Tuesdays with Dorie: Black-and-White-Chocolate Cake

February 5, 2008 at 6:32 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, layer cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 42 Comments

black-and-white-chocolate cake

Like probably a lot of you, I have a bookshelf dedicated to my cookbooks.  I read them, I admire them, I love and cherish them…but apart from a couple of standards, I don’t really use them that often.  Over the holidays, I finally got Dorie Greenspan’s Baking: From My Home to Yours.  I felt like the last person on Earth to get it…I wondered if anyone noticed the big “L” stamped on my forehead for the past year!  From what I’ve heard, it’s a fabulous book, so I would also be a total loser if I didn’t put it to use.  But I need a little peer pressure sometimes, so help cattle prod me, I just joined a really great group called Tuesdays with Dorie!  The brainchild of Laurie from quirky cupcake, TWD makes one recipe a week out of Baking from My Home to Yours.  It’ll take awhile, but we hope to get through the whole thing!  This means that at some point I will also need to get around to baking the first five recipes that I missed out on.  I’m hoping none of this is too ambitious on my part…

For my first TWD, the group is making Dorie’s Black-and-White-Chocolate Cake, a recipe chosen by April of Abbey Sweets.  It’s a vanilla buttermilk cake, layered with dark chocolate pastry cream and white chocolate whipped cream.  Then the whole thing gets frosted with more white chocolate whipped cream.  I love me some cake, so I was pretty psyched to get this one going.

OK, if you have the book and look on page 260, you’ll probably notice that my cake doesn’t look a whole lot like Dorie’s from the outside.  In fact, it looks like crap.  I had some big-time filling and frosting issues…it was highly upsetting, and I almost didn’t want to post a photo.  I found the white chocolate whipped cream too soft to spread on the side of the cake (I couldn’t whip it anymore, because it was beginning to look separated, and I actually had to make it twice because the first time it really did curdle and wouldn’t come back together no matter how I tried to save it).  It just slid right off and mucked up the cake plate…in hindsight, I should have realized that would happen and just iced the top, leaving the side exposed for an old-fashioned look.  Since the dark chocolate pastry cream was oozing out between the layers anyway, I put some that I had leftover into the freezer for half and hour and tried to use it to frost the side instead.  Because of it’s consistency, I couldn’t get a nice frost with that either (that’s why no one frosts with pastry cream!), but had to settle for more of a thin smear…grrrrr.  I had made some tempered chocolate curls before beginning this whole process, so I hoped they would distract the eye from my frosting failures.

black-and-white-chocolate cake

Thank goodness that the inside of my cake looks more or less normal.  Oh, by the way, I halved the recipe in the book so I’d just have a six-inch cake.  I have have to say, the dark chocolate cream was damn good…a perfect chocolate pastry cream.  The cake itself was a little dense, I thought, but this could very well be due to differences in flour (I have had a couple of baked goods come out funky using my US books and Aussie flour).

Because of the problems I had, I’m really interested to see how my fellow TWD members did with this recipe.  I’m going over to the Tuesdays with Dorie blog that Laurie set up to see the list of TWD bakers and visit their sites.  So should you!  And if you want to try your hand at the cake, take a look here on Abbey Sweets for the recipe.


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  1. Steph, your frosting job looks absolutely exquisite! I would have never guessed that you had problems – it looks perfect! I too had trouble with whipping my cream and my post includes a link to video from Epicurious that demonstrates the different stages of whipped cream. Maybe it would help you as it did me!

    But wow, your cake looks just fabulous! Awesome job 🙂

  2. “In fact, it looks like crap.”
    Whatever. It looks beautiful! And delicious. You’re making me hungry for some cake! 😀

  3. The same thing happened to me when I made my boyfriends birthday cake. Imagine my horror! I think you made a great recovery though! The cake looks delicious and your presentation is gorgeous!

  4. I dont know what you were worried about. Your cake is gorgeous! I love the chocolate on top. Its stunning!

    Im still havent assembled mine. Everything is done, just need to put it together now.

    Well done Steph!

  5. What a beautiful cake!

  6. Ok, so you’re not the LAST person on earth to get Dorie Greenspan’s cookbook…..that would be me! I’ve got it on my wish list, and I’m dropping hints left and right to my husband that it would be a good Valentine’s gift. I’ve been admiring the Tuesdays with Dorie baking group from afar, and as soon as I can get my hands on that cookbook, I’d love to join. Your cake looks really amazing to me, and those chocolate curls on top are fantastic.

  7. i still don’t have my copy of Dorie! i was disappointed not to get it for xmas… but the bday is in 3 months, if i don’t cave before then… so you’re not the last one to get your copy!

    it looks beautiful! And without reading the text, couldn’t really tell that you had so much trouble!

  8. It looks beautiful! If you didn’t point it out, I doubt anyone would notice.

  9. I’ve never seen Dorie’s black and white chocolate cake, but I have to say your rendition of it is simply breathtaking!

  10. Pfffft! Who cares about Dorrie’s? Your curls are spectacular, and the cake looks beautiful anyway!

  11. I think that your cake is beautiful!! I love the contrast of the colors and your chocolate curls!

  12. wow! i don’t know what you are talking about, because your cake looks amazing! i had similar problems w/the white cream, but i think that was due to refrigeration issues. great job and glad to have you join us 🙂 (btw – i only got my book this christmas, too!)

  13. Your cake looks lovely. I adore the dramatic chocolate curls on top! Good job.

  14. Wow, and that is all I have to say about that!(alias Forest Gump). Beautiful cake, beautiful picture and definitely a beautiful blog, thank you.


  15. Glad you joined us!

    Could your cake look any more perfect?

  16. Your cake looks great! Such a beautiful presentation!

  17. If that looks like crap I am going to have to stop posting pictures of my food altogether… certainly my baking. It looks great!

  18. Wow! It’s gorgeous! I’ll definitely have to try this recipe when I have some free time.

  19. Beautiful cake! I’ve had this caked book marked since the day I received the book. The cake is just stunning! 🙂

  20. Yours was the first cake that I saw posted for this TWD, and I was so intimidated! Your cake is a piece of art, without argument.

  21. Oh my goodness, I think your cake looks stunning! I love the idea of halving the recipe to make a smaller cake. I will definitely use that idea in the future. Great job!

  22. I love how you cut the recipe in half and made a 6 in. Think I’ll try that! But double the chocolate cream, I hear its the best!

  23. Ok I thought my cake was hysterically pathetic before, now it’s just pathetic. You cake is perfect!

  24. That is a gorgeous cake! If you want to see crap, head over to my version 😀

  25. If you think that looks like crap, you should see mine… I’m envious of the chocolate on top – how’d you do that?

  26. I love it. I did not join the challenge yet. I’m still thinking about it.

  27. That cake, and your frosting job – GORGEOUS!

  28. This cake is STUNNING – I’d be ecstatic if it was mine, so no complaining! Love the hee-uuge chocolate curls, as well.

  29. hi, i am also from sydney.
    the recipe is requested for cakeflour,where do u get cake flour in sydney,pls tell me i need to try this. i have tried this in coles and woolworth.

  30. Thanks for all the nice comments! I am still bummed about my cream not coming out…maybe I’ll try again sometime.

    jyothi–Actually, both Coles and Woolies do sell cake flour. It’s a relatively new product here, I think. It’s from a brand called Anchor Foods and it comes in a 1 kg box. You can find it near the other regular flours. They also sell SR cake flour and bread flour.

  31. you’ve been tagged! =)

  32. I must say that either the chocolate curls where overwhelmingly beautiful or your cake as a whole is perfect, because my first reaction was that it was stunning! I never would’ve known you had any issues with the frosting if you hadn’t said something. I can only dream of having a cake turn out that beautiful!

  33. We always know what errors we have made, but if hou hadn’t mentioned it, I never would have noticed. Your cake is so dramatic and professional looking…great photography, too.

  34. What are you talking about, your cake turned out so gorgeous!! I didn’t have a chance to make this last week and I keep thinking I should really make an excuse because it sounds and looks so good. I love the decoration on the top of the cake too.

  35. My gosh, the cake looks so gorgeous. SO light and fluffy. Nobody would have thought you had so much trouble. It looks perfect!

  36. Your cake looks amazing! – those chocolate curls look soooooo professional………beautiful.

  37. If this is how “crap” looks then I’m hoping I can someday be as crappy. ; )

  38. Your chocolate curls on top are so stunning.
    In regards to your flour questions I found the following websites really helpful. Rose Levy Beranbaum explains why such poor results occur when American cake flour is called for and unbleached flour is used. If you search this website there is also a really interesting lecture video on flour.

    Kate who writes this blog did a wonderful job of testing what happens when you microwave flour (much better results)!

    Page 2 in this post of Dan Lepards website is the first place I read about using the microwave to ‘bleach’ flour

    I live in Australia as well. The Anchor cake flour (which is unbleached) microwaved has improved my results when cooking from all my American cookbooks.

    I am just about to start blogging about my cooking. I have admired your efforts for some time and now should contribute!

  39. Will you kindly revulge how to make those lovely chocolate curls? Its driving me nuts!!

    • Win–If you know how to temper chocolate, then it’s pretty easy. Tempering is something I’ve learned to do by feel, so unfortunately, I can’t really explain that bit. But, you take tempered chocolate, spread it out with an offset spatula over a piece of acetate (while in Australia, I bought acetate from either a restaurant supply store of a craft store). You can use baking parchment in place of acetate, but your curls won’t be super-shiny. You want to spread a layer that’s fairly thin, but that will be strong enough to not fall apart when you do the curls. Let the chocolate get to the point where it’s just beginning to set up on the acetate, but is still pliable. Then, using the back of a knife, cut in long gently waving lines that will form the curls. Roll the sheet up into a loose roll, or wrap around a rolling pin or something. Then pop in the fridge for about an hour, until the chocolate is very well set and releases from the acetate. Remove the acetate carefully, and the chocoate will break apart along those lines you cut…you will have your curls. Hope this helps…e-mail me if you have more questions!

  40. I’m glad that someone else had trouble with this recipe. I think the use of 9” cake pans is in error. I made the cakes twice to be sure and they rose, but not much. I had no problem with the chocolate pastry cream. But I had to make the white chocolate whipped cream 3 times. There wasn’t enough for the filling and covering the cake. I wouldn’t make this recipe again.

    • how frustrating! i think that was one of the first things i blogged about and never did try it again…i wonder if i should?

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