My daughter Alice turned sixteen ten days ago. She announced that she was going to have a big sweet sixteen extravaganza to celebrate the event and invite 60 of her closest friends. Since I had no idea what a sweet sixteen party was, never having had one in Lebanon or even gone to one for that matter, I was happy to let her plan it with her grandmother. Unfortunately, plans fell through and so I decided to soften the blow with a nice cake, homemade of course, and totally delicious.
Chocolate ganache, raspberry bavarian and sponge cake. It is light. The sponge cake has no butter or oil and the bavarian tastes very refreshing and tangy. The chocolate ganache is luscious and rich of course, but it is only used for glazing the cake.
This recipe was gathered from several sources: an old issue from Time-Life magazine, the Cake Bible from Rose Levy Beranbaum (for the ganache recipe) were the main sources.
Sponge Cake: This cake will yield up to 12 servings
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
4 large eggs, separated
3/4 cup sugar, divided
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt, pinch of cream of tartar (optional)
Pan: 9 or 10×2 inch round layer pan or springform pan, buttered and the bottom lined with parchment or wax paper
- Preheat the oven to 350F
- Sift the cocoa powder, flour and cornstarch together through a sifter.
- Set aside and mix well with a wire beat.
- In a clean bowl, (no trace of fat-if in doubt, take half a lemon and brush it through the inside of the bowl) place the egg whites, the sugar and a pinch of salt. Start beating. When the mixture is foamy, add a pinch of cream of tartar. Beat for about 5 minutes until the whites are stiff but still shiny. Take a rubber spatula and remove the meringue (beaten whites) and place in another bowl.
- Pour the egg yolks and the sugar in the mixer and start mixing at high speed for about 7 minutes until the mixture is pale yellow and the mixture is thick and forms a ribbon when the mixer is lifted.
- Stop the mixer and start adding the meringue (egg whites), a little at a time, using a spatula and mixing in an up and under motion so as not to deflate the whites and to keep the mixture nice and fluffy.
- When the whites are incorporated, sift the flour and cocoa mixture over it and start folding it into the egg foam, a little at a time, using the same up and under motion.
- When the batter is ready, pour into the pans or pan and even it out with a long spatula.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until the cake is firm to the touch and well risen.
- Cool the cake on a rack, invert and if not using right away, cover in plastic wrap then foil and keep in the freezer until needed.
- 1/2 cup of sugar
- 2/3 cup of water
- 1/2 cup of raspberry liqueur
- Place the sugar and water in a saucepan and heat to boiling. Add liqueur and turn off the heat and cool.
Raspberry Bavarian Cream:
- 2 bags of organic raspberries (10 oz each)
- 1 1/2 envelope of plain gelatin
- 2 cups of heavy whipping cream
- 3/4 cup of sugar
- 1/3 cup of raspberry liqueur
- Place the raspberries and sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil, lower the heat and simmer 10 minutes.
- Pour the mixture into a bowl through a sieve. Push through with a wooden spoon to extract the juice from the seeds. You should have about 2 cups of raspberry juice. Cool.
- Pour the liqueur in a small pyrex measuring cup, and sprinkle the gelatin on top. After 5 minutes, heat the gelatin and liqueur mixture in the microwave for about 15 seconds until it is liquid again.
- Add the gelatin to the raspberry juice and mix it well with a wire whip.
- Beat the whipping cream in a mixer ( if you place the mixer and beater and cream in the fridge for at least one hour prior, it will help the cream whip up faster)
- Fold the cream in the raspberry mixture until it is well incorporated.
2 bars (3.5 ounces each) of Lindt Excellence 85% chocolate
1 cup of heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup of sugar (or to taste)
1 tablespoon of raspberry liqueur
- Pour the cream into a skillet with 1/2 cup of sugar. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat.
- Break the chocolate into pieces and melt the pieces in the cream with the sugar.
- Mix well. Add the liqueur and mix. Taste and if it is not sweet enough to your taste, add more sugar and melt it on very low heat for a few minutes.
- Cool on the stove for 30 minutes.
- Freeze leftover ganache for up to 3 months.
- With a long serrated knife, cut the cake in two layers.
- With a large spoon, sprinkle 1/3 cup of the raspberry syrup on each layer, trying to cover the entire surface of the cake.
- Take a cup of bavarian cream at a time and spread it over each layer with a long spatula, trying to make an even layer if possible.
- Place the cake in the fridge for one hour to firm up, preferably 3 hours.
- Glaze the cake by pouring the ganache over the top of the cake, starting at the middle.
- Decorate with a few fresh raspberries or fresh rose buds.
- Serve chilled.
You can make 2 small cakes or even cupcakes and freeze them either plain or with the bavarian cream for 3 weeks. When ready to consume, defrost in the fridge and pour the glaze over.
It is easier to assemble the cake if you place the layers, one at a time, in the cake pan. Place one layer, sprinkle with syrup, then pour the raspberry mousse, then the second layer, syrup, then raspberry mousse. The cake pan will hold the cake in place. Make sure you line it with 2 long strips of plastic wrap first, crisscrossed, so that when the cake is all ready, you can just lift the plastic strips from the pan and set the cake on a pretty serving dish.
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