February, a month that really raced passed us! It was a bit of a busy month for us and as I knew there were plenty of things that needed my attention this month I decided to tackle this month's Daring Bakers' challenge quite early in the month. Here we are - the last day of February already and it's time to reveal the decadent creation this month.
We only needed three ingredients to make the challenge this month and I was also relieved that it seemed fairly straightforward to make.
The challenge, hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef, was a Chocolate Valentino cake, which is basically a rich flourless chocolate cake. A recipe created by Malaysia's eccentric chef - Chef Wan. Our extra bonus challenge was to make any ice cream of choice that would pair well with the cake.
The flourless cake recipe has only three ingredients and after I read the instructions, I went away to ponder on how I could play around with these ingredients.
"The finished cake will taste exactly like the chocolate you use" was the sentence from the instructions that stuck to my head. Currently I am really enjoying discovering all the fantastic flavors the Lindt Excellence series offer and one of my favorite is the A Touch of Sea Salt bar.
The bar contains a 47% dark chocolate blend and 3% sea salt crystals. Now it does not sound like much of sea salt but once you have tasted the piece of this chocolate you will experience the sea salt crystals melting on your tongue. Simply delightful. However, I only used approx. 200g of this chocolate, for the rest I used a 70% dark chocolate bar (also from Lindt) to give the cake more moisture and richness.
The cake has a bit of a fudge-brownie like texture, dense, rich and gorgeously moist in taste, making it a perfect dessert to enjoy in smaller bites. I decided to bake the cake in my square spring form to cut it in smaller bite sized squares. The decoration was a simple creamy chocolate butter frosting I have made on several occasions for cupcakes and muffins. You will find the recipe here.
- The Monthly Mingle this month is partying on the beaches of the Caribbean. Come join me for a fun filled time with great food.
- All you need to do is cook up a Caribbean dish and bring it along to the mingle. Your dish could win a spectacular prize too.
- Submit your entries using the easy MM Submission Form
- All details can be found here.
Deadline: March 9th, 2009!
Recipe: Flourless Chocolate Cake
Recipe adapted from Sweet Treats by Chef Wan
Printable version of recipe here.
16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated
- Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
- While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
- Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
- Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
- With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
- Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
- Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.
- Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C.
- Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
- Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.
Note about the chocolate I used:I used approx 200g Lindt Excellence A Touch of Sea Salt and 255g 70% Cocoa bittersweet chocolate.
With the cake taken care of my attention turned to the ice cream. I have been playing around with several flavor combinations recently and one product I love experimenting with is saffron.
I thank my mother for always supplying me with some of the best saffron I have ever cooked with. She usually buys delicate Kashmiri or Persian saffron strands from her favorite spice shop in Dubai and along with Iranian yellow raisins, pistachios and other nuts I get my little luxury packets in regular intervals. I had just received one of these packets with two delicate silver boxes filled with the beautiful spice and straight away I began imagining all kinds of desserts.
I have always loved our Indian ice cream style dessert Kulfi, in particular Kesar Kulfi, Saffron kulfi. Using this as my inspiration I decided to combine the Kashmiri saffron with the flavor of South Indian coconut.
Besides the vivid yellow saffron gives this ice cream it adds an enticing yet subtle flavor to the custard, pairing beautifully to the exotic taste of coconut milk.
Generally I find it extremely tedious to photograph ice cream, however this time was almost impossible. I found it hard to resist licking the spoon and had to keep taste-testing again and again - just to make sure it still tasted as good as it did the last time I checked.
Recipe: Saffron Coconut Ice Cream
Printable version of recipe here.
250 ml unsweetened coconut milk
160 ml heavy cream
60g Muscovado sugar
1/2 teaspoon saffron strands
- Place all the ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil.
- Reducing the heat simmer the mixture for approx. 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, cover and allow the mixture to come to room temperature. Then place for at least 4 hours, preferably overnight, in the refrigerator .
- Once thoroughly chilled, freeze the mixture in your ice cream maker according the manufacturer's instructions.
- Scrape out any saffron threads that might be sticking to the bowl. Transfer to a freezable container and freeze till ready to use.
- If you are making this ice cream on it's own (without the flourless chocolate cake) you can add pistachios or almonds to the custard. For an extra big flavor gently toast the nuts. Place the custard into the ice cream maker and allow it to churn for a while. As it thickens throw in the nuts nuts.
- Grate some fresh coconut over the top - it adds a beautiful texture to the ice cream.
Yet another challenge I really enjoyed. The simplicity and the endless possibilities made this a special challenge. Soeren and Tom both enjoyed the chocolate cake with the hint of sea salt extremely. It was dense and rich and the smaller serving bites made it perfect for a tiny decadent treat. I personally loved the ice cream. It was an exclusively luxurious indulgence and while it paired really well with the chocolate cake I was quite happy with an extra helping of the ice cream. I loved the color contrasts of both the creations.
Would I make this again?
Oh yes. The cake is easy to whip up and gave no hassles so I see this as a great dessert option for on-the-spur-of-the-moment chocolate cravings. I love all the possibilities one has with it. Using a different chocolate flavored bar or another serving variation you could sell this as a different dessert every time you serve it. The ice cream will definitely be made again in my kitchen. I was very pleased with the texture, flavor and color. The next time I will do a little more playing around and add a few nuts etc.
What did I learn from this challenge?
That 3 ingredients give you a rich and decadent dessert with enticing endless possibilities!
With this I wrap up my own 3 years blog anniversary celebration week. Hope you enjoyed the Wholegrain power breakfast, which kicked off the party week and the party cake Coconut White Chocolate Mousse with Strawberries on Coconut Joconde to really get us going. There will be quite a few changes ahead this year and these changes will certainly effect the way I cook and blog. It will be fun and exciting so I hope you will stick around and carry on supporting and motivating me as you have for the past three years!
Thank you to the handsome Dharm and adorable Wendy for February's moist, chocolaty, rich, and fudgy challenge. To see more flourless chocolate cakes with 1001 ice cream flavors please visit my fellow Daring Bakers.
You might like these ice cream ideas from WFLH:
|Crème Fraîche Strawberry Basil Ice-Cream||Cherry Semifredo Cake||Apricot and Nutty Pistachio Ice Cream|
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