Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Cakes of Epic Import

Then a songge of Cake was sung,
So that the mann’s warlike example would inspyre the warriors
Beseachyng on God for aid, they joined battle
Emilysch, who sangge very well,
Rode on a swift horse before the Duke
Syngging of Charlemagne and Roland and Oliver
and the knyghts who died at Ganache

Yes, dear compatriots, this is the epic story of two cakes whose glory and power in battle defied all challengers and brought honor and laud to their gallant Lords and their noble King for whom they pledged all. Many brave souls perished in the fray, but their song shall live on.

First we have the chocolate cake recipe, borrowed from a random Iranian on the internet, which was rather delicious but still too dry, alas, though I have endeavored tirelessly to create a truly moist cake. I think the secret may be in the serving - a cake coated in good frosting or ganache which is then left in the fridge for at least a day moistens up inside, but we were weary and the enemy approached and we did not have the 24 hours respite we needed. Had I the battle to fight again, I would have bided my time and kept my men wrapped up in their ganache before sending them out to their doom.

I shall not bore you with the gory details of the cake batter. Suffice it to say I made two of these cakes, with the following recipe. The only adjustment I made was using Pero instead of Coffee (infidels!) and adding an extra 1/3 cup of flour for high elevation baking. And I only baked it for 30 minutes, which was plenty.

1 ½ C sugar
¾ C cocoa
¾ C coffee (room temp)
¾ C sour cream
6 tbs oil
2 eggs
1 tbs vanilla
1 ½ tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp cream of tartar
1 1/3 C flour

Preheat oven to 350. For the cake, mix the first 7 ingredients well then add the last three (baking soda, cream of tartar and flour) and mix with as few strokes as possible but until well blended. Pour in buttered cake pan and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes.

Here lies the virginal cake.

And here be the glorious yet fierce beginnings of white chocolate ganache. Ganache is the beginning of noble and good in the world. And it is simple. And good for you. And high in, um, fiber. All you need for a beautiful ganache (and ganaches should always be dark, dark chocolate unless it's, like, for a Japanese Christmas cake and so you want it to be white) is:

1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp unsalted butter
12 ounces chocolate chips or (even better) chopped baking chocolate

Simmer the cream and butter on low to medium heat until it bubbles, then whisk in the chocolate and stir until smooth. Refrigerate for an hour or two before you pour it on the cake, or add flavorings (orange zest!) and refrigerate overnight and you've got truffle centers.

This ganache I wanted really white, and I wanted it to disguise the chocolate cake inside, so I added a couple cups of powdered sugar and beat it with my one-legged lame little electric beater. Which was glorious.

In the middle of the cake, an entire pound of strawberries (minus the 6 most beautiful) sacrificed their lives.

The first coat of ganache-plus-powdered sugar. It helps to refrigerate between coats to get smooth, even coverage.

And then he rode out to battle, victorious, waving his strawberry ensign aloft. (The strawberries were migratory, which thing vexed me exceedingly) To crown his victory at the end of the day I dusted him with powdered sugar and Christened him Holy Roman Japanese Christmas Cake of the Year of Our Lord 2009.

But the battle had just begun for our second brave cake: The Epic Candy Dot Cake of Gloucester.

He was alike his brother in many respects, but as for the frosting, he was of the more traditional buttercream sect.

1 cup softened unsalted butter
2 tbsp cream
5 cups powdered sugar
2 tbsp rosewater (oh no, you daren't! Oh yes, my young squire. I dare.)

Here be the lady Emilysch frosting the brave young knave as he prepares to ride out to face the foe.

2 painstaking hours later, after a feat of dexterity not unlike the embroidery of the Bayeux tapestry, we unveiled his Royal Nobleness, sir Epic Dot Cake of Gloucester, in his finery.

Much carnage and death ensued. I will not illustrate the more graphic and bloody details. I shall only sing the lilting refrain.

Dead lay the heathens, or turned to flyght,
And Dot was victor in the fyght.
Down Glucosa's wall he brakke
Defens he knew was none to make.
And as the city law subduéd,
The hoarie king all proudly stood,
There rested his victorious flours.
The queene hath yielded up the towers
Ten great towers and fifty small.
Well strivves he whom God aids withal.

1 comment:

  1. I'm am crying...but my tears are from laughter. Hail, brave knights, and well met. Such a death is the fabric from which the most glorious of chivalric tales are woven.