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Two Pans of Melted Couverture Anita Oberhauser
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La Belle Cuisine - More Favorite Recipes

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Piece of Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Curls, Red Roses
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Melted Dark and White Chocolate in Pan
Melted Dark and White Chocolate...
Anita Oberhauser
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La Belle Cuisine

 


Frost Horizons

Recipes by Judith Sutton;
Text by Mary Goodbody
Chocolatier February/March 1996

Do your own cake beauty makeover
with these five frosting suggestions.

“The frosting on a cake is, as the old saying implies, the finishing touch, without which most cakes seem starkly ordinary. There are exceptions, of
course, such as rich, buttery pound cakes and decidedly moist chocolate
cakes where a sprinkle of confectioner's sugar is sufficient for sweet satis-
faction. But in most instances, it's the frosting that makes a cake special.
Frosting appeals to the child in all of us (who doesn't secretly hope he or she
will get the piece with the extra rosette?), but it also makes a cake look pretty.
Frosting can be smooth or swirly, applied generously or poured over a cake as
a thin, shiny glaze. It can be spooned into pastry bags and piped onto the cake
as intricate flowers, elegant rope-like swags, delicate borders or festive rosettes.
When selecting a method to frost a cake, use your imagination as well as your
common sense, remembering that for chic elegance, often ‘less is more’.
While you don't want flavors to ‘clash’, you can mix and match your favorites
to create a very personal masterpiece. For example, if you like the flavor combination of orange and chocolate, by all means frost an orange-flavored
cake with our Old-Fashioned Milk Chocolate Frosting. Or bake a mocha
cake and frost it with the Espresso Fudge Frosting - which would also taste
great on a white cake. In other words, let your own preferences guide you. If
you decide to follow our instructions to the letter, you will not be disappointed!
We have designed this cake and its choice of frostings for optimal flavor and presentation.
Once the cake is frosted, be creative in your use of decorations. For example,
to accentuate the flavor of raspberries, we garnished our Raspberry Buttercream
with fresh raspberries. (Note that this buttercream, which is made only with egg whites, is lighter than its yolk-based equivalent.) Nuts are wonderful on frosted cakes, too, either chopped, halved or whole, arranged as elaborately or as simply
as you like. Chocolate shavings and curls also make handsome decorations, but
if they seem like a lot of bother and fuss to you, forget about them.
No matter how glorious the frosted dessert looks, it's important to begin with a
good recipe for cake. Our Sour Cream Chocolate Cake Layers are deliciously
moist and tender and versatile enough to stack into an all-American layer cake
or to use as an elegant single layer sheathed with Chocolate Glaze. Our recipes
are devised to fill and frost a 9-inch cake.  When appropriate, there is enough
‘extra’ frosting for garnishing and piping.”

Tips for Frosting and Glazing Cakes

1. Always begin with a cool cake.
2. If the cake layers are not flat, use a serrated knife to even them so that
they will sit evenly, one on top of the other. You may want the top layer
to have a slight dome, or not.  Do not hesitate to trim the cake so that it
is easier to frost.
3. Set the cake layer on a cardboard round or flat plate, securing it with a dab
of frosting.
4. If you have a turntable, use it when frosting the cake.  If not, you may find
it useful to elevate the cake with one hand while frosting it. This is easiest
if the cake is on a cardboard round.
5. Most frostings should be at room temperature for easy application. Exceptions are whipped cream frostings, which should be chilled, and
glazes, which should be warm or tepid.
6. Spread the filling over the bottom layer. If using a whipped cream frosting, refrigerate the cake layer for about 15 minutes for the filling to firm up. Otherwise, place the second layer over the filling.
7. To make frosting the cake easier, some bakers prefer to cover it first with
a crumb coat. This is a thin layer of frosting applied to the entire cake to
seal in stray crumbs and to act as a smooth base on which to apply the
final frosting. (However, if you use a crumb coat, you will have less frost-
ing for piping.) To apply a crumb coat, frost the cake with a thin layer of
frosting, covering the sides and top. Do not worry if the frosting is not
perfect at this point. Refrigerate for about 15 minutes to give the frost-
ing time to harden slightly. Spread room-temperature frosting over the
chilled crumb coat. It will glide on easily with no crumbs mixed into it.
For smoothness, hold the metal spatula pointing down with the flat side
of the blade at a 30-degree angle to the cake. Cover only a little of the
cake at a time. With each application, overlap the preceding section
a little.
8. Some people prefer to frost the sides of the cake first, others like to
begin with the top.  Either way, make sure the edges of the cake lookk
finished by smoothing them with a flat metal spatula.
9. For a satiny finish, dip the metal spatula in hot tap water, wipe it dry and
then use the heated blade to smooth the frosting.  Repeat as often as
necessary. Don't forget to wipe it dry after each dipping.
10. To glaze a cake layer, brush excess crumbs from the top of the cake with your fingers or a pastry brush, and set the cake on a wire rack positioned
on a baking sheet or jelly roll pan.  Pour a generous amount of warm (tepid)
glaze over the cake, letting it run over the top and down the sides of the
cake.  Use a metal spatula to smooth it over the cake, if necessary.

 

Chocolate-Glazed Chocolate Cake

Note:  This recipe makes enough to glaze one 9-inch cake round.
The remaining Sour Cream Chocolate Cake Layer can be frozen,
well wrapped, for up to 1 month.

Chocolate Glaze:
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup

Assembly:
One Sour Cream Chocolate Cake Layer
(recipe follows)
1/2 cup sliced unblanched almonds for garnish

Make the Chocolate Glaze:
1. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. In a small saucepan, combine
the cream and corn syrup and bring to a boil over medium heat. Pour the
hot cream mixture over the chopped chocolate. Let stand for 30 seconds
to melt the chocolate, then gently whisk until smooth. Let cool until just
beginning to set, but still pourable, about 20 to 25 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, cover an 8 1/2-inch cardboard round with aluminum foil.
Place the cake layer on the cardboard round and place on a wire rack
set on a baking sheet.

Glaze the cake:
3. Pour the chocolate glaze over the cake, coating it completely. If
necessary, use a metal icing spatula to smooth the glaze over the sides
of the cake, but do not use the spatula on the top of the cake, or the
glaze will not be as shiny and attractive.
4. Sprinkle the sliced almonds decoratively over the top of the cake. Slide
2 metal cake spatulas under the cardboard round and transfer the cake
to a serving plate. Let stand for at least 30 minutes before serving.
(The cake can be glazed up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated. Remove
from the refrigerator 1 hour before serving.) Yield:  6 to 8 servings.

 

Espresso Fudge Cake

Frosting:
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 3/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder

Assembly:
Sour Cream Chocolate Cake Layers
(recipe follows)
Chocolate-covered coffee beans for garnish

Make the frosting:
1. Place the chocolate in a medium bowl. In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, butter and espresso powder and bring to a boil over medium
heat, stirring to dissolve the espresso powder. Pour the hot cream mix-
ture over the chopped chocolate.  Let stand for 30 seconds to melt the
chocolate, then whisk gently until smooth. Let cool, then cover and refrigerate, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until the
frosting reaches a spreadable consistency.

Assemble the cake:
2. Place 1 of the cake layers upside-down on a serving plate. Reserve
3/4 cup of the frosting for piping. Using an offset metal cake spatula,
spread a thin layer of the remaining frosting over the top of the cake
layer. Place the second cake layer right-side-up on top of the frosted
layer. Using the offset spatula, frost the top and sides of the cake with
the remaining frosting.
3. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip (such as Ateco #4) with
the reserved frosting. Pipe a border of rosettes around the top edge
of the cake. Place a chocolate-covered coffee bean on each rosette.
(The cake can be assembled up to 2 days ahead and stored, covered,
at room temperature.) Yield:  8 to 10 servings.

 

Old-Fashioned Milk Chocolate Layer Cake

Frosting:
4 ounces milk chocolate, such as
Lindt or Ghirardelli
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted
butter, at room temperature
3 cups confectioner's sugar
4 to 6 tablespoons heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Assembly:
Sour Cream Chocolate Cake Layers
(recipe follows)
Hazelnuts for garnish

Make the frosting:
1. Melt the chocolate.
2. In a large bowl, using a hand-held mixer set at medium speed, beat the
butter for 30 seconds. Gradually beat in 1 cup of the sugar. Beat in
1/4 cup cream and the vanilla. Beat in the chocolate. Gradually beat
in the remaining 2 cups sugar and beat until well blended. Continue
to beat for about 2 minutes, or until the frosting reaches a spreadable
consistency, adding up to 2 tablespoons more cream if necessary.
Reserve 1 cup of the frosting for piping.

Assemble the cake:
3. Place one of the cake layers upside-down on a serving plate. Using an
offset metal cake spatula, spread a thin layer of frosting over the top
of the cake layer. Place the second cake layer right-side-up on top of
the frosted layer. Using the offset spatula, frost the top and sides of
the cake with the remaining frosting. Using the back of a large metal
 spoon, make swirls and peaks of frosting all over the top of the cake.
 Fill a pastry bag fitted with a medium star tip (such as Ateco #4) with
the reserved frosting. Pipe rosettes decoratively on the top and base
of the cake, as desired. (The cake can be assembled up to 2 days
ahead and stored, covered, at room temperature.)
Yield: 8 to 10 servings.

 

White Chocolate-Whipped Cream Cake

Frosting:
8 ounces white chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups heavy cream, divided

Assembly:
Sour Cream Chocolate Cake Layers
(recipe follows)
Grated bittersweet chocolate, or white
or dark chocolate curls for garnish

Make the frosting:
1. Melt the chocolate with the butter and 1/2 cup of the cream (see Procedures).  Let cool to room temperature, stirring once or twice.
2. In a chilled large bowl, using a hand-held mixer set at medium speed,
beat the remaining 1 1/2 cups cream just until soft mounds barely start
to form. On low speed, beat in the cooled white chocolate mixture
and continue to beat just until stiff peaks barely start to form. Do not
overbeat, or the frosting will look curdled. Cover and refrigerate for
15 minutes.

Assemble the cake:
3. Place one of the cake layers upside-down on a serving plate. Using
an offset metal cake spatula, spread about 3/4 cup of the frosting over
the top of the cake layer. Refrigerate the frosted cake layer and the
remaining frosting for 15 minutes. (Do not refrigerate for longer, or
the frosting will begin to set.)
4. Place the second cake layer right-side-up on top of the frosted layer.
Using the offset spatula, frost the top and sides of the cake with the
remaining frosting. Garnish with the grated chocolate or chocolate
curls. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes, or until ready to serve.
(The cake can be assembled up to 4 hours ahead.)
 Yield:  8 to 10 servings.

 

Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Buttercream

Buttercream:
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/3 cup water
4 large egg whites, at room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter,
at room temperature
2 tablespoons Chambord

Assembly:
Sour Cream Chocolate Cake Layers
(recipe follows)
1/2 pint fresh raspberries, plus
a few for garnish

Make the buttercream:
1. In a small heavy saucepan, combine 1 cup of the sugar and the water
and heat over medium-low heat, stirring, for 3 to 4 minutes, or until
the sugar dissolves. Dip a clean pastry brush in warm water and wash
down the side of the pan to remove any sugar crystals. Raise the heat
to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil. Cook, without stirring,
until the syrup registers 240 degrees F. on a candy thermometer, about
5 to 8 minutes. When the syrup reaches 230 degrees F., start preparing
the egg whites.
2. In the grease-free 4 1/2-quart bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer,
using the wire whip attachment, bet the egg whites at low speed until
frothy. Add the cream of tartar and increase the speed to medium
high, beating until soft peaks begin to form. Gradually beat in the
remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar and beat until stiff peaks start
to form.
3. At this point the sugar syrup should register 240 degrees F. on the
candy thermometer. While beating at medium-low speed, gradually
pour the sugar syrup in a slow, steady stream near the side of the
bowl onto the beaten egg whites. Increase the speed to medium high
and beat for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the mixture is completely cool
and forms stiff, glossy peaks when the wire whip is lifted.
4. One tablespoon at a time, beat in the softened butter. (If the mixture
looks curdled at this point, increase the speed to medium-high and
continue to beat in the butter.) Beat in the Chambord. (The butter-
cream can be covered and stored at room temperature for up to 4
hours before assembling the cake.)

Assemble the cake:
5. Place one of the cake layers upside-down on a serving plate. Reserve
1 cup of the buttercream for piping. Using an offset metal cake
spatula, spread about 1/2 cup of the remaining buttercream over
the top of the cake layer. Scatter the 1/2 pint of raspberries evenly
over the buttercream. Place the second cake layer right-side-up on
top of the frosted layer. Using the offset spatula, frost the top and
sides of the cake with the remaining buttercream.
6. Fill a pastry bag fitted with a large star tip (such as Ateco #6) with
the reserved buttercream. Pipe large rosettes around the edge of
the cake. Garnish with raspberries.  (The cake can be assembled
up to 2 days ahead and refrigerated. Remove from the refrigerator
1 hour before serving.)

Variation:  For Vanilla Buttercream, substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla
extract for the Chambord. Garnish with white chocolate curls
instead of raspberries, if you like.

 

Sour Cream Chocolate Cake Layers

Yield Two 9-inch round cake layers
Preparation: 25 minutes plus baking and cooling times.

1 1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder,
such as Hershey's European Style, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted
butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of two 9-inch round cake pans.
Line the bottom of each pan with a circle of parchment or waxed
paper and butter the paper. Dust the bottom and sides of the pans
with flour, tapping out the excess.
2. In a medium bowl, using a wire whisk, stir together the flour, cocoa,
baking powder, baking soda and salt until thoroughly blended.
3. In a large bowl, using a hand-held mixer set at medium speed, beat
the butter for 30 seconds. Gradually beat in the sugar and continue
to beat for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mixture is light in texture and
color. Beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addi-
tion. Beat in the vanilla. On low speed, beat in one-third of the flour
mixture. Beat in half the sour cream. Scrape down the side of the
bowl. Beat in the remaining flour mixture in 2 additions, alternating
with the remaining sour cream in 1 addition, until just combined.
4. Scrape the batter into pans and smooth the tops spatula. Bake for 25
to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick or a cake tester into the center of
the cake comes out clean. Cool the cake layers in the pans on
wire
racks for 10 minutes.
5. Run the tip of a knife around the edges of each pan. Invert each cake
layer onto another wire rack. Peel off the paper and invert the layers
onto a rack. Let cool. (The cake layers can be made 2 to 3 days ahead
and stored at room temperature, well wrapped in plastic wrap.)


Featured Archive Recipes:
Caramel Frosting Collection
Classic Buttercream with
Variations

Classic Frosting Collection
Great American Cakes
Ultimate Chocolate Cake Collection
 


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