Sunday, May 9, 2010

ganache glazed chocolate cake

I truly love chocolate.

As a chocolate connoisseur, I hosted an intimate chocolate tasting last fall after collecting milk and dark chocolates from various International shoppes.  Featured samples included milk and dark chocolates from Belgium, Sweden, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Columbia, Venezuela and Bolivia.  It was a magical evening that spurred discussion with every sampling . . . and at the end of the night . . . each guest had chosen a favored chocolate and knew which county from which it originated.

It was no surprise that my favorite sampling was dark chocolate.   Although I cherish the smooth texture of pure milk chocolate, I savor the deep, rich complexities of dark.  That is why when I saw this cake prepared on television a few short weeks ago, I had to try it myself.

Ganache Glazed Chocolate Cake is simply . . . decadent.

Effortless in preparation, the ingredients yield a most deep, rich, and complex chocolate cake.  Your guests will surely be impressed with its simple, yet elegant appearance . . .  and be amazed with its smooth and intense flavor.

This sophisticated cake deserves to be displayed atop a beautiful pedestal platter and served on your most delicate dessert plates.  You'll understand why after your first heavenly bite.

Bon Appetit!

1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pan
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pan
1 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons for shipping cream (optional)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant coffee (optional)
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
Ganache Glaze ingredients
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
Fresh whipped cream ingredients (optional)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Butter an 8-inch round cake pan; line bottom with a round waxed or parchment paper.
Butter paper; dust bottom and sides of pan with cocoa, tapping out excess.

Sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt.
With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, cream butter and 1 cup sugar until light and fluffy
Add one egg at a time, beating well after each and scraping down sides of bowl as needed.
Beat in vanilla.
Dissolve instant coffee in teaspoon of water. Add to mixture and stir.
Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with the sour cream and beginning and ending with the flour.

Spread the batter in prepared pan. Tap firmly on countertop once to eliminate large air bubbles.

Place in oven and bake until cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes in pan, then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely, bottom side up.

Set rack with cake over a rimmed baking sheet.
Pour glaze over the cake, letting it run over the sides; spread gently with an offset spatula to coat.  Let set, about 30 minutes.

Preparation of Ganache Glaze
Place chocolate in a medium bowl. 
In a saucepan, bring cream to a boil.
Pour over chocolate; whisk until smooth.
Let cool until thick yet pourable, 4 to 5 minutes.

If desired, whip cream and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Serve cake with whipped cream and chocolate shavings. 

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