Lady Poker Night is a semi-regular gathering that calls for a chocolate based dessert (to follow S’s infamous Chilli) and I had my lovely new copy of Dorie Greenspan’s Baking From My Home to Yours to turn to. I was tempted by the Cinnamon Squares and the Fresh Ginger and Chocolate Gingerbread, but reasoned these goodies suitable for easy work-place distribution and I wanted a cake. I wanted a round cake to be sliced into wedges not squares, I wanted to use some of the patisserie chocolate I had in my cupboard and so, the Almost-Fudge Gateau it was.
I have had a little look around the web to try and find some pictures of the finished product as I like to know what I’m aiming for and came across lots of comments about 70% chocolate being too bitter (there’s a lot of chocolate in the cake and the glaze). I only had 70% but needn’t have worried, I and the other poker players didn’t find it too bitter at all. It does need something to cut through the richness though. I had creme fraiche and others had some double cream, good vanilla ice cream would’ve been wonderful too. Doris lists the baking time as 35 - 45 minutes, mine was done at 35, after cooling I wrapped it and added the glaze the following day ready to take to the poker evening, and that was where the fun began.
I’ve only ever attempted a ganache once before and it was a disaster. I’m not a fan of frostings and glazes, finding them far too sweet and not enjoying the additional complications they bring to storing and traveling so tend to opt for recipes that don’t need them. Dorie lists this glaze as ‘optional’ but the cake looked like it needed it and I wanted to give it a go. My first two attempts failed, the ganache split and I couldn’t recover it. I then had to make a mad dash to the shops to buy more cream, had a little sit down with google and tried to work out what to do. My third attempt involved pouring the hot cream over broken, but unmelted chocolate but this too split, finally - and with many thanks to Joy of Baking who I should’ve turned to after the first failed attempt - I added a tablespoon of butter to the cream (and so did away with the syrup in the original recipe) poured the just boiling mixture over the broken chocolate and then left for 5 minutes before whisking gently - success! I’ve listed Dorie’s original recipe as well as the one I used below. Unfortunately the excitement of the moment and ensuing rush to get ready for the evening meat I completely forgot to take a picture of the finished cake, I’m gutted as it looked pretty damn fine but I’m sure I will be making it again soon.
Dorie Greenspan ‘Baking; from my home to yours’
(conversions to metric are mine)
5 large eggs
9 oz (258g) bittersweet chocolate coarsely chopped
1 cup (220g) sugar (I used golden caster)
5 tbsp unsalted butter cut into chunks (2.5oz/72g)
2 table spoons of coffee or water (I used coffee, a hint of coffee always so good with chocolate)
1/3 cup (55g) all purpose flour
Pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 350F (180C), butter a 9-inch spring-form pan, line the bottom of the pan, butter the lining and dust the buttered pan with flour, tapping out the excess (I didn’t line the pan, just buttered and floured and it came out fine). Place the pan on a baking sheet lined with parchment or silicone mat.
Separate the eggs with whites into a large mixing bowl and yolks in small bowl,
Melt the chocolate, sugar, butter and coffee in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water until melted - sugar may still be grainy. Remove form heat and let sit for 3 minutes.
Using a wooden spatula, stir in the yolks one by one, then fold in the flour.
Beat eggs with pinch of salt until they hold firm but glossy peaks. Using the spatula, stir in a quarter of the whites into batter, then gently fold in the rest.
Scrape batter into pan and jiggle pan to spread evenly.
Bake for 25 - 45 minutes until evenly risen (may rise around edges first) and the top has firmed (may be cracked)
Allow to rest in pan for 5 - 10 minutes, then run a blunt knife gently around the edges and remove the sides of the pan. Invert cake onto rack and remove base and paper. Invert onto another rack and allow to cool to room temperature right side up. As it cools it may sink
For the Glaze
Turn the cooled cake over on the rack so your glazing the bottom and place the rack over a baking sheet lined with paper to catch any drips
4oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup heavy (double) cream
2 teaspoons light corn syrup (golden syrup is an acceptable substitute)
Melt chocolate in heatproof bowl over pan of simmering water or in microwave - chocolate should be just melted and only warm, not hot. Meanwhile, bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan and stir very gently with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth and shiny. Stir in the corn syrup
My version - Dorie’s quantities, Joy of Bakings method:
1/2 cup cream
1 tbsp butter
Ganache: Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl. Set aside. Heat the cream and butter in a medium sized saucepan over medium heat. Bring just to a boil. Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chocolate and allow to stand for 5 minutes. Stir with a whisk until smooth.
Pour the glaze (which ever version you use) over the cake and smooth with metal icing spatula, don’t worry if it drips unevenly down the sides of the cake. allow to set at room temperature or refrigerate if impatient.