Friday, December 17, 2010

       The challenge I had to tackle this week was making a recipe that includes strictly 7 ingredients with almond and citrus among them. In this cake I mostly used almond as the main element and add it in the form of candied nut, praline, crumble and paste with a light orange aroma. Unfortunately the failure of my makeshift pastry bag and an oven breakdown didn't allow me to take a propper photograph of what the almond topping should be, however the instructions I give are according to what I intended to make. The white chocolate buttercream filling was a successful addition as flavor, and despite the mishaps the general result was very satisfying.

            Crumble and candied almonds
            70gr                                            flour
            130gr                                          granulated sugar
            55gr                                            melted butter
            55gr                                            ground almonds
            170gr                                          unpeeled almonds
            35gr                                            Grand Marnier

           Browned butter cake
           80gr                                            almond praline
           180gr                                          butter
           200gr                                          flour
           140gr                                          granulated sugar
           4                                                eggs
           4Tbs plus 25gr                            Grand Marnier

           Almond paste topping
           200gr                                          ground almonds
           50gr                                            granulated sugar
           40gr                                            powdered sugar
           1                                                egg white
           6Tbs                                           Grand Marnier

          White chocolate buttercream
          120gr                                           butter, room temperature
          80gr                                             white chocolate, melted and let cooled
          60gr                                             granulated sugar
          3                                                 egg whites
          25gr                                             Grand Marnier

For the crumble, mix flour with butter, ground almond and 55gr sugar and let the dough harden in the fridge. When ready, grate it on a paper lined pan and bake it along with the whole almonds in a preheated oven to 180C. After 15min take out the roasted nuts and let the crumble in for another 5min. Then bring in a wide saucepan the rest of the sugar with Grand Marnier to a boil for a few minutes and add the baked almonds. Stir until the sugar that has been crystallized melts into brown caramel and quickly pour the mixture on a silicon mat or parchment paper. After the almonds have cooled, mash 80gr to praline that is going to be used for the cake, coarsely chop the rest and mix the pieces with the crumbe.
   Starting the cake, melt butter on low heat and then turn it to medium, in order to make the butter boil and intensely bubble (better use a wide pan). At this point, beware not to burn it and remove it from the heat as soon as it gets a light brown color and smells nutty. After browning the butter, the milk solids should be quite burnt, sedimented and then removed by straining. Put the strained butter in the fridge until it gets solid, beat it with 30gr of the sugar using the paddle attachment, and  add the 80gr of praline. Wisk the 4 egg whites to meringue with the rest of the sugar and beat the yolks in the butter one at a time. Mix the 4Tbs of Grand Marnier in the butter-yolk mixture and lighten it with half of the meringue. Shift the flour in, fold in the rest of meringue and spread the batter on a 24x24cm cake pan. Bake at a preheated oven to 160C for 25min. 
    For the almond macaroon-like layer beat the almond with powdered sugar in a food processor until very fine and mix in the Grand Marnier. Whisk the egg white with granulated sugar to meringue, fold it into the almond paste and pipe the mixture (if the stiffness allows it) with a 24x12cmrectangle bar-pattern. Bake it at a preheated oven to 180 until golden. To make the buttercream, prepare an italian meringue with sugar, Grand Marnier and egg whites as described in previous posts (kirsch mousse cake) and whisk it while adding portions of softened butter. When all of the butter has been incorporated, keep beating the mixture with the whisk and pour in the melted chocolate. Cut the cake into two equal 12x24cm pieces, take two layers from each and moisten them with the additional 25gr of Grand Marnier. Spread the buttercream between them, on the top and the sides of the cake, place the almond macaroon on top and cover the sides with the crumble-almond mixture. At last garnish with powdered sugar and candied orange peel.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Candied peel chocolate cake
   Having tried this classic flavor combination many times, I find it to be never failing and the specific cake is no exception. With the sticky, the chewy and the creamy layer it makes an easy dessert rich in flavor, texture and aroma which is one of my favorite brownie-type variations. 

               Orange peel layer
               250gr                                      candied orange peel, not completely
                                                             drained from its syrup
               30gr                                        butter
               100gr                                      orange juice
               5gr                                          corn flour
               100gr                                      almond flour
               60gr                                        cake flour

              Chocolate cake
              200gr                                       chocolate 65% cocoa or more
              100gr                                       butter
              6                                             eggs
              100gr                                       sugar
              100gr                                       cake flour
              100gr                                       hazelnut flour
              as preferred                             vanilla

In a nonsticking pan warm the peel with its syrup and butter, until thick and bubbling. Dissolve the corn flour in juice, pour it in the previous mixture and keep boiling for a few minutes untill it gets thicker. Remove from the heat and let it slightly cool. Then combine it with the almond, shift in the flour and whisk it into a sticky paste. For the chocolate layer melt butter with chocolate in a bain marie and let it sit at room temperature for a while. Separate the egg yolks from the whites (they better have room temperature) and make a meringue with the sugar. Stir the egg yolks, vanilla and hazelnut in the melted chocolated, shift in the flour and lighten the mixture with the meringue. Add the meringue gradually and fold it gently with a rubber spatula. Finally spread the orange paste on the bottom of a 24cm ring, cover with the chocolate layer and bake at preheated oven to 170C for 45min or more. To frost the cake after it has cooled follow the cocoa fudge recipe at ''Doughnuts'' post changing the sugar amount to 40gr.