Friday, October 16, 2009
Mexican Chocolate Cake
Earlier in the week, Danny was reading a very long recipe to me from The Best of Food and Wine, 1994. As he read, I started to think it sounded good-long, but good. A quick glance confirmed my suspicion that it was an Alice Medrich recipe (don't ask how I could tell, I just could). Hey, anything with chocolate and coffee sounds good to me, so I promised Danny we would bake it for Friday Cake Blogging. I still can't get over how well he reads (scary). Scarier, is that his reading of choice tends to be cookbooks (that's my boy!) and he's figured out how fractions work.
I made this with inexpensive ingredients (store brand cocoa, Baker's chocolate) and it was still exceptional. I can't begin to imagine what this would be like with better cocoa like Droste. Yeah, I consider Droste top of the line around here. I just cannot (will not) purchase twenty dollar a pound (or more) cocoa or chocolate. The better stuff is really wasted on my taste buds anyway,and at least for now, Danny does not care (though he does find the box of Droste cocoa more attractive than the Hy-Vee stuff). If he keeps reading cookbooks, I should probably brace myself for him pitching a fit because I didn't use the correct olive oil.
The recipe is long, but is easily done in segments. Start to finish took about four hours. I did not have a single problem with it-the instructions were clear (although strange) and the results perfect. I can usually tell by how the cake unmoulds from the pan, how it will go and it went perfectly. I was actually out of parchment paper, so I buttered and floured the pan without any difficulties. I could see baking this cake without the filling and glaze as a nice cocoa/coffee cake. I'll bet it would make killer cupcakes. I'm still not really sure what makes this a "Mexican" chocolate cake other than the cocoa and cinnamon, but eh, OK. I personally would use more cinnamon were I to bake this again.
You Will Need:
1 cup sifted all purpose flour
1/2 cup sifted cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 tablespoons hot water
1/2 cup buttermilk at room temperature
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs at room temperature
10 ounces milk chocolate, chopped fine (I used Baker's German Sweet chocolate)
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder dissolved in a few drops of warm water
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut up
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 inch x 2 inch cake pan and line the bottom with parchment. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. In a small bowl, dissolve the espresso powder in the water. Stir in the buttermilk.
In a large bowl, cream the butter until light. Gradually add the sugar and then the eggs, one at a time until incorporated. Add the flour alternately in three parts with the liquid starting and ending with flour mixture.
Scrape into prepared pan and bake on the lowest rack of the oven for 50-60 minutes or until cake tests done. Remove to a rack to cool five minutes in the pan before running a thin knife around the perimeter. Unmould carefully, then turn upright on rack and cool completely.
Make the filling:
Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat cream and corn syrup to a simmer. Add the espresso and cinnamon., When steaming, pour over chocolate and let stand 1 minute before whisking smooth. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Divide cake carefully into top and bottom. I used a very long knife and a steady hand.
When filling has cooled to room temperature, using an electric mixer on the high setting, beat until light in colour and thickened, but don't beat until dry. Pour a little more than half between the layers and then replace the top. Frost the remaining top and sides of the cake with the extra filling keeping the top as smooth as possible. Set into fridge ten minutes to chill.
Make the glaze:
Set a bowl inside a skillet of just simmering water (I know, strange but it worked). Combine chocolate, corn syrup and butter in bowl. Stir until just smooth. Remove from heat and whisk until completely smooth.
Place the cake atop an upturned large mixing bowl on a baking sheet to catch drips. Pour all the glaze on top of the cake and working quickly, smooth over the sides. Don't overwork the glaze. Transfer to a wire rack set over another baking sheet to cool completely.
I decorated mine with candy, but nits or chocolate covered espresso beans are what Medrich recommends. I had these cute little gingerbread men that looked so nice against the dark chocolate, so I used them.
The cake can be stored at room temperature for a day, or refrigerated for up to two days. Return to room temperature before serving (unless you live at my house where room temperature is around 58 degrees-it was actually warmer outside today than it was in the house).