Death by Chocolate Cakes: An Astonishing Array of Chocolate Enchantmentsby Marcel Desaulniers
In this scrumptious collection, revered chef Marcel Desaulniers serves up some of his most sinful, most seductive chocolate creations ever. An astonishing array of chocolate lovers from the "guru of ganache".See more details below
In this scrumptious collection, revered chef Marcel Desaulniers serves up some of his most sinful, most seductive chocolate creations ever. An astonishing array of chocolate lovers from the "guru of ganache".
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Chocolate Heart of Darkness Cakes
Makes 12 Cakes
Dark Chocolate Truffle Hearts
8 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
Make the Dark Chocolate Truffle Hearts
Place 8 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate in a small bowl. Heat 3/4 cup heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Pour the boiling cream over the chopped chocolate. Set aside for 5 minutes and then stir with a whisk until smooth. Pour the mixture (called "ganache") onto a nonstick baking sheet and use a rubber spatula to spread the ganache in a smooth, even layer to within about 1 inch of the inside edges. Place the ganache in the freezer for 15 minutes, or in the refrigerator for 30 minutes, until very firm to the touch.
Line a 10- to 12-inch dinner plate with parchment paper or wax paper. Remove the firm ganache from the freezer or the refrigerator. Portion 12 heaping tablespoons (a bit more than 1 ounce each) of ganache onto the paper. Wearing a pair of disposable vinyl (or latex) gloves, individually roll each portion of ganache in your palms in a circular motion, using just enough gentle pressure to form a smooth orb. This is a traditional truffle. You should refrain from indulging in them now, since absence of a truffle in a cake will make the heart grow darker. Return each formed truffle onto the paper-lined plate, and place in the freezer while preparing the cake batter.
Chocolate Cocoa Cakes
5 ounces unsalted butter cut into 1/2-ounce
pieces, plus 2teaspoons (melted)
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
8 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Make the Chocolate Cocoa Cakes
Preheat the oven to 325°F. Lightly coat the inside of each individual nonstick muffin cup (3 inches in diammeter cups) with some of the 2 teaspoons melted butter. Set aside until needed.
In a sifter, combine 2/3 cup flour and 1/2 cup cocoa powder. Sift onto a large piece of parchment paper (or wax paper), and set aside until needed.
Melt 8 ounces chopped semisweet chocolate and 5 ounces of butter in the top half of a double boiler, or in a microwave oven (see page 000 for more details), and stir until smooth.
Place 3 eggs, 2 egg yolks, and 1/2 cup sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Beat on medium-high speed for 2 minutes until the mixture is slightly frothy. Add the melted chocolate and butter and mix on low speed to combine, about 15 seconds. Continue to operate the mixer on low while gradually adding the sifted dry ingredients. Once they have been incorporated, stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and mix on medium to combine, about 15 seconds. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the batter until thoroughly combined.
Portion 3 heaping tablespoons (about 2 1/2 ounces) of the cake batter into each muffin cup. Place the muffin tin on the center rack of the preheated oven. Bake for 5 minutes. Remove the truffles from the freezer. Remove the muffin tin from the oven, and, moving quickly, place a single frozen truffle in the center of each portion of cake batter, pressing the truffle about halfway down into the batter. Immediately return the muffin tin to the center rack of the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted into a cake (not the truffle) comes out dean, 17 to 18 minutes.
Remove the cakes from the oven and cool at room temperature for 20 minutes. To remove the cakes from the muffin cups, hold the top edge of a cake, and give the cake a slight jiggle to loosen it from inside the cup. Then insert the pointed tip of a knife into a an outside edge of the top of the cake and loosen it so that you can gently pull the baked cake out of the cup. Serve immediately while still warm.
The Chef's Touch
You are undoubtedly aware that chocolate has not only pleased palates, but also increased libido since the Aztec emperor Montezuma quaffed a cold, spiced cocoa drink before engaging in corporeal activities of a passionate nature. In Montezuma's day, only the elite had the privilege of chocolate, and indeed, drinking it from a golden goblet was de rigueur. The masses remained uninformed about chocolate's virtues until the seventeenth century, when English Quakers popularized sweetened hot chocolate as an alternative to demon gin. Ever since that time, chocolate lovers have had a warm spot in their hearts for hot chocolate (even though gin has remained one of the more popular sins).
Which brings me to Chocolate Heart of Darkness. This warm, molten chocolate cake is so sensual it could be the eighth deadly sin. How appropriate that it was created by my sister, Denise Yocum, a psychologist in Massachusetts. Whose lust was she analyzing when she developed this recipe?
If the racks in your oven slide out easily and are stable, instead of removing the muffin tin from the oven, slide the center rack out and quickly insert the truffles. Then return the rack to its place and finish the baking.
After the Chocolate Heart of Darkness Cakes have cooled to room temperature, you may keep them covered with plastic wrap for up to 24 hours at room temperature, or in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. Being a purist who is stuck in his ways, here is a revelation I hate to admit: The cakes may be rewarmed in a microwave oven, and they are extraordinary. Make sure the cakes are at room temperature, then heat them one or two at a time for 30 to 40 seconds in a microwave oven set on defrost power. The cake will be warm and moist, and the truffle center will be a hot ooze of ecstasy.
Mocha Mud Cake with Espresso
Mocha Mud Cake
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-ounce
pieces; plus 1 teaspoon (melted)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups brewed full-strength coffee, hot
5 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dark rum
2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Make the Mocha Mud Cake
Preheat the oven to 275°F. Assemble a 9 x 2 3/4-inch nonstick springform pan with the bottom insert turned over (the lip of the insert facing down). Lightly coat the insides of the springform pan with some of the 1 teaspoon of melted butter. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper (or wax paper), then lightly coat the paper with more melted butter. Set aside.
In a sifter combine 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Sift onto a large piece of parchment paper (or wax paper). Set aside until needed.
Place 1 3/4 cups hot coffee, 1/2 pound butter, 5 ounces chopped unsweetened chocolate, and 1/4 cup rum in the top half of a double boiler over medium-low heat. Use a rubber spatula to stir the mixture until the butter and chocolate are completely melted and combined with the coffee and rum, 2 1/2 to 3 minutes.
The chocolate and butter may also be melted with the coffee and rum in a medium glass bowl in a microwave oven set at medium power for 2 minutes. After removing the mixture from the microwave oven, use a rubber spatula to stir until smooth and combined.
Transfer the melted butter and chocolate mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle. Add 2 cups sugar and mix on low speed for 1 minute. Operate the mixer on low while gradually adding the sifted dry ingredients. Once they have been incorporated, about 1 minute, add 2 eggs and 1 tablespoon vanilla extract and mix on medium speed for 1 minute. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to finish mixing the ingredients until thoroughly combined. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan. Place the pan on a baking sheet with sides on the center rack in the preheated oven.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 2 hours. Remove the cake from the oven and cool in the pan for 30 minutes. Release the cake from the springform pan and invert it onto a cake circle (or plate). Remove the bottom insert, then carefully peel the parchment paper away from the cake bottom. Turn the cake over, onto a cake circle (or plate) and set aside at room temperature while preparing the Mud Slide.
Chocolate Chunk Mud Slide
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
6 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
4 ounces semisweet baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
Prepare the Espresso Chocolate Chunk Mud Slide
Place 1 1/2 cups heavy cream, 6 tablespoons sugar, and 2 tablespoons espresso powder in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a balloon whip. Whisk on high for 1 minute until soft peaks form. Remove the bowl from the mixer and use a rubber spatula to fold in 4 ounces semisweet chocolate.
Heat the blade of a serrated slicer under hot running water and wipe the blade dry before cutting each slice. Spoon 2 to 3 heaping tablespoons of the Mud Slide over each piece of the cake and serve.
The Chef's Touch
Whether the origins of this American dessert are north or south of the Mason-Dixon Line, its popularity has certainly spread. My daughter Danielle returned from an Australian vacation a few years ago with a photo of a cafe in Perth; its blackboard, out front, boasted Death by Chocolate, featuring Mississippi Mud Pie. The global village, indeed.
Turning over the bottom insert of the springform pan (the lip of the bottom insert facing down) before assembling the pan will make it easier to separate the insert from the baked cake.
The seemingly insignificant amount of ruin in the cake infuses it with a bold flavor. If you prefer, you can eliminate the rum and increase the amount of brewed full-strength coffee to 2 cups, rather than 1 3/4cups.
Due to its dense texture, the cake stays warm for at least an hour after being removed from the oven. And "warm" is the way to eat this dessert, with just-whipped Espresso Chocolate Chunk Mud Slide cascading down the sides. Let's see our Aussie friends abscond with this one.
As suggested, the cake is extraordinary served warm, but it can also be deliciously enjoyed at room temperature. Once cooled, the cake may be kept, covered with plastic wrap, at room temperature for up to 24 hours. You may also refrigerate the cake for 3 to 4 days. To avoid permeating the cake with refrigerator odors, place the cake in a large, tightly sealed plastic container. If refrigerated, keep the slices at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving. A tall café latte would be the perfect beverage to accompany this Mississippi madness.Death By Chocolate Cakes. Copyright © by Marcel Desaulniers. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.
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