to gently lay over the top, over and over. I once read somewhere that you shouldn't fold ingredients for longer than a minute. Another source said to use no more than 100 folds. I just kinda make sure I don't make more than 100 folds in over a minute . . . =)
The batter came out well.
Stencils are a great way to decorate cakes--cocoa powder sifted over light-colored cakes, or powdered sugar over dark. Doilies are commonly used as stencils because they're so beautiful and intricate, and a lot of my fellow DBers took that route. I love making art stencils, though, so I gave my own spin on hearts and took the anatomical road.
This cake is only as good as the chocolate you use.
Check out what my fellow DBers did by tracking them down through our blogroll.