Sunday, September 26, 2010

HCB - ChocolateTomato Cake with Mystery Ganache

This week's recipe for the Heavenly Cake Bakers, Chocolate Tomato Cake with Mystery Ganache, brought about lots of hesitation. Yes, you read the title correctly. There's tomato soup in this week's cake and frosting. Rose devised a chocolate cake recipe as well as a frosting recipe that incorporated canned Campbell's condensed tomato soup. Knowing Rose, this cake couldn't possibly be a stinker, so I went ahead and made it (although I did make just half the recipe). The batter came together quickly, using the usual two-stage mixing method. The ganache, which had some tomato soup in it as well, was a breeze too. Although, I ran out of patience after waiting 3 hours and it still wasn't at frosting consistency. So at 11pm, I gave up and did what I've done before which is to make a whipped ganache instead. You can find instructions for that in a previous post. I decided to spruce the cake up a little so I adorned the top with a chocolate drizzle and some homemade cocoa truffles.

There it is in full glory :o)


I served this cake at a dinner party tonight and it was a big hit. Everybody loved how chocolatey it was. Although I didn't tell them about the tomato, they didn't taste anything "funny". I was going to tell them afterwards, but I forgot. Will let them know when I see them again.

For step-by-step pictures and my final thoughts and tips, please continue reading.

Since I cut the recipe in half, I used two 6" pans. The batter was thick and satiny. It required a spatula to smooth it out.


Before and after smoothing

Because I wanted to make sure this cake tasted good, I made a couple of samples for us to try on Saturday, before serving them to our guests on Sunday.
My two Quality Control samples


I covered them both with the ganache, which was still runny at the time. I like how shiny the ganache is.

Quality Control sample #1

Quality Control sample #2


I frosted the cake with the whipped ganache on Saturday night.

The frosting is done. After a good night's rest, the project continued.


On Sunday afternoon, I decorated the cake with the Pirouette cookies. After I was half way done, I realized I didn't have enough cookies. If I had done my math, I would have realized that the circumference of a 6" pan is not half of that of a 9" pan (it's more like 2/3s). With only 2 hours before my guests' arrival and other things to do, I didn't have time to go to the store. My husband had just started shaving at this point, when I stormed into the bathroom to tell him about my HUGE problem (haha. Oh boy, can I exaggerate, or what? It's a good thing I can laugh about it now). He was the voice of reason and said "just space them out more". What a great idea! As I started pulling the cookies off, the ganache frosting came off with it. Uh oh. Don't panic. I "spackled" the gaps with some leftover ganache but it didn't look pretty. And now that I have more space between cookies, those imperfections will show. Hmmm... what to do? Hot water! I carefully dipped my spatula in hot water and dried it, and then smoothed out the imperfections. YES!!! It worked. I even had some cookies left in the end. I guess I could have arranged them closer together but I wasn't going to remove all those cookies again!

My friend said it looked like the cake was imprisoned, haha!


The cocoa truffles were made using a mixture of chocolate cream cheese frosting and chocolate cake scraps, from a previous cake project. I simply rolled them between the palms of my hands and rolled them in cocoa.


Ta-da. A slice of Chocolate Tomato Cake with (not-so-mystery-anymore) Ganache!

Final thoughts/tips:
  • Although the cake was a bit on the chocolatey side for my husband, he liked it. He couldn't detect any tomato in it (I'm sure he would have if I had told him beforehand, haha). He gave it an 8.5 out of 10 rating, citing his biggest criticism was that the cake was too crumbly. I noticed it was crumbly too, but I really enjoyed the velvety texture once the cake enters your mouth. It just melts. The cake wasn't overly sweet, which is a big plus in my book.
  • For the ganache I used half 58% Ghirardelli chocolate and half semi-sweet chocolate. It was the perfect balance for me. The tomato soup in it must have also added some sweetness to it.
  • I substituted 1 oz of oil for 1 oz of butter to keep the cake moist.
  • The top of the cookies were adorned with leftover Lacquer Glaze I had in my freezer.
  • Everyone had a slice and one of my friends had seconds. All in all, I'd say this cake was a big hit!

21 comments:

  1. love how you decorated the cake..with the different heights of the cookie!

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  2. ב''ה

    I agree that the cake had a nice texture. I was glad to have your oil substitution tip this time.

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  3. It turned out great, Hanaa! Very chic looking. I've got to buy six inch pans. I'm surprised how much butter this recipe calls for.

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  4. What a pretty cake! And there's tomato in it? wow, i can't even tell!

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  5. I have to agree, the spacing out suggestion from your Hubby worked!

    I pass this cake by this weekend. But after ready most of the good feedback.. I may crumble and bake it after all. We have eaten our sweets for the week already and Tom is going into withdrawal mode

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  6. O.M.G! I'm very impressed about your cake! It's so well decorated! :) But I'm very surprised to know that there are tomato soup in it. This is the first time I see a cake like this!

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  7. A real showstopper of a cake! Wish I saw this earlier this week; I could have baked it for my sons party.
    Great job!

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  8. That is one stunning cake! Absolutely beautiful.

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  9. I laughed over the comment of your cake being imprisoned. I had a friend who thought the candles looked more like torches and what a perfect, tough looking cake for a boy. Not really what I was going for but okay, I'll take it.

    You remind me of myself. I could so see myself running into the bathroom while hubby was shaving, hoping he just "might" suggest running to the store for me; he is my voice of reason too. I am glad you added it because I always have fun picturing how the whole decorating of the cake went down . . . (been around my step-son and his lingo, sorry). I really love your cake and the cake is only 6"! Awesome! The truffles I want information on when you have time. Please tell me if they are as easy as what I read here. I have left over everything in the freezer and would like to use some of it up in decorations. HUGS, Shandy

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  10. Looks lovely and delicious. I had to skip this one but, you've convinced me that I should try it.

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  11. What a gorgeous cake! Husbands are such a great voice of reason (or do they just want to avoid an emergency run to the store...I can't decide). Your dinner guests must get so excited to come to your house, they just know they're going to get a great meal and a cake made with tomato and chocolate. Think of the health benefits! :-)

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  12. Oh my god! I'm very impressed! Tomates cerises et Basilic. Ciao!

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  13. I wish I had neighbors to share with. My only neighbors are the cookies haters and I just won't go there =).

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  14. That is one beautiful cake, Hanaa! Rose is definitely trustworthy, but tomato soup seems like such a strange ingredient.

    Oh, there have been plenty of HUGE baking problems in my household, too! Your husband came up with a great solution.

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  15. What a beautifully decorated cake. It looks just gorgeous!

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  16. une belle texture ton gâteau est magnifique digne d'un chef
    bonne journée

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  17. I didn't know you loved mushrooms. Larry and I both adore mushrooms of all types, so far, and Chantrelles seem to be our favorite. The soup is full of flavor with the mushroom stock being rich and earthy. Thank you for your compliments on the gourgeres too. I love how Dorie says to freeze the dough after baking spoon size portions so we can just bake them as we go.

    I am hoping you can check the book out soon and see what all the hub-bub is about =). Hugs, Shandy

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  18. I didn't know you loved mushrooms. Larry and I both adore mushrooms of all types, so far, and Chantrelles seem to be our favorite. The soup is full of flavor with the mushroom stock being rich and earthy. Thank you for your compliments on the gourgeres too. I love how Dorie says to freeze the dough after baking spoon size portions so we can just bake them as we go.

    I am hoping you can check the book out soon and see what all the hub-bub is about =). Hugs, Shandy

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  19. Hanna, Your cake is beautifully presented. Really a great job. I will have to do a make-up in the future with this group.

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  20. You really intrigued me with this cake. so much so that I checked the book out of the library so I could try it out. BUT, being the health freak that I am, I want to try and substitute the canned soup with real tomatoes... I didn't look at a can of soup yet to see the ingredients, but I wanted to ask you what your thoughts were about that. do you think it would work to just use peeled and seeded tomato puree instead of soup and add some salt? I want to try the same with the ganache.

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