1. Bake the chocolate cake in an ungreased rectangular mould (4 ins. by 15 1/2 ins. by 3ins.)
2. Cut the cake horizontally into 1/4-in. slices. Soak in warm syrup, and drain before assembling the cake.
3. To assemble the cake, alternate orange marmalade and ganache between layers of soaked cake.
4. Place the top slice of the cake onto the last layer of ganache.
5. Mask the sides of the assembled cake with the ganache. With a textured scraper, comb lines into the ganache before it sets.
6. Garnish the finished cake with spices, candied orange peel and cocoa pods.
French Queen Marie Antoinette is famous for saying "let them eat cake." She was referring to the leftover scraps of baked products that were collected at the end of the day and divvied up between beggars and peasants who had no bread to eat.
Today, when we choose to eat cake, we have a host of options. The flavor that always rises to the top, however, is the basic chocolate cake. It is customarily moist and tender with a rich, velvety center.
With a multitude of formulas, you can offer many varieties of this classic cake. This chocolate spice cake represents a resurgence of cake made with chocolate sponge, chocolate ganache and an orange gelée. It offers customers that "something chocolate" their taste buds are craving. In this version, the cake is soaked with a caramel spice syrup, ideal for winter, but the syrup can be altered to fit any time of year.
Chocolate cake is always a crowd pleaser at birthday parties, weddings, sporting events and even Sunday dinners. This cake is easily prepared and has a long shelf life, making it an excellent addition to your bakery. Sell the cake whole to serve 10 to 12 people, or slice it into single portions.
It freezes exceptionally well. As the formula indicates, this cake is both easy and efficient to produce, and has a long shelf life–essential characteristics in the world of modern baking.
Chocolate spice cake
|Egg yolks, fresh||130 g||4.6|
|Egg whites, aged||195 g||6.9|
|Fleur de sel, finely ground||1 g||0.03|
|Egg white powder||4 g||0.1|
|Red food coloring, as needed|
|Cake flour, sifted||135 g||4.8|
|Cocoa powder, sifted||35 g||1.2|
|Total appr. wt.||689 g||1||8.3|
Method: Whip the egg yolks with 2.8 ozs. (80 g) of the sugar until it reaches ribbon stage. Whip the egg whites with the salt, egg white powder, remaining sugar and food coloring. Fold half of the egg whites in the egg yolks, and fold in the sifted flour and cocoa powder. Finally, fold in the remaining egg whites. Pour into a 15-in. by 4-in. rectangle frame. Bake in a 360°F (182°C) oven, vent closed for about 10 minutes. Then, bake with the vent open for another 2 to 3 minutes. Cool on a rack lined with paper toweling, and wrap when cool. Before soaking the cake in the orange and spice syrup, slice the cake horizontally into 1⁄4-in. thick slices.
Caramel orange and spice soaking syrup
|Hot water||300 g||10.6|
|Orange juice||500 g||1||1.6|
|Cardamom seeds, as needed|
|Cinnamon sticks, as needed|
|Star anis, as needed|
|Mexican vanilla beans, as needed|
|Gelatin solution||70 g|
|Total appr. wt.||1.17 kg||2||9.3|
Method: Caramelize the sugar, then stop the cooking with the hot water. Add the orange juice and spices, and cook to a light syrup consistency. The mixture will boil down to 800 g. Add the gelatin solution, cover and let rest overnight. The next day, warm the syrup and strain. Soak the room temperature cake slices in 85°F (30°C ) syrup. Drain the cake slices on racks, and refrigerate until cold.
|Orange peels, fresh, organic||100 g||3.5|
|Cold water||1 kg||2||3.3|
|Sea salt||10 g||0.4|
|Orange juice, freshly squeezed||60 g||2.1|
|Orange slices||200 g||7|
|Pectin NH||4 g||0.14|
|Fleur de sel, freshly ground||1 g||0.03|
|Total appr. wt.||1.625 kg||3||9.2|
Method: Slice the orange peels very thin, cover with water and sea salt, and boil the peels until tender. Strain, rinse, and add the orange juice, orange slices, 1.4 ozs. (40 g) of sugar and pectin. Cook the mixture for a couple minutes on low heat. Add the remaining sugar and fleur de sel, and cook the marmalade. Let rest overnight in the refrigerator. Spread the marmalade on altering layers of soaked chocolate sponge.
Chef John Kraus, pastry chef and instructor at The French Pastry School at City Colleges of Chicago, teaches his students the art of pastry that includes advanced bread techniques. In 2005 and 2006, Chef Kraus was named one of the Top Ten Pastry Chefs in the United States by a national pastry magazine. For more information on The French Pastry School, visit www.frenchpastryschool.com.