Tuesday, November 10, 2009
TWD: Chocolate Caramel Chestnut Cake
Last week’s Tuesdays With Dorie recipe was Chocolate Caramel Chestnut Cake, but due to the relaxed posting schedule this month, I made it this week instead. I had a lot of fun previewing this month’s recipes last week; I can’t wait to try them all. For those who have not baked the chestnut cake yet, this cake is a bit of a Project. A lot of weeks when the recipes involve multiple steps, I will write things like, “there were multiple components, but none of them were difficult” or “you can spread the baking out over two days.” I actually found this cake on the higher end of the difficult and time-consuming side, though I am not above admitting that my inability to read that the eggs were to be separated did not help the process (luckily I realized it before I’d added in the flour and chestnut puree). Neither did forgetting to line the baking pan with parchment paper. The cake was very dense and impossible to remove from the pan. I had baked a half recipe in an 8x8 pan (which it filled quite well) and was planning on cutting it vertically, so I did that while the cake was still in the pan and managed to coax both halves out – luckily it’s a pretty sturdy cake.
This recipe did not specify to make the caramel in a skillet (it said saucepan), but the instructions for Dorie’s Chocolate-Crunched Caramel Tart did, and it worked well for me (in that I didn’t burn the caramel), so I went ahead and used one this time. The sugar did crystallize quite a bit, which was easily resolved with a glug of corn syrup and brushing the pan with water. Overall, another successful caramel attempt – woo! The chocolate ganache called for a mixture of milk chocolate and bittersweet; since I do not like milk chocolate, I split the difference and used semisweet, which tasted great. I refrigerated the ganache overnight, and then left it out for over an hour to spread it on the cake, but it was pretty solid. I eventually ended up whipping it with a little more cream to loosen it up, which worked well and it coated the cake nicely. The final step was the chocolate glaze, which thankfully came together quite easily. The instructions said to wait for the glaze to set until it was “thick but pourable” and mine was after about an hour. And wow, what a nice finish to the cake!
Oh, and as you can probably infer from the pictures, I used hazelnuts rather than chestnuts, which I could not find for less than $11.49 per jar, for the filling and top. I decided I need to start being more judicious in my baking expenditures, particularly when it involves an ingredient I’m not that excited about and there are suitable substitutions in my pantry. I did use vanilla chestnut puree for the actual cake portion, and I’m happy I did, as it gave the cake a lovely sweet nutty flavor. I also burned a chestnut scented candle while I put the cake together. I think the candle was probably more expensive than the actual chestnuts, but it’s lasted a long time.
This recipe rated a 9.5 for Deliciousness and a 5 for Effort, giving it an EDR 1.9. I have to say, that though it was time-consuming, it was also a very satisfying dessert to make. And eat. Many thanks to Katya of Second Dinner for selecting this cake. You can find the recipe here on Katya’s site and visit the TWD blogroll to see what the other bakers made this week. The recipe for the Cran-Apple Crisp, which is this week’s official recipe, is available here on The Repressed Pastry Chef.