Monday, April 07, 2014

Maida Heatter's Black and White Layer Cake

This is a pretty easy cake to make, provided you don't accidentally shut the oven off between layers, and then wonder why the second cake isn't baking. Yeah, I did that. It didn't matter in the end, I went ahead and turned the oven back on and it baked just fine. Sponge cakes are nearly foolproof (and I'm a big fool).
 Maida loved her tinfoil. Every recipe, in all her books has you covering baking pans with the stuff, and then buttering it up. I don't do that. I used parchment that I lightly buttered, and being a cheapskate, I re-used it for the second layer. It worked perfectly. Feel free to butter if you like. For the sake of keeping it simple for modern bakers, I'll try to cut through the really over-complicated instructions to tell you what I ended up doing. I do encourage you to get the book before baking this (most libraries in the US should have it) because there may be something I did that would have been better the way it was published. I'm assuming you have the book and are reading this for a hack of sorts.

You Will Need:

White Sponge:

5 large eggs, separated at room temperature
1/3 cup granulated sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour
Pinch salt
pinch cream of tartar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 10 1/2x15 1/2x1 inch jelly roll pan with parchment. Lightly grease the parchment.

In a small mixing bowl, combine the yolks with 3 tablespoons of the sugar, and the vanilla extract. Beat until very pale and thick. I did this by hand with a whisk, but you could use a mixer if you like. Add the flour, and beat just until smooth. Transfer it to a larger bowl. In another bowl, beat the whites, salt, and cream of tartar until it holds peaks, then slowly beat in remaining sugar. Fold 1/3 of the whites into the yolk mixture folding just until combined. Add the rest, fold thoroughly and pour into prepared pan, Smooth top with a spatula. Bake about 20 minutes, or until top is golden.

Take another baking sheet, and invert it. Cover it with wax paper. Invert the baked cake onto the wax paper lining. Remove the parchment, then let cool on up-turned pan. Meanwhile make the black layer.

Chocolate Sponge:

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 teaspoon instant coffee
1/4 cup boiling water
4 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup plain flour
Pinch Salt/cream of tartar

Break up chocolate and place in a double boiler (I just used a heavy pan directly on the heat, but if you're inexperienced with handling chocolate, use the double boiler). Dissolve the coffee in the water and add to the chocolate. Melt on moderate heat, stirring until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a small bowl, beat the eggs yolks with 3 tablespoons of sugar and the vanilla until light and thick. Add the tepid chocolate mixture, beating only until mixed. Mix in the flour. Transfer to a larger bowl.

Beat the egg whites, salt, and cream of tartar until peaks form. Slowly add the rest of the sugar beating until stiff peaks form.

Add 1/3 of the whites to the chocolate mixture, folding carefully but only until blended. Add the remaining whites and fold until combined.

Pour into pan, spread with a spatula and bake 20 minutes. Invert onto a wax paper lined pan as with white sponge.

Make the Buttercream:

6 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons heavy cream
8 ounces plus 1 tablespoon butter at room temperature
7 egg yolks
1 cup icing sugar
Pinch salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Break up chocolate and place in a double boiler with the cream and 1 tablespoon of the butter. Cook over low heat until everything is melted and stirred smooth.

Meanwhile, beat the egg yolks at high speed for a few minutes until pale and thick. On low speed, add the warm chocolate mixture, scraping the bowl with a spatula as you go. Transfer it back to the double boiler, and cook over low heat for 5 minutes (you don't want to cook the eggs). Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl, and place it in an icewater bath to firm.

While it cools, beat the butter, icing sugar, salt and extract together until smooth. Add the chocolate mixture, and beat until smooth and silky.

To assemble:

I placed the cakes atop each other, used a ruler to measure, and cut it into thirds. Maida has a more complicated method. At this point, line a flat board or cake plate with wax paper strips to catch any drips, and begin frosting the layers. Don't use too much or you'll run out of frosting. When it is all assembled, Maida wants you to weight it all beneath a board to chill. I did not do this. I chilled the layers for 20 minutes, then frosted the sides and top.

The cake can be frozen.


Sue said...

There is no way in hell a cake as divine as that would make it to our freezer!! Just saying, ha ha!!

pastcaring said...

Gawd that looks good. Sponge cakes are sadly not foolproof, where this fool is concerned anyway... xxx

Northern mum down South said...

That's one hell of a cake. . . If they have a chocolate theme at my next cake party I know where to come for a recipe.