Tuesday, June 29, 2010
TWD: Rum-Drenched Vanilla Cake(s)
I was happy when this week’s Tuesdays With Dorie selection, Rum-Drenched Vanilla Cakes, appeared on the June schedule because I’d actually had it before and knew how good it is. Quite a while ago we had a bake sale at my office and one of my co-workers made this cake. Most people avoided it because there was rum, but I bought two pieces and was tempted to buy more. Suffice to say, I was delighted for an excuse to have this delicious cake again. I was even greedily tempted to make the pair of cakes, but decided to be practical and halve the recipe since there are only two of us and I had already learned it doesn’t go over so well at work. I can always make more and next time I don’t think it’ll be nearly two years before I eat this cake again.
Given the amount in the cake, I actually thought the rum was fairly subtle, and Dorie offers a myriad of other ways to drench the cake if rum’s not your thing. And I’m sure the creative TWD bakers have come up with some stellar ideas of their own. The real stars of the cake are the sweet vanilla taste and the wonderfully soft texture. We gave this cake a 9 for Deliciousness and a 3 for Effort, for an EDR of 3. A big thank you to Wendy of Pink Stripes for an excellent selection. You can find the recipe here on Wendy’s site, along with many other enticing concoctions, and visit the TWD site to see how the rest of the bakers liked this cake.
I also made some ice cream to go along with the cake. A few weeks ago, Josh needed to spend a few more dollars on Amazon in order to qualify for free shipping, so I graciously offered to put a copy of The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto in his cart. (And luckily for me, for once he was not ordering an obscure comic or music book that holds up shipping and delays my cookbook gratification.) I figured I should make Josh an ice cream flavor I knew he’d love since he bought me a new book.
Chocolate S’mores Gelato from The Ciao Bella Book of Gelato and Sorbetto
2 cups whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
4 ounces milk chocolate, finely chopped (I used semisweet)
4 egg yolks
½ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup (I used a half cup) chopped graham crackers, chilled
½ cup mini marshmallows, chilled
In a heavy-bottom saucepan, combine the milk and cream. Place over a medium-low heat and cook, stirring occasionally so a skin doesn’t form, until tiny bubbles start to form. Around the edges and the mixture reaches a temperature of 170 degrees. Turn off the heat and whisk in the cocoa powder. Add the chopped chocolate and stir or whisk until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
Meanwhile, in a medium heat-proof bowl, whisk the egg yolks until smooth. Gradually whisk in the sugar until it is well incorporated and the mixture is thick and pale yellow. Temper the egg yolks by very slowly pouring in the hot milk mixture while whisking continuously. Return the custard to the saucepan and place over low heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until the custard is thick enough to coat the back of the spoon and it reaches a temperature of 185 degrees. Do not bring to a boil. (The recipe specifies to cook over low heat, but I felt the custard was taking a very long time to come to temperature that way, so I turned up the heat a bit.)
Pour the custard through a fine-mesh strainer into a clean bowl and cool completely, stirring often. To cool the custard quickly, make an ice bath by filling a large bowl with ice and water and placing the bowl with the custard in it; stir until cooled. Once completely cooled, cover and refrigerate until very cold, at least four hours or overnight.
Remove the custard from the refrigerator and gently stir in the chopped graham crackers. Pour the mixture into the container of an ice cream machine and churn according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the mini marshmallows five minutes before the churning is completed. Transfer to an airtight container and freeze for at least two hours before serving.