October 20, 2010

The Maine Ingredient: Hectic times call for quick meal options

By ANNE MAHLE

(Continued from page 1)

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Finishing touch: German chocolate cake gets a coating of toasted pecans.

Elizabeth Poisson

German chocolate actually has less cacao, which gives chocolate its distinctive flavor, than semisweet or bittersweet at 46 percent, 54 percent and 67 percent, respectively. This is the reason that the cakes are lighter in color and chocolate flavor. (And also why the layer of ganache makes this cake so much better.)

CAKE:

4 ounces German chocolate, 4 squares, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces or smaller

1/2 cup fresh, hot coffee

2 1/4 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup unsalted butter, plus a little more for the pan

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans. In a small bowl, combine the chocolate and coffee, and cover. Stir after 5 minutes to make sure the chocolate has melted. Cool. Cream the butter and sugar together and then add the eggs one at a time. Add the cooled chocolate. Sift the flour over the creamed mixture, alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla. Mix until just combined. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean when inserted into the center of the cake. Let cool in the pan.

GANACHE:

1/2 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoons light corn syrup

8 ounces German or bittersweet chocolate, 8 squares, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces or smaller

In a small saucepan, bring the cream, butter and syrup to a strong simmer. Add the chocolate and cover for 5 minutes. Stir to be sure the chocolate has fully melted. Then cool to a point where it will set on the cake, but is still spreadable.

COCONUT FROSTING:

1 12-ounce can evaporated milk

1 cup sugar

3 egg yolks

1/2 cup butter, one stick

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup toasted pecans

Place all ingredients in the top of a double boiler and then over the lower pan filled with water at a simmer. Stir occasionally until the mixture thickens considerably. Cool in the refrigerator until it will spread but set well on the cake.

ASSEMBLE THE CAKE:

Place a dollop of ganache on a flat, round platter or upturned round baking dish. (This is if you don't have a cake turntable.) Flip one of the cakes top-side down into the middle of the platter. Spread half of the ganache and then repeat with the second cake, again top-side down. Spread the coconut frosting on the top and sides of the cake. With your hands, press the pecans into the sides of the cake, picking up what doesn't stick and repeating until the entire side is covered.

Serves 12 to 16.

 

Anne Mahle of Rockland is the author of "At Home, At Sea," a recipe book about her experiences cooking aboard the family's windjammer. She can be reached at: chefannie@mainewindjammer.com

 

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