Friday, December 27, 2019

The Menage A Chocolate Cake.....aka ...Chocolate Three Ways

   About three years ago I was hired as consultant for a new restaurant that was opening in Sonoma, called CocoaPlanet. It was a gluten free restaurant featuring modern French cuisine. The dishes were to be light, healthy,  many  (but not all) vegetarian or vegan, and above all they were to be gluten free.  It was a good fit, because even though I myself am not gluten free, I have a lot of friends who are, and so had developed my own flour blends for baking and cooking.  I eat mainly a vegetarian, and now since my husband is off the meat, a somewhat pescetarian diet. One thing I did do was make any number of chocolate based desserts since the place was called CocoaPlanet and was the restaurant arm of CocoaPlanet Chocolate.

   I made more chocolate desserts than I had ever made in my entire life up  to that point. Most of the desserts were French but every now and then I would run across something that just couldn't be ignored and when I showed the recipe to the owners they said....can you make that gluten free????? Absolutely. It was a total lock when they saw this recipe from who wrote that it was inspired by Marcel Desaulniers from The Food Network. It was a chocolate extravaganza!

   I never made this for the restaurant, but it was requested a lot by the owners and so this Christmas my husband asked if I'd make it for our holiday dinner and so I did. It's actually quite a simple recipe and can be made ahead which is always a plus. The most important thing about this is to always use  the BEST quality chocolate you can find, since chocolate is all she /he wrote when it comes to this dessert. I made my version gluten free, using my own mix, but this will work with regular flour as well. So without further's my gluten free version

Chocolate Three Ways


Here's What You Need:


The Cake:

3 oz unsweetened chocolate finely chopped
1/4 cup hot water
2 Tbs cocoa powder
3/4 cup of  caster sugar
6 Tbs softened unsalted butter
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour...(regular or gluten free)
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk

The Mousse:

3/4 tsp gelatin powder
1 Tbs water
6 oz semi sweet chocolate coarsely chopped
2 Tbs caster sugar
1 and 1/2 cups cold whipping cream

The Ganache:

3/4 cup whipping cream
1 Tbs unsalted butter
9 oz semi sweet chocolate coarsely chopped

Here's What To Do:


This cake is made in stages. First the cake is baked and cooled in the  springform pan.
Then the mousse is made and added to the top of the cooled cake still in the pan, and chilled to set. Then the ganache is poured on top of the chilled mousse (still in the pan) and set to chill in the fridge until the whole thing is un-molded and served!  Very straight forward and actually simple in principal. So Here Goes:

The Cake: 


Put your oven rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to  350 degrees.

Lightly grease and flour an 8 inch springform  pan. Tap out any excess flour.

Put the chocolate into a small heat-proof bowl, bring the water to a boil and pour it over the chocolate. Stir it until the chocolate is melted and smooth. This takes a couple of minutes.

Then stir in your cocoa powder and whisk it until it's smooth.
Finally, add in 1/4 cup of the sugar and stir it up until it's thick and glossy.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, beat the butter and the remaining sugar ( 1/2 cup) together until light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs and egg yolks, one at a time making sure they're well mixed into the batter.

Add in the vanilla.

Add in your chocolate mixture and blend until it's thoroughly combined.

 In a small bowl mix the flour, the baking soda, and the salt. Stir it together with a whisk.

Add half of the flour mixture to the batter, followed by the buttermilk. Blend together until it's all mixed, then add the rest of the flour and blend until it's combined.

Pour the batter into the prepped cake pan, and smooth it out.

Bake it for 25 or 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool the cake still in the pan, to room temperature on a wire rack.

The Mousse:


Sprinkle the gelatin over 1 Tbs of water in a small bowl and let it stand for 5 minutes.

Place the 6 oz of chopped chocolate and the sugar in a medium bowl.

Bring 1/2 cup of the whipping cream to a simmer over a medium-high heat then take the pan off the heat and whisk in the gelatin mixture. Stir it until the gelatin is completely dissolved.

Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and sugar and whisk until the chocolate has melted and everything is smooth. Cool to room temperature, (the mixture will thicken as it stands).

In a stand mixer with a whisk attachment beat 1 cup of whipping cream at medium speed until it starts to thicken (30 secs or so) then increase the speed to high and beat until soft peaks form (30 to 60 secs).

Use a whisk to mix 1/3 of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture, then use a rubber spatula to fold the rest of the whipped cream in, and fold it gently until no streaks are visible.

Spoon the chocolate mousse into the spring form pan on top of the cooled cake. Smooth the top with an offset spatula and put the whole thing in the fridge to chill until the mousse is set. This takes about 2 hours.

The Ganache:


Heat 3/4 cup of whipping cream and 1 Tbs of unsalted butter in a medium pan over medium high heat. Take it off the heat just before it starts to  boil.

Pour it over the 9 oz of chopped chocolate in a heat-proof bowl and stir until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

Let it cool to room temperature then pour it over the  chilled and set mousse layer in the springform pan.

Refrigerate until set.

 When you're ready to serve, un-mold the cake from the spring form pan.

Serve it with lightly sweetened whipped cream and some fresh strawberries.

This was a huge hit at the end of Christmas dinner.
Even though this recipe has multiple steps, the reason I consider it easy to make is that it's made in stages, it can be made ahead and it's damn delicious!
So there's your year end chocolate fix just in time for New Years Eve!!
Coming up next more cooking, and some year end party treats! Stay tuned.
Follow along on Twitter @kathygori

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