Tuesday, 1 February 2011
ABC Wednesday: C for Cake
Specifically: Chocolate Cardamon Chili Cake. Nuff Cs?
For my brother in law Ron's 50th birthday last November we were to go out for a curry. Ron loves a curry. My sister, not the one he's married to, who I was to pick up from the airport on the way up, asked me to make him a birthday cake. I said yes, of course, not much gets in the way of a real, valid cake making excuse. Why not, I thought, try to make one that will, in some way, compliment the spicy meal? As Ron likes it hot, and I had been experimenting with adding chili to chocolate things for a while (I've made some fabulous chocolate chili cookies), I decided to top the cake with dark chocolate chili ganache. Then I remembered Nigel Slater's 'White Chocolate Cardamon Mousse' (in his book Real Food, I think) and wondered if I could borrow from this for the filling. The only way to find these things out is to try, so that's what I did.
The cake itself was the 'Buttermilk Birthday Cake' you can find in Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess. Instead of flavouring it with vanilla I crushed the seeds of a handful of cardamon pods (15?) and creamed them in with the sugar and butter.
For the experimentsl filling I crushed the seeds of another ten cardamon pods, put them in a little jug, covered them with milk (about two tablespoons) and heated the lot in the microwave for about 20 seconds. This was then left to infuse for an hour or so. 200 grams of white chocolate went into the microwave next, but as it melts very easily I just started it off there (1 minute on half power) then stirred languorously till it was fully liquefied (never once dipping my finger in to taste). A carton (280ml) of double (heavy) cream was whisked until it formed soft peaks. The infused milk was strained and stirred into the warm chocolate, followed by the cream which I folded in until the three became one. Then it went into the fridge to chill.
For the topping I melted 300 grams of dark chocolate with three tablespoons of golden syrup, then added three crushed dried chilies. Once the chocolate was coolish I added a carton of double cream and whisked like crazy so all became thick and became very glossy. It too went into the fridge to chill a little, not so much, though, that it became truffle solid.
Once the cakes (two sandwiches) were cool I applied the filling to one and topped it with the second. Scraped the chili chocolate ganache over the top and let it drip down the sides, cartoon style. The result was spicy, fragrant, and moist, if a little on the rich side. But the added chili meant it increased the metabolism by fifteen percent for the next two hours, thus burning off some of the calories. It all counts.
Cake for a Spice Lover (sorry about the photo quality, I'd had a glass of champagne before remembering to snap).
Off to Edinburgh tomorrow to see the play A View from the Bridge (Arthur Miller). The tickets were part of Stevie's Christmas present from me; when we first met (1978?) he was always banging on about Death of a Salesman which he'd just done for English A-level, so when I saw this was on...
Let's hope time and experience haven't changed his literary sensibilities too much.
PS I have tried to be clever and make it so if you click on the ABC Wednesday picture it takes you to the site, however this may not work. If this is so click here.