|Chocolate Layer Cake with Whipped Caramel Ganache|
|Plum-Blueberry Upside Down Torte|
How did we like these cakes? Please continue reading. I also have step-by-step pictures.
I cut the recipe in half because we still have tons of State Fair goodies left (all frozen for now). This week's chocolate cake is one of the chocolatiest cakes I've ever had. Each bite unapologetically delivers a huge chocolate punch while the ganache frosting gives it a subtle caramel undertone.
Instead of plain ganache, I made whipped caramel ganache. This gives the ganache more volume and a lighter texture (as well as a lighter color). Making whipped ganache is also much faster and less time consuming than regular ganache frosting. Just pour the warm ganache in a bowl. Put the bowl in ice water, stirring often for about 5 minutes to cool the mixture a bit. Then mix it with a hand mixer until the ganache has thickened, taking care not to overbeat it otherwise it becomes grainy. Use it immediately.
First, I made the caramel. Since I was making half the recipe, I skipped using the thermometer and just eyeballed the "amber" stage.
|The caramel is ready to be mixed with very hot cream. Once the hardened caramel was dissolved, I added butter and 58% Ghirardelli chocolate into the hot caramel and whisked it until the chocolate dissolved, sans food processor :o)|
I poured the (fairly runny) chocolate batter into a 6" pan, wrapped with cake strips.
|Ready for the oven|
The cake took about 35 minutes in the oven. The cake strips kept the cake from doming, making it nice and level.
|Just out of the oven, nice and level which makes for easy frosting|
After it was frosted, it was time to sample it. The first bite was pretty intense (in a good way). The cake was tender and moist (almost fudge-like), and the ganache was rich, chocolatey, smooth and creamy with a very subtle hint of caramel. I think the chocolate overpowered the caramel undertone a bit. My husband said "it's good but it's a little too strong". Let me translate: it's too chocolatey and not sweet enough! :o)
|A slice of intense chocolate goodness|
The Plum-Blueberry Upside Down Torte was a big hit. I served it when we had visitors over from out of town (and Europe). Since there were going to be kids too, I also made brownies, thinking that the kids wouldn't like the fruity cake. Boy, was I wrong. They all wanted a piece of each dessert and then came back for seconds (and they didn't ask for more brownies, ha ha).
|I only used a handful of blueberries|
The sweet-and-tart plums worked really well against the sweet caramel and the juicy blueberries. I had no issues releasing the cake from the pan. The cake was moist and vanilla-ey. I think I prefer the cake that came with the Pineapple Upside Down Cake but this one was pretty good too.
|See how the cake soaked up some of the fruit juices? Delicious!|
- Both cakes were fun to make and a joy to eat, even though the Chocolate Layer Cake was a bit too much chocolate for my husband. He still gave it a 8.5 out of 10. I forgot to ask him to rate the Plum Torte but I know he liked it a lot.
- When making caramel, always spray the inside of your pan with non-stick spray. This prevents sugar from crystallizing.
- My adapted caramel ganache: 1/2 cup sugar, 1.5 Tbsp water, 3/4 cup cream, dab of butter, splash of vanilla, 3 oz of 58% Ghirardelli chocolate.
- To make whipped ganache: place warm ganache in a bowl. Put the bowl in a bigger bowl filled with ice water. Stir frequently until the ganache has cooled a bit (about 5 minutes). With a hand mixer, whip until the ganache has thickened. Avoid overbeating otherwise the ganache becomes grainy. Use right away.