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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Earl Grey Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache



I taught a Chocolate Dessert Class tonight at The American Table, in Collingswood, NJ.  It was the 2nd chocolate-themed class that I taught and both classes were wonderful.  Last week I did a chocolate inspired dinner.  Some ingredients in the 3 course meal incorporated chocolate.  I used white chocolate mixed into a bleu cheese and lemon compound butter. For the main course, I used veal medallions that were dusted in cocoa powder, flour and thyme.  I made a pan reduction sauce with brandy, stock and dark chocolate.  It's all been part of a Valentine's Day series of classes that the owner of The American Table and I created.  
Tonight's class was the 2nd class I taught out of a series of 3 we planned.  Only the first class didn't run - a chocolate class where I planned to make a savory chocolate pasta dinner.  Oh well, not everyone loves chocolate as much as I do! Last week and this week's classes were very successful.  We had a lot of fun, the participants were very enthusiastic and the food, well, it was just a "little bit" wonderful!  
I did have a few flubs during the course of the evening, primarily I messed up my printed recipes in 2 glaring ways: I forgot to include a cup of sugar in the list of cake ingredients.  I also printed or collated the recipe newsletter wrong - I think I included two of the same pages of recipes and missed including my bio and contact information! Egads!  As soon as I got home, put away my gear and ate some dinner, I corrected the recipe files and came on the computer to post the corrected version!
Here are two of the four desserts I created for tonight's Chocolate Dessert Class, Chocolate Ganache infused with Earl Grey Tea and an Earl Grey Chocolate Cake.  Simple, elegant and fairly easy desserts to make for your next special occasion or just because!

Chocolate Ganache aka Earl Grey Infused Chocolate Sauce Ingredients:
  • 1 Cup Heavy Cream
  • 1 Earl Grey Tea Bag
  • 1 Cup (8 ounces) Semi or Bittersweet Chocolate - chopped or use chips

Directions:
  1. Gently heat (do not boil) the cream in a small sauce pot and steep it with the Earl Grey tea bag for 10-15 minutes.  After the cream has steeped, strain it into a small bowl over a fine mesh strainer.  Squeeze the tea bag to remove any liquid. Discard the tea bag.   
  2. Add the chopped  chocolate (or if using, chocolate chips) to a heat-safe bowl and pour the Earl Grey infused cream over the chocolate to melt it.  Stir with a spatula to ensure the chocolate and cream incorporate.  The chocolate should melt completely and look shiny and smooth.  
  3. Serve the chocolate sauce warm, immediately over the Earl Grey Cake.  
  4. Left-over chocolate sauce will keep up to 1 week, covered and refrigerated.  
  5. To re-use, reheat the sauce for 30 second intervals in a microwave or set in a heat-safe bowl over a pot of simmering water (or use a double boiler).
  6. To make the chocolate sauce even richer and shinier, stir in a tablespoon of unsalted butter when adding the cream and the chocolate together.  Stir or whisk to incorporate.

Earl Grey Chocolate Cake Ingredients:
  • 1 1/4 Cups All-Purpose or Cake Flour
  • 1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
  • 1 1/4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 2 Earl Grey Tea Bags
  • 3/4 Cup Milk
  • 1 Stick Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs - lightly beaten
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Tablespoon Orange Zest - finely grated (about the zest of 1 orange)
Directions:
  1. Have all of your ingredients at room temperature for best results. Make sure the butter is softened.
  2. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Position rack in the lower third of the oven.
  3. Grease cake pan; line bottom with parchment; grease the parchment and then flour the pan, shaking out excess flour. Set aside until ready to use. Cake can also be made as individual cakes in a small “cakelette” pan. Grease and flour the pan but do not use parchment as it won’t fit!
  4. Steep the Earl Grey tea bag into 3/4 cup of milk for 10-15 minutes.  After it has steeped, pour the hot milk through a fine mesh strainer into a small bowl.  Press the liquid from the tea bags and then discard them.
  5. In mixing bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda and the salt.  Whisk to incorporate and set aside.
  6. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the stick of unsalted butter on medium speed until creamy - about 1 minute.  Add the sugar and continue beating until the mixture is light & fluffy. Add in the beaten eggs, vanilla extract and the orange zest, a bit at a time, beating well after each addition.
  7. On low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with pouring in the milk and ending with the flour;  blend each addition until just incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl in-between.  
  8. Pour the cake batter into the prepared cake pan or cakelette trays. 
  9. Bake the cake until it springs back when touched and pulls away from the side of the pan - 25-30 minutes for a quarter sheet tray; 30 - 35 minutes for a 9x13 cake pan.  
  10. Rotate the pan half-way through baking time, to ensure even baking. Cake is done with a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  11. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and allow cake to cool to the touch before removing from the pan. Cake can be cut out in shapes using cookie cutters.   Serve with Warm Chocolate Sauce/Ganache Sauce drizzled over the top. Makes 8-12 servings.
Cake recipe adapted and modified from Williams-Sonoma Dessert Series: Sweet Miniatures, by Flo Braker.  Chronicle Books - 2000
The original recipe was called Tea Lime Cakelettes and did not incorporate chocolate and it had grated lime zest in it.  I’ve changed the recipe to include cocoa powder and swapped out the lime zest for orange zest - as orange and chocolate are a nicer pairing.  
You can find the original recipe at:  http://www.williams-sonoma.com/recipe/lime-tea-cakelets.html

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