American cake / dessert

Triple Chocolate Pound Cake with Chocolate Ganache

Tuesday, May 13, 2014Enz F




This is the second part of my baking adventure with my dear friend, Princess last weekend. With the variety and the level of complexity of the recipe that we are braving to try, I can say that we are, in a way, pushing our limits a little bit into the ceiling. We are starting to become more passionate of this little leisure pursuit and as a matter of fact, we have already committed to dedicate one or two of our weekends in a month for our "baking bonding" since we have really been enjoying this new found love. With that, expect me to blog more baking recipes in the future. I also heard that Princess wants to practice making layered cake for her mother’s and baby’s upcoming birthdays this year so I told her that it is best to invest more baking tools and probably upgrade her baking oven when she already got the means (and later on, donate to me the older and the smaller one! kidding!). She bought several baking pans, boards, baking sheets and liners, and stocked a number of baking ingredients for future use to start off. Good girl! We also promised ourselves to practice more on putting cream frosting with the help of “real” piping tube. 


Dense and moist chocolate loaf, bathing in some rich and viscous ganache
And to get her into persuasion and set her in a starting motion to practice making real cakes, I proposed that she could get her hands with some loaf bread, thus, the birth of our Triple Chocolate Lava Loaf Cake (thanks to another friend, Kongkong for contributing some beautiful thoughts while thinking of a name for our cake). We never had any chance yet to take some official baking lessons and I do not really know if we were actually doing it right since we mostly get inspirations on the recipes and instructions that we dug up on the internet and rely on the feedback of the people that we used as trial guinea pigs to test our final output. As luck would have it, no one who tested our products so far was ever harm or went home with their mouths bubbling as of this writing. But the most amazing part of all this endeavor is, Princess trusts most of my (bright) ideas and suggestions as much as I strongly believe in her patience and genuine talents. I think those inner traits and unfaltering spirits are good enough to compensate for our lack of formal training.

They say that in order to bake good cakes you must learn first to perfect the very heart of the cake, the loaf. That creamy frosting is just “the icing on the cake”. So with the use of the simplest ingredients we could easily get at hand and with the choice of the all time favorite flavoring, the chocolate, we would try our best to perfect making a cake bread. The first cake masterpiece that Princess and I have ever created was actually a moist chocolate pound cake poured with some rich and creamy chocolate ganache.

A pound cake is traditionally made of four basic ingredients with 1:1:1:1 ratio
With British roots but also a popular dessert in the U.S. and throughout Europe, a pound cake was traditionally made in large quantities with “one pound” of each of its basic ingredients: flour, eggs, butter and sugar. Since the fairly large cake maybe spoiled before it can be fully consumed, modern day pastry makers reduce the quantity of ingredients to make smaller cakes while essentially maintaining the 1:1:1:1 ratio. Some variations were also developed in order to modify, improve and maintain good texture, flavor and color of the cake.

On the other hand, ganache (/ɡəˈnɑːʃ/), a French word that means drooping cheeks, is a rich glaze or frosting for cakes and pastries made from the combination of two important components: cream and chocolate. Sometimes, additional ingredients like citrus extracts and various liquors are included to incorporate a different twist of flavor. And in order to achieve the preferred viscosity and shiny finish, shortening agents like butter and vegetable oil are usually added.

"Triple Chocolate Lava Loaf Cake"
Achieving your "perfect" cake really requires practice and repeated failures but what make it extra-special are the rewarding experience and the valuable takeaways that everyone may gain through. My friend and I really enjoyed doing the experiment, and we can confidently say that after attempting for the nth time, we finally achieved our ideal chocolate loaf bread. Just see how out of our fancy and very weird imagination that we got to name our first ever chocolate pound cake as "Triple Chocolate Lava Loaf Cake." We were simply amazed at how the cake resembled an erupting volcano with some oozing dark and thick lava all over that everyone - friends and loved ones - seemed to feast on every dollop and every bite. And just like our enthusiasm to explore the many-splendoured world of baking, the passion is just burning inside us and in no time, will begin to explode wonders.

Triple Chocolate Pound Cake with Chocolate Ganache
Makes 1 loaf



INGREDIENTS:

For the chocolate loaf 
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
  • 1 tsp. salt 
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder 
  • 3 oz. unsweetened dark chocolate bar, finely chopped 
  • 1 tsp. coffee powder 
  • 1/3 cup boiling water 
  • 1 cup butter, softened at room temperature 
  • 1½ cup granulated sugar 
  • 5 eggs 
For the chocolate ganache 
  • 1 cup whipping cream or all-purpose cream 
  • 2 tbsps. butter 
  • 4 oz. unsweetened dark chocolate bar, finely chopped 
  • 3 tbsps. sweet chocolate chips 

PROCEDURE: 
  1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF (170ºC). Line with baking sheet the base and sides of a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Leave some excess linings on the side. 
  2. In a small bowl, sift and mix together the all-purpose flour and salt. Set aside. 
  3. Place in a heatproof bowl the chopped chocolate bar and pour over the boiling water to melt the chocolate. Thoroughly stir in the coffee and cocoa powder until well blended. Set aside to cool. 
  4. In a separate large mixing bowl, whisk the butter and sugar until fluffy. Stir in the chocolate mixture and whisk thoroughly to combine all the ingredients. 
  5. Add the egg one at a time and mix well after each one. 
  6. Gradually toss in the flour and salt mixture. Stir well to combine. 
  7. Carefully pour the chocolate batter in the lined baking pan. Gently beat a few times the surface to release air bubbles. 
  8. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes. Test the doneness of the loaf by inserting a toothpick into the middle. The stick must come out almost clean. Carefully remove the loaf out of the oven. 
  9. Allow to cool a few minutes in the pan, and then turn it out and transfer on the rack to completely cool. Prepare the chocolate ganache while the loaf is cooling. 
  10. Put the cream in a saucepan and bring to a mild simmer over medium heat. Continuously whisk with a metal spoon to avoid the cream from sticking on the pan. Remove the cream from heat when it starts to thicken. 
  11. In a heatproof bowl, put the chopped chocolate bar and chocolate chips, and pour the cream over. Stir until the chocolate is melted and the mixture smoothens. 
  12. Stir in the butter and continue to whisk until smooth and silky. Allow to completely cool. Spread or pour the ganache over the chocolate loaf. Slice the cake into serving pieces and serve. Enjoy! 

TIPS FROM ENZ: 
  1. Start to test the doneness of the loaf on the last 10 to 15 minutes of cooking. Reduce a little the cooking time if you want to achieve that dense and moist texture. 
  2. If using the less creamy all-purpose cream for ganache, continue to cook the cream at a very low simmer until it gets the preferred thickness. 
  3. In making chocolate ganache, it is a “must” to remove the cream from the stove before adding the butter and chocolate. Lessons learned: do not add chocolate while the cream is on the stovetop as cooking the chocolate would tend to release much of the oil which would turn the ganache into curdles and become liquidy. One incorrect move as a result of laziness and mediocrity would ruin your chocolate ganache in a snap.

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