Tuesdays with Dorie: Chocolate Caramel Chestnut CakeNovember 17, 2009 at 1:00 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 45 Comments
Last week was kind of crappy. First, we suffered the latest disappointment in the mulit-year saga known as “R and Stephanie vs. the NYC real estate market.” I often wonder if owning a little place here just isn’t in the cards for us. Then, two of my favorite coworkers gave notice and will be leaving the bakery before the end of the month. This will certainly put a damper on my workplace socializing (the only reason I really even go to work, ‘cuz I barley get paid–ha!)…not to mention that thinking about going into the busy holiday season understaffed is giving me major agita. Losing myself in my kitchen for a bit to make this Chocolate Caramel Chestnut Cake for TWD was a nice distraction, and probably kept my head from exploding.
The first thing I noticed when I looked at the recipe is that this cake has several steps and requires a few unusual ingredients. I’m pretty lucky that I can easily find chestnuts and sweetened chestnut spread without a embarking on a major hunting excursion or having to pay for online shipping. In fact, at Sahadi’s I found cans of the fancypants Clement Faugier spread for about $5–not too shabby, and I should get more before they realize it’s a steal and jack up the price. I’m not super wild about chestnuts, but that spread is so yummy…I have quite a bit leftover, so I’m looking forward to using it in something else soon. Any suggestions?
I split up the work (and the dishes– did I tell you that I have the world’s tiniest sink?) over two days. On night one, I made both the caramel ganache and the glaze. On day two, I baked the cake and assembled the whole shebang. I made half a recipe of cake and glaze, and deciding to go easy on things (yeah, right), just a third of the ganache. To bake the cake, I spread the batter in a quarter-sheet pan (about 9″ x 13″), rather than baking it in a taller square pan. Not only does it cook in less than 20 minutes (instead of almost an hour), but there’s no sawing the cake into layers (I always seem to do a hack-job on that)…just cut the sheet into three strips of equal width and stack with the filling. Easy-peasy.
I looove sparkly things, and actually have a huge collection of luster dusts. After I dusted the whole chestnuts in gold, I couldn’t help but blow the stuff all over the top of the cake, too. Super shimmery. And super tasty. My favorite parts were the end pieces, because they had extra glaze! This is a luxurious (not to mention expensive) cake…seems kind of a shame to not to have made it for a special occasion, but it sure made a crappy week better.
For the recipe, see Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan(it’s also here on Epicurious). Read Second Dinner, where Katya posted it earlier this month, and don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll!