Thursday, March 5, 2009

Just another birthday cake

Just something from the archive that I didn't get a chance to post. I made this cake for a friend's birthday a little over a week ago. The 24th February to be exact. If you've been paying attention, yes, this would be my 4th cake for February. This time I went with an all time classic, something I know everyone would like, chocolate cake.

My housemate first introduce me this chocolate cake around 3 years ago when she made it for a friend. She told me she got it while watching Oprah. It's one of those Oprah's favourite kind of thing. The cake is very dense, almost flourless bmaking it very rich and moist. What differentiate this cake from any flourless choc cake out there is the texture of the cake. Eventhough the mid section is moist, it has a crispy skin that surrounds the cake. This in my opinion is what makes this cake the best chocolate cake. Crispy outside, and moist chocolatey goodness when you bite through. That paired with the whip cream and chocolate sauce.. a true chocoholic dream come true. These texture is in result of the baking technique. It is first baked for 20 minutes in high temperature, then the temp is lowered every 30-40 minutes. Follow the recipe exactly, and you can taste the benefit later. ike the Valentino cake , the chocolate is the key ingredient here, so best to use the finest chocolate, and prefereably couverture. I used my all time favourite (after Valhorna), Lindt couverture 65% semi sweet chocolate.

When making a cake for a guy, I tend to find trouble in decorating the cake. Every decoration I made always ended up very feminine. So this time, I did something fun and quirky. I made a bunch of tuxedo strawberries and some chocolate scribbles for the side of the cake. Here's a video of detailed step by step instruction on making the tuxedo strawberries on YouTube.

The Man Who Took The Cake
by Barbara Kafka, as published in Oprah Magazine, October 2004

  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter , cut into 1-inch pieces, plus extra for pan
  • All-purpose flour for pan
  • 10 ounces bittersweet chocolate , coarsely chopped
  • 6 large eggs , separated
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Whipped cream:
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 2 cups heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons sugar
Chocolate glaze:
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate , coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
To make cake: Preheat oven to 375° and position rack on lowest rung. Butter and flour an 8-inch springform pan.

Place chocolate in top of a double boiler over simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is almost melted. Add butter and stir until mixture is completely smooth. Remove pan from heat, discard simmering water and replace it with warm tap water. Place chocolate mixture back over water and set aside.

In a bowl with an electric mixer, beat egg yolks at medium-high speed until light and lemon colored. Gradually beat in 3/4 cup sugar until mixture becomes very thick. Switch mixer to low speed and blend in chocolate mixture and vanilla.

In a separate mixing bowl, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in remaining 1/4 cup sugar until soft peaks form again. With a rubber spatula, fold 1/3 of egg whites into chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining whites until just blended. Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top.

Bake cake 15 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 300° and bake an additional 15 minutes. Reduce temperature again to 250°; bake 30 minutes. Turn off oven, leaving door ajar and let cake stand in oven for 30 minutes. Transfer cake to a wire rack, cover pan with a damp cloth and let stand 5 minutes. Uncover and cool completely. Remove side of pan. Cake will have a crust that cracked and collapsed as temperature was reduced; gently remove top crust and discard.

To make whipped cream: Bring a small skillet filled halfway with water to a simmer. Fill a glass measuring cup with 1/4 cup cold water and sprinkle gelatin over it; let stand until gelatin softens, about 1 minute. Place measuring cup in simmering water and stir until gelatin completely dissolves. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.

In a large mixing bowl, beat cream at medium-high speed until thick. Gradually beat in dissolved gelatin. Beat in sugar until stiff peaks form; chill.

To make chocolate glaze: Place chopped chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, heat cream over medium heat until small bubbles form around edge of pan. Pour hot cream over chocolate and whisk until chocolate melts and forms a smooth glaze; let stand until cool enough to mound slightly with a spoon.

Meanwhile, with a long serrated knife, gently cut cake in half horizontally to make two even layers. Place one layer on a serving plate and spread a 1/2-inch layer of whipped cream over it. Gently place remaining layer on top. Cover top and sides of cake with remaining whipped cream, making it as smooth as possible. Freeze cake for 30 minutes.

Remove cake from freezer and pour chocolate glaze over top. Smooth with a spatula, allowing excess glaze to drip down sides of cake. Refrigerate cake at least 1 hour before eating. Makes 20 servings.


  1. I like the chocolate decorations on the side. I have a hard time wrapping a cake with chocolate scroll work in one continuous piece- the whole length doesn't fit in the frig to firm up. Taking it in sections like this is a great alternative! Very pretty.

  2. Love the tuxedo strawberries :)

  3. Looks gorgeous! I have trouble with decorating cakes full stop, so very impressed by your efforts.

    It was nice to meet you and Mikey today. :)

  4. oh this looks awesome and delicious :)