Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Taking on Martha: soft chocolate cake with orange creme anglaise

Sometimes my weekend plans includes things like Giants baseball games.  Or bars.  Eating, there is always lots of eating.  The movies.  A lovely  drag queen show is up for this week.  Many weekends I just stay in and bake all things things.  Last weekend was mostly that; baking.  Three times actually.  You'll see what else I made next week. This week you get to see what happens when my dear friend Rachelle and I have a baking date.

Rach suggested a Martha Stewart recipe she saw in the February issue of Martha that looked really fancy pants,  soft chocolate cake with orange creme anglaise.  Yeap, because we were that sure of ourselves and our abilities.  It's a super soft cake, almost like pudding that is served warm with cold a cold orange cream.  Sounded good to me!

So I went over to her lovely Oakland apartment with lots of windows and sunshine and cat named Don that likes to sit on your chest and give you love nips. On your face.

Orange Creme Anglaise
1 cup whole milk
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon orange zest
3 egg yolks
Pinch of salt

Truth time.  We had to do the creme twice because the first time was a disaster.  DISASTER.  So my directions will be a bit modified. What's up Martha, when something is HARD to do give us a little more direction!

1. In a medium saucepan, heat milk,salt, sugar and orange zest.

Now, Martha says to bring it to a simmer.  We did barely a simmer.  Just enough for it to be hot and warm so that when you cover it it traps the heat.

2. Once covered, let sit for an hour.  Go find something to do.  We had tea with some left over orange zest inside our cups.

3. Separate your eggs in a separate bowl.  I let Rachelle do this because i suck at it.  Whisk them.

4.  Take your milk mixture which should look a but like this:

 and warm it up.  This is super important.  WARM IT UP DO NOT LET SIMMER OR YOU WILL COOK THE EGGS.

5. Whisk the two together and then return them to the saucepan.

6. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly for about six to ten minutes.  Absolutely do not let them come to a boil or even a simmer.  I repeat, be SUPER careful.  Low heat is better.

(This is where we messed up the first time and had to run out and buy more eggs and oranges. Cuz it looked like scrambled eggs. lol.   But we also bought pizza while we were out, so it was okay.)

7. Once the mixture coats the back of a spoon, remove from heat and strain immediately to take out the pieces of zest and any pieces of cooked eggs.  The creme should be smooth, not lumpy.

8. Refrigerate for 1-2 hours.  (Or a day or two if you are making this in advance.)

This is the point on our date where we watched DC Cupcakes on Netflix.  Make sure you do that too.  Or Cupcake Wars.  Or just anything on the Food Network to keep you in the cooking mood while you painfully wait for it to cool enough for you to start baking the cake.

Once you eventually get to that point, or can wait no longer and are willing to risk eating warm cream, get your ingredients for the cake out.

Soft Chocolate Cake
1 stick unsalted butter
4 oz chopped bittersweet chocolate (70%)
Pinch of salt
1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons all purpose flour
Vegetable oil cooking spray OR butter to grease your pan(s)

1.  Make a double broiler by putting a heat proof glass bowl over a sauce pan filled with 2 inches of water. Add your cubed butter, pinch of salt and chopped chocolate to the bowl.

Don't eat the chocolate.  No matter how good it looks.

2. Whisk to combine over heat.  Extra awesomeness if you have a pretty heart apron you buy on clearance the day after Valentines Day. I bought two, one for Rachelle and one for me.

That in itself tastes good.  Not that i'd know of course... Time for the rest of the cake!

3. Beat eggs, egg yolks and sugar in an electric mixer until light and frothy.

4. Add chocolate mixture.   See the matchy apron?

5. Add flour. Whisk all until combined.

The cake part is actually easy peasy, huh?  Now that it's all done you just need to put it into a cake pan.  (6 1/2 by 9 inch will do.)  Or you can put it into several cute little pans like I did.

I saw these at Ross last week and fell in love with the dots.  I didn't buy them because i was like what would i use them for?  But when i asked Rach if i needed to bring anything, she asked if i had anything cute for the cake.  I said that i did not.. but that I COULD... lol.  So I ran out and bought them.  Adorable, huh?

 I think these are like 12 or 14 oz, and had enough batter for four.

6. Once in the pan(s), bake in oven for about 8-10 minutes - until the edges are set but the middle is still soft.

Now you can take your (chilled) orange creme anglaise out of the fridge. You can even adda  little bit of extra zest for garnish.  It thickens a bit in the fridge, and is a nice pale orangey yellow.  If you noticed, there is very little sugar in this recipe so it is really light in sweetness.

This is good because the cake is chocoaltey.  Way chocoaltey goodness.  Like Martha says, you don't know if you are eating a cake or pudding.  Or both.  Some rich wonderful hybrid. It honestly looks barely cooked.  But it is.

Then just like Captain Planet, you take the two and combine their powers.

And you end up with this.  Warm and cold mixed together.  Chocolate and cream with a hint of orange.

There's only one thing left to do.  Only one thing you CAN do.  Put a spoon in it and shove it down your throat. Repeat until gone.

Best date ever?  I think so.


1 comment:

  1. Even the next night when I warmed up the leftover cake in the microwave for 30 seconds and topped it with the little bit of leftover creme anglaise it still tasted amazing!

    Wooohooo! So excited to make my first appearance on your blog :D