Daring Bakers in February: Flourless Chocolate Cake & Fresh Mint Ice CreamFebruary 28, 2009 at 2:02 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, daring bakers, groups, ice creams & frozen, sweet things | 40 Comments
I skipped out on last month’s Daring Bakers’ Challenge, so I wasn’t about to miss this one– especially since our hosts Wendy at wmpesblog and Dharm at Dad – Baker and Chef chose something exceptionally decadent. Actually, they chose two exceptionally decadent things: a flourless chocolate cake (called “Chocolate Valentino”) and homemade ice cream.
It may surprise you that a cake worthy of a restaurant plate has just three ingredients: chocolate, butter and eggs. Since chocolate is the star of the show here, use the best stuff you can. The recipe calls for semisweet chocolate, but I only had bittersweet so I threw a couple tablespoons of sugar into the meringue component. This sweetened it up a bit and also made the meringue more stable. I should also note that making the cake is just as easy as remembering the three ingredients! Melt the butter and chocolate together, add in the yolks, whip the whites to a meringue, fold them in, and bake. Keep a close eye on the cake in the oven, as mine baked quickly…but then again, I did just make a half recipe. This cake is so dense and chocolatey– it’s a really special dessert, but not at all hard to make.
To tell the truth, I think a rich cake like this pairs better with a light whipped cream than it does with an equally rich ice cream. But ice cream was part of the challenge, and it is really one of my favorite things to make. We were given the option of making either a traditional custard-based ice cream or an eggless Philadelphia-style one. I happened to have several yolks leftover from the coconut cake I had made a few days before, so that meant a French-style ice cream for me. I also had some fresh mint in the fridge…since I love the combination of chocolate and mint, I thought that would be a good way to go.
I have made a lot of ice cream at home (incidentally, I use the KitchenAid ice cream attachment and have had good results with it), and something I’ve learned is that if you start with a good vanilla ice cream recipe as your base, you can easily modify it for other flavors. For my mint ice cream, I used the custard-based classic vanilla recipe provided by Dharm, and rather than steeping the milk with a vanilla bean, I steeped it with a couple handfuls of fresh mint leaves. I also increased the sugar by two tablespoons, but this was just a matter of personal taste. Getting the mint flavor right can be a little tricky. The more mint you use, and the longer you infuse it, the more herbal the ice cream will be. That may sound obvious, but I’ve made several batches in the past that have tasted almost grassy. I was going for a subtler flavor here so I was careful when adding the mint, and made sure to taste the milk after it had steeped.
The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE’s blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.