Thursday, December 4, 2008

Chocolate Truffle Cake

Right then, the chocolate truffle cake I made for my friend’s birthday... First of all I should apologise for the lack of pictorial reference. If you're at all like me, you'll skip the recipe altogether on these grounds, yet, I must ask you do not, for this is a fantastic, patisserie-like cake that is extremely easy to make, gluten-free, flour-free and egg-free. Unlike most other gluten-free, flour-free and egg-free foods, this one is not also taste-free.

What you lose in the above you gain in calories because this is made with 500ml of double cream and 400g of dark chocolate so feel free to suck air through your teeth at this point but, believe you me, even knowing its calorific content isn’t likely to stop you eating it. All the better I say.

You’ll need:

1 egg white
50g sugar
25g cocoa
400g dark chocolate
500ml double cream
60ml Golden Syrup
60ml spirit (spiced rum, Grand Marnier, Baileys, Tia Maria)

Warm the oven at 170C, beat the egg white with an electric mixer until soft peaks form and then start adding the sugar and cocoa very slowly, so to obtain a very glossy meringue that you will spread on the bottom of your round cake tin (I use a 20cm). Stick in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes. Take out and set aside to cool.

Now melt the chocolate in a double boiler. As it is melting, add the Golden Syrup (do not stir!) and the spirit (do not stir!). You need to ensure that the chocolate is melting at a low temperature (i.e., not above some roaring, boiling water), else the addition of the spirit may result in some freakish problem, namely the burning of the chocolate itself. Chocolate is extremely volatile at the best of times, even more so when combined with spirits. The higher the alcohol content and the more difficult it is to work, so bear this in mind.

Once the chocolate has melted, you can give it a quick stir, but don’t beat it in any way. Just incorporate the Golden Syrup and the liquor and set it aside to cool.

Now start beating the double cream in another bowl. Beat away until it starts to become well aerated and has almost doubled in volume. At this stage add it to the chocolate and continue beating in order to incorporate one into the other perfectly. Depending on which liquor you’ve used (and how cool the chocolate mixture is at this stage), different chemical reactions will take place. In some instances I saw chocolate re-solidifying itself into chips only to re-melt into the cream within a minute or so. Others have given me an aerated mousse-like mixture (no good, you’re not making mousse here) that eventually returned to creamy. In certain cases the mixture trebled in volume and was enough for two, not one, cake, in others it sort of deflated slightly but had a perfect consistency once refrigerated.

Am I saying all of this just to scare you? No, I am warning you not to chuck anything down the sink until you’ve beaten the cream into the chocolate well, even if you see the latter losing its glossy and perfectly smooth appearance in favour of something else entirely. Also, do not overbeat! If you do, cream and chocolate will eventually split and then, yes, you’ll have to pour it all in the sink. Beat until it looks like chocolaty whipped cream, and stop as soon as it does.

Pour the mixture onto the meringue base (which will have deflated slightly by now), cover tightly with cling film and refrigerate for at least 12 hours, 24 is better. When you’re ready to serve, take the cake out of its tin and dust it with cocoa (yeah, and remove the clingfilm as well, right?). Imagine eating the inside of a chocolate truffle in cake-slice-size. This is the stuff of dreams... of 10,000,0000 calories-dreams mind you but, hey, there’s a catch even in dreams.
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