Saturday, February 28, 2009

Daring Bakers February Challenge

I have been slack, and haven't participated in the last three (GASP) challenges, because November, December and January are really festive months over here in Malaysia, and we are swamped with all kinds of celebrations, and the whole country is one big party.

I was thrilled therefore to note that this month's challenge is co-hosted by fellow countryman, DHARM of Dad Baker and Chef, and Wendy of WMPE's blog. And, to top it all, the recipe is from our country's favourite culinary son, Chef Wan!

As February is ALSO quite a festive month, the family has been eating to the hilt, so I needed an appropriate time to make this cake, when there would be people to eat. Actually, I realised I didn't need to worry, since my brood of 4 kids are like scavengers, and a combination of chocolate and vanilla would be scarfed down quicker than you can say, Dharm IT!

Although flourless chocolate cakes are not new to me, this recipe was, and tempted as I was to use my tried and tested, there's a certain thrill in following a NEW recipe and have the cake turn out beyond expectation. At a glance, it seemed to contain only egg, and chocolate, ... which ..err...begged the question, why not just eat chocolate.

The lucky recipients of my largesse were my Friday Bible Study group, who are the defacto guinea pigs for most new items that needed testers.

Here is the challenge:

February’s challenge is a Flourless Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Valentino, inspired by Malaysia’s “most flamboyant food ambassador”, Chef Wan. Recipe comes from Sweet Treats by Chef Wan:

What we Want You to Do:
the following recipe
-Serve with - The original recipe calls for the cake to be served with whipping cream. BUT we decided to make this more of a challenge and ask you to make your own Ice Cream – a first for the DBrs. You can choose any flavour you want and any recipe although we provided two vanilla ice cream recipes. But we are giving you a little freedom here and will allow whipped cream as a topping as well or of course non-dairy whip. Be as creative as you want with your topping. Any fruit puree or sauce would be lovely with this cake.

At times like these, I am glad I am well equipped! Twas time to get my old gelato maker out of warm storage. When I first bought it three or four years ago, it was like a new wife, used everyday, and churning out all kinds of experimental flavours. When the novelty wore out, and it was taking up too much space in the freezer, it was unceremoniously wrapped up and chucked into the equivalent of the equipment morgue..... I'm sure you'd find treadmills, abs machines, dumbells, etc in the same place. So, I was glad to hear the parts could still churn.

- Use your favorite chocolatethe finished cake will taste exactly like the chocolate you use. Be creative with your chocolate, if you like a sweeter cake use milk chocolate or a combination of the semisweet and milk chocolate. If you like bittersweet chocolate use that and add sweetness by mixing the semi sweet with bittersweet. If you are daring, try white chocolate. (Dharm used all bittersweet and Wendy used a half bitter/half semi sweet chocolate).

I opted for Wendy's combo, and used half bitter and half semi sweet. Experience has shown that bitter chocolate does all appeal to all and sundry.

- A higher cocoa percentage increases the bitterness of the chocolate.
-Equipment - it is optional to use a heart shaped pan. For a real Valentino, bake it in a heart shaped pan or cut it out into a heart shape. You may use any shape pan that gives you an area of 50” - 6x8 or 7x7. An 8” spring form pan works with great results as do smaller pans or ramekins.
-An instant read thermometer highly recommended.

Note on recipe - the recipe consists of 3 simple ingredients and how you interpret them is part of the challenge. The simplicity of this recipe gives credit to the ingredients much in the same way of French baguette.
-This recipe comes together very quickly with a hand mixer.
-This is a very decadent cake that will sink a little as it cools but will still hold its shape.
-Very dense and fudgy cake that tastes divine.
-The top forms a light crust kind of like a brownie

Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).


5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.


6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.


7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.


8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C


9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C.
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.


10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.



The texture of the cake was a lovely gooey fudgy texture...almost self saucing in a way. Everyone in my bible study group loved it, including the numerous children.


TA DAH....Ebony..and Ivory, go together like Pianooooo Keys....


Dharm's Ice Cream Recipe
Classic Vanilla Ice Cream
Preparation Time: 30 minutes

Recipe comes from the Ice Cream Book by Joanna Farrow and Sara Lewis (tested modifications and notes in parentheses by Dharm)

1 Vanilla Pod (or substitute with vanilla extract)
300ml / ½ pint / 1 ¼ cups Semi Skimmed Milk – in the U.S. this is 2% fat (or use fresh full fat milk that is pasteurised and homogenised {as opposed to canned or powdered}). Dharm used whole milk.
4 large egg yolks
75g / 3oz / 6 tbsp caster sugar {superfine sugar can be achieved in a food processor or use regular granulated sugar}
5ml / 1 tsp corn flour {cornstarch}
300ml / ½ pint / 1 ¼ cups Double Cream (48% butter fat) {in the U.S. heavy cream is 37% fat)
{you can easily increase your cream's fat content by heating 1/4 cup of heavy cream with 3 Tbs of butter until melted - cool to room temperature and add to the heavy cream as soon as whisk marks appear in the cream, in a slow steady stream, with the mixer on low speed. Raise speed and continue whipping the cream) or use heavy cream the difference will be in the creaminess of the ice cream.

1. Using a small knife slit the vanilla pod lengthways. Pour the milk into a heavy based saucepan, add the vanilla pod and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and leave for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse
Lift the vanilla pod up. Holding it over the pan, scrape the black seeds out of the pod with a small knife so that they fall back into the milk. SET the vanilla pod aside and bring the milk back to the boil.
2. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and corn-flour in a bowl until the mixture is thick and foamy. 3. Gradually pour in the hot milk, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over a gentle hear, stirring all the time
4. When the custard thickens and is smooth, pour it back into the bowl. Cool it then chill.
5. By Hand: Whip the cream until it has thickened but still falls from a spoon. Fold it into the custard and pour into a plastic tub or similar freeze-proof container. Freeze for 6 hours or until firm enough to scoop, beating it twice (during the freezing process – to get smoother ice cream or else the ice cream will be icy and coarse)
By Using and Ice Cream Maker: Stir the cream into the custard and churn the mixture until thick (follow instructions on your ice cream maker)

The completed home made ice cream

Nothing quite satisfying as luscious creamy ice cream made from your own sweat and effort

Good enough to eat on its own, but a few Oreos chucked in makes it even better!

Wendy's Ice Cream Recipe
Vanilla Philadelphia Style Recipe
Preparation Time: 5 minutes

2 cups (473 ml) of half and half (1 cup of heavy cream and 1 cup of whole, full fat milk)
1 cup (237 ml) heavy cream
2/3 (128 grams) cup sugar
Dash of salt
1 (12 grams) tablespoon of vanilla

Mix all ingredients together (we do this in a plastic pitcher and mix with an emulsifier hand blender-whisking works too).
Refrigerate for 30 minutes or longer
Mix in your ice cream maker as directed.

Actually I used to use this particular recipe, or something similar to the one above, for vanilla ice cream, as I wasn't keen on using yolks. But now that Pavlovas are part of my repertoire, I have found that those egg whites can be pretty useful!!!

Thank you Dharm and Wendy for hosting the February Challenge. I had fun, but most importantly, I am so glad my ice cream maker is back on the saddle again. Nothing like the droning sound of the churning to warm the heartstrings, as the ice cream is being chilled.


thenomadGourmand said...

hehe...u muz b like a santa to all those kids!

Isabelle said...

c'est superbement réalisé :) Bravo !

Lisa said...

WOW, 4 kids plus fudgy cake and ice cream - I know that went fast! Loved your entry, the beautiful photos of the prep and final cake and the title of your blog! Kudos!

Life for Beginners said...

Hehe, I know what cake to order when one of my colleagues have a birthday. Gosh, I hope it's soon. ;)

Dharm said...

So glad you joined us for the Challenge this time FBB! Sounds like you had a lot of fun - and thats always good news!

L3 said...

FBB, your blog is wonderful and oh, so addictive! I live in SF but your blog is one of the few things i just have to have with my morning coffee :) thank you.

seamaiden said...

Great pictures and I like your comments added to the recipe. It looks delicious!


Kittynn said...

Great pictures - your cake looks delicious!

Chickiedoodle said...

Love your step-by-steps!

Claire said...

Looks great! I love those little lips just waiting for the anticipated bite of yummy ice cream...I think it speaks perfectly for this challenge!

Angela @ A Spoonful of Sugar said...

Fantastic step-by-step pictures and the finished cake and ice cream look awesome!

Lolah said...

A great job, and beautiful photos...

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Very well done! Your cake and ice cream look delicious!



Debyi said...

Your challenge turned out great! I too had to dig my ice cream maker out of the equipment morgue (garage for me). I agree that this challenge was totally worth every bite!

Anonymous said...

Great job! Beautiful!

Maggie said...

Great photographs!

mh said... that lil FBB?? He's got your chin...

that's one sinful creation...fudgy choc cake..

The Irreverent Cook said...

Wow, your cake looks so fab! Mine looked nothing like that gooey fudgy piece of heaven =D

Andreas said...

Great post. I really like the picture of the egg white dangling from the whisk.

Jenny said...

Nicely done, and I'm glad you could do another challenge!

CUMI & CIKI said...

Ooo.. so that's the photo i saw in the camera.. looks solid and chocolatey..! erm.. next time u have a challange, invite us over to eat it up la ;P

(u left too early.. u were deeply missed!)

fatboybakes said...

fellow DBs, thank you for all your kind comments.

ciki, haha, i had no problems with takers for the cake this time.
(aiyo, what to do, got family obligations...missed yall too).

andreas, yeah, a little bit of that egg white looked like snot!

mh, yup, that is little FBB, who of course has the FBB double chin!

L3 from SF, thank you!!! so honored! i need my daily coffee too!

dharm, thanks for hosting! you've rekindled my interest in making ice cream, now that the gelato maker is out of warm storage.

LFB, haha, its delicious to eat at home, but visually, well, for birthdays, they might expect something a little bit more made up. this looks very rustic...

TNG, ho ho ho! indeed i am!

ice tea: sugar high said...

You must be the favourites among the kids. Great looking cakes. I love your presentation too =)

Dee said...

Isn't it cool that Chef Wan's getting so much international attention? I'm definitely going to give the recipe a go (I'm a Daring Groupie; how sad!).

Glad you like the vanilla extract. You can use rum instead of vodka if you like. Yes, chocolate cakes can be frozen quite successfully for up to 2 months if tightly wrapped in foil and cling wrap. And yes, canned peaches also can for the other cake.

Hey, is that a KitchenAid?

fatboybakes said...

dee, nope, its a kenwood. i'd love a kitchen aid some day, when i have my own place and large kitchen. i am soo gonna try it the next time i can get hold of some fresh vanilla pods from BWY. (the cheap kind). try the recipe la. honestly its not the best Flourless Cake recipe, i reckon, but it's pretty dharm said, it really depends on the quality of choc. no escaping that...

ice tea, love ur blog!

Anonymous said...

Now who WOULDN'T tear up that cake and ice cream??? Both look irresistible!

Nic (KHKL) said...

"I'm sure you'd find treadmills, abs machines, dumbells, etc in the same place."

ohhh, i place my dumbells next to my bed. imagine how bad it musta felt when i touch my new toy aka dslr everyday. so cruel hor?

great cake yet again, fbb. time for me to head to kitchen and try something new again. yay!

Argus Lou said...

Waah, so nice! Respect, respect, FBB. :)

fatboybakes said...

argy, u didnt read the post before this ah? got quote you wor.

hairy, yalar, my dumbells are beneath my bed too. but i do touch them occasionally.

duodishes, chocolate cake and ice cream, whats not to love right!

Jo said...

Great job on your challenge, well done.

ladyironchef said...

wow dude, the valentino's look so simple, choc, butter and eggs only? i'm gonna try this. hope it works. heh! thanks :)

Fiona said...

Hi. I would would like to try baking Chocolate Valentino cake.
The ingredient below:
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
Is that 2 portion of butter?
One to melt with the chocolate and the other to line the baking tray?
1 stick = how many grams?
Thanks for the reply.

Fahrenheit 350° said...

Wow! I'm glad your blog starts with F so I found you! I love the last picture with the adorable child showing off his prize! It reminds me of... me!

Olivia said...

Great cale. It is like eating chocolate but in a cake. Will give it a try and link you to my blog.

Thanks for the wonderful recipe.