Chocolate Cuddle Cake

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Complex

  • Serves

    12 to 14

Appears in

The Baking Bible

By Rose Levy Beranbaum

Published 2014

  • About
Oven Temperature 350°F/175°C
Baking Time 40 to 50 minutes

This is a chocolate chiffon cake with an amazingly delicate texture. It evolved from one of my favorite cakes, The Renée Fleming Golden Chiffon. Inspired to make a chocolate version one day when walking along the Hudson River, I rushed home to try it at once. The fabulous caramel whipped cream, which has just a hint of chocolate, holds at room temperature for up to six hours.

Plan Ahead The cake can be made 1 day ahead before composing. Make the ganache at least 3 hours ahead.

Ingredients

Batter

VOLUME WEIGHT
unsweetened (alkalized) cocoa powder cup (sifted before measuring) 1.8 ounces 50 grams
boiling water ½ cup (118 ml) 4.2 ounces 118 grams
canola or safflower oil, at room temperature ¼ cup (59 ml) 1.9 ounces 54 grams
4 (to 6) large eggs, separated, plus about 1 white, at room temperature
yolks ¼ cup plus 2 teaspoons (69 ml) 5.3 ounces 74 grams
whites (about 3) ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (148 ml) 2.6 ounces 150 grams
pure vanilla extract 1 teaspoon (5 ml) . .
unbleached all-purpose flour (see Note) 1 cup (sifted into the cup and leveled off) 4 ounces 114 grams
superfine sugar cups, divided 8.8 ounces 250 grams
baking powder teaspoons . 5.6 grams
fine sea salt ¼ teaspoon . 1.5 grams
cream of tartar ½ plus teaspoon . 1.9 grams

Special Equipment

One 9 by 3 inch springform pan (the pan must not be less than 2¾ inches high), only the sides coated with shortening, encircled with 2 cake strips overlapped to cover the sides completely. Cut a 33 by 3 inch band of parchment. Wrap and press it against the inside wall of the pan. Use some extra shortening to coat the overlapping end to hold it in place (if the bottom of the springform pan has a lip, the parchment may extend about ¼ inch above the pan, which is fine) | A flat bottom rose nail (used for cake decorating) 2½ inches long (minimum) | A wire rack, lightly coated with nonstick cooking spray, elevated about 4 inches or higher above the work surface by setting it on top of 3 or 4 cans, coffee mugs, or glasses of equal height | Optional: a small pastry bag fitted with a ½ inch open star pastry tube

Method

Preheat the Oven

Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C (325°F/160°C if using a dark pan).

Mix the Cocoa and Liquid Ingredients

In a 2 cup or larger glass measure with a spout, whisk together the cocoa and boiling water. Whisk in the oil and let the mixture cool until no longer warm to the touch. Whisk in the egg yolks and vanilla.

Make the Batter

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, mix the flour, ¾ cup/5.3 ounces/150 grams of the sugar, the baking powder, and salt on low speed for 30 seconds. Make a well in the center. Add the cocoa mixture to the well and beat on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Raise the speed to medium-high and beat until very thick, about 1½ minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary.

If you don’t have a second mixer bowl, scrape this mixture into a large bowl and thoroughly wash, rinse, and dry the mixer bowl and whisk beater to remove any trace of oil.

Beat the Egg Whites into a Stiff Meringue

Sift the remaining sugar (½ cup/3.5 ounces/100 grams) onto a piece of parchment.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk beater, beat the egg whites and cream of tartar on medium-low speed until foamy. Gradually raise the speed to medium-high and beat until soft peaks form when the beater is raised. Use the parchment to pour the remaining sugar in a steady stream into the meringue. Continue beating until glossy and stiff peaks form when the beater is raised, about 1 minute.

Add the Meringue to the Batter

Using a large balloon wire whisk, slotted skimmer, or large silicone spatula, gently fold the meringue into the batter in three parts, folding until partially blended in between and then folding until completely incorporated after the last addition. If using the whisk, you will need to shake out the meringue that gathers in the center as you fold.

Using a silicone spatula, scrape the batter into the pan. Run a small offset spatula in circles through the batter to prevent air pockets and smooth the surface. Insert the rose nail, base side down, into the center of the batter so that it sits on the bottom of the pan. (The batter should fill a 3 inch high pan half full.)

Bake the Cake

Bake for 40 to 50 minutes. The cake will dome about 1 inch above the top of the pan and split in the center and a little at the sides. Avoid opening the oven door before the minimum baking time because the fragile cake could fall. Watch carefully. When the cake lowers slightly and a wooden skewer inserted near the center into the moist split comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven.

Cool and Unmold the Cake

Let the cake sit on a heatproof counter or an uncoated wire rack for about 1 minute, just until the center is no longer domed. Immediately set the coated wire rack on top of the cake and invert the cake and rack onto the prepared supports. Let it cool for about 1½ hours, or until the outside of the pan is cool to the touch.

Remove the cake strips and the sides of the springform pan. The parchment will be wrinkled. Slide a thin bladed knife or long metal spatula between the cake and the bottom of the pan, pressing firmly against the bottom of the pan to release the bottom of the cake. If the bottom of the pan has a lip, first use a small offset spatula to go under the edges. Invert the cake and lift off the pan bottom. Remove the rose nail and reinvert the cake onto a serving plate. Use a damp sponge or dish towel to moisten the parchment. Wait for 1 minute and then carefully peel off the parchment strip.

Make the Ganache

See recipe.

Make the Caramel

See recipe.

Compose the Cake

Slide a few wide strips of parchment under the cake to keep the rim of the plate clean. Frost the sides with the ganache, bringing it up a little higher than the top to create a border to contain the caramel whipped cream. Alternatively, bring the ganache just to the top, scrape the remaining ganache into the pastry bag, and then pipe half shells around the edges to create a border.

Lightly whisk the caramel whipped cream to restore the smooth texture, and spoon dollops of it on top of the cake. Use a small metal spatula to create opulent swirls. The whipped cream will keep at cool room temperature for up to 6 hours. If desired, decorate with chocolate curls. Slowly slide the parchment strips out from under the cake before serving.

Store

(Without the whipped cream) airtight: room temperature, 2 days; refrigerated, 5 days; frozen, 2 months.

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