Sunday, September 25, 2011

Stay Classy: Trend Report and Chocolate Flourless Cake With Orange Cointreau Anglaise

Frozen Yogurt, cupcakes, bacon, designer doughnuts, lavender, cake pops... dessert trends have taken a fun yet frivolous tour through the mountains and valleys of our taste buds. I can not deny that I have enjoyed every one of these trends at one point in my life, and in fact still enjoy most, but I feel as if I have had a coming of age moment in my dessert journey: I want the classics back!

And not just any old classic desserts, classic desserts done extremely well! Like a phenomenal and full creme brulee, a perfectly risen souffle, and a flakey, well balanced Napoleon. No frills, just taking what has always worked and making it the best!

Luck for me, I believe with the huge swing dessert trends have taken to the left with unconventional ingredients (ie. bacon)and throw-away fashion food ideology, the pendulum is bound to swing far back to the right any day now. In fact, I can almost feel it in my bones. Classic desserts will be back in restaurants and bakeries alike with the new creative twists restricted tastefully and respectfully to sophisticated accompaniments.

I thought I would kick off this revived passion for perfected classics myself with my own birthday cake. (Yes, I made my own birthday cake, does that make me a loser?) So I decided to make one of my favorite classic desserts, Chocolate Flourless Cake with the addition of an Orange Cointreau Anglaise. 

The trick to making this dessert, and any classic dessert, really delicious is quality ingredients and care. Therefore, I choose high quality bittersweet chocolate for my cake and took much heart and attention in its preparation. 

It was so delicious. The rich, full body of the cake balanced nicely with the refreshing citrusy light anglaise. Perfect for a classy 26 year old birthday girl like me ;) And frankly, it felt good to eat something not overly complicated for once. It didn't matter that Chocolate Flourless Cake had been around the block 3 or 400 times, because when it's done top tier it delights your palate like no double bacon cardamom mini donut ever could.

So give it a try and stay classy.

Chocolate Orbit Cake
via Room for Dessert by David Lebovitz
makes one 9" cake

1/2 pound butter, in small chunks
12 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
6 eggs

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2. Line the bottom of a 9" round pan with parchment paper and butter the bottom and sides.

3. Combine the butter and chocolate in a double boiler.  Cook until melted.

4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the sugar and the eggs.

5. Whisk in the melted chocolate to the sugar and eggs.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan, and place this cake pan into a water bath, with warm water reaching about half-way up the sides. 

7. Cover tightly with foil.

8. Bake in the oven for 1 hour and 15 minutes, until the cake appears set and your finger comes away clean when you touch the center. Check it at 45 min, it could bake quicker like mine.

9. Remove from oven and water bath and let cool completely.

Orange Crème Anglaise
Makes 2 cups 

2 cups (500 ml) whole milk
7 tablespoons (85 gr) sugar
pinch of salt
3 medium oranges, organic or unsprayed
6 large egg yolks
Additional orange zest

1. Pour the milk into a medium saucepan and add the sugar and salt.

2. Grate the zest of the oranges directly into the milk. Warm gently, then remove from heat, cover, and let steep for one hour.

3. When ready to cook the custard, make an ice bath by putting ice cubes and a small amount of cold water into a large bowl and resting a smaller metal or glass bowl in the ice. Set a fine mesh strainer over the top.

4. Whisk the yolks in a separate small bowl.

5. Gently rewarm the milk, then slowly pour it into the egg yolks, whisking constantly as you pour. Scrape the mixture back into the saucepan and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula, until the custard begins to thicken and coats the spatula.

6. Immediately strain the custard into the bowl set over ice, pressing the zest in the strainer to extract as much flavor as possible, then discard.

7. Stir the custard until cool. When the crème anglaise is cooling, grate a few swipes of fresh orange zest into the custard, which looks nice and adds a touch more orange flavor. If you’d like, add a spoonful of orange-flavored liqueur, such as Cointreau or Grand Marnier, or a few drops of orange extract, to augment the flavor. Serve cold pooled under the cake.

1 comment:

  1. Looks like an amazing cake! Happy Birthday! Nothing wrong with making your own cake :) And I agree with you about the classics, the trends are fun, but those classic confections are due for a comeback... :)