Sunday, November 11, 2012
… and come again.
To some, it brings weariness, others thanksgiving. Another milestone reached, but not necessarily celebrated with anticipation. In these current times, it's easy to forget. So quick to lose attention over mere achievements and not love what we have. Those things not yet attained and experiences yet to be felt always seem to have greater voices.
This Dragon year, as my other half reaches his third cycle, I look back and draw inspiration from the past.
Those hours spent over cups after cups of coffee at one of our favorite cafe. I brew the strongest shots of espresso I can muster from Smitten's Thumper blend. And as I fold orange juice together with coffee and cocoa, I here our conversations. Laughter of friends. Squealing of a baby. As I inhale the aromas and hovered around the oven, I recall why things are as they should be.
Fond memories, exciting future.
Despite wanting, I love all that I have now. Here's to making it baby!
The Generra is essentially a mocha with orange peel. As opposed to a regular chocolate cake, here the coffee is to be prominent. I brewed my 2 ounces of espresso using 46 grams of beans.
Cake and frosting recipe adapted from this Best Birthday Cake. Last photo in post by Bake, Anything.
Yield: One 3-layer 8-inch round cake.
Chocolate Sour Cream Frosting
- 4 cups/550 grams cake flour (not self-rising)
- 4 tablespoons/30 grams cocoa powder
- 1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon table salt
- 2 sticks/225 grams unsalted butter, softened
- 2 cups/400 grams sugar
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 4 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup buttermilk, well-shaken
- 120 milliliters concentrated brewed espresso, room temperature
- 1/4 cup fresh orange juice
- zest of one orange, finely chopped
Bake the cake layers: Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter the parchment. You can also use a cooking spray, either with just butter or butter and flour to simplify things.
- 15 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 1 1/4 teaspoons instant espresso (optional, but can be used to pick up the flavor of average chocolate)
- 2 1/4 cups sour cream, at room temperature
- 1/4 to 1/2 cup light corn syrup
- 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- zest of one orange, finely grated
Sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla extract and orange zest. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk, orange juice and brewed coffee until just combined (mixture will be curdled). Add the flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just incorporated.
Spread batter evenly into prepared cake pans, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles. Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes (mine was done at 25 minutes). Cool in pans on a rack for about 10 minutes, and then run a knife around the edge of pans to release. Invert onto wire racks and discard parchments, then cool completely, for about one hour.
Make the frosting: Combine the chocolate and espresso powder, if using, in the top of a double-boiler or in a heatproof bowl over just simmering water. Stir until the chocolate is melted. You can also melt the chocolate in a microwave for 30 seconds, stirring well, then heating in 15 second increments, stirring between each, until the chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and let chocolate cool until tepid. Whisk together the sour cream, 1/4 cup of the corn syrup and vanilla extract until combined.
Add the tepid chocolate slowly and stir quickly until the mixture is uniform. Taste for sweetness and if needed, add additional corn syrup in one tablespoon increments until the desired level of sweetness is achieved (I used Callebaut's dark chocolate and all the 1/2 cup of corn syrup). Let cool in the refrigerator until the frosting is a spreadable consistency, for about 20-30 minutes. Should the frosting become too thick or stiff, just leave it out on the counter until it softens again before frosting.
Assemble the cake: Prepare the cake board or serving platter with strips of baking paper around it. Dollop a small amount of frosting and place on top the first cake layer in the center. Spread over about 1/2 cup of frosting, then sprinkle on half the orange zest. Repeat with next cake layer and top with the final cake layer. Cover cake completely with frosting. Chill cake along with the rest of the frosting for about 15 minutes. Decorate cake as per desired - I piped on the borders, spread some orange peel in the middle and dropped on a few chocolate covered espresso beans, just to sum it all up.
Do ahead: Cake layers can be baked, cooled, cling wrapped and frozen ahead for up to 5 days. Frosting freezes well up to a week. Thaw to room temperature and whip to soften before using.
Life Is Great explores the incredible world of food and cooking. We hope to share with you our most delicious moments and inspirations.
“Just like becoming an expert in wine–you learn by drinking it, the best you can afford–you learn about great food by finding the best there is, whether simply or luxurious. The you savor it, analyze it, and discuss it with your companions, and you compare it with other experiences.”
Julia Child (Mastering the Art of French Cooking)
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