Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Winter Cake

When most were making their new year's resolutions with dieting right at the top of the list,
I resolved to ask The Baker to do an encore of this cake for my birthday.
I will ask that it be decorated with flowers.

It seems that we've both been in the kitchen quite a bit over the last two weeks.
We enjoyed every minute of it.
Well, to be honest, the cleanup wasn't always so enjoyable.
The planning, preparation and execution was very nice.

Stefan and Elyssa arrived the afternoon of Christmas Eve.
It seems that might be the day to fly.  
We enjoyed a delicious seafood soup that evening.
In the excitement of having them here, I forgot to get a photo.
I will share the recipe soon.

We invited friends over for Christmas day lunch.
Then we all enjoyed gathering by the fire and catching up.

Adam arrived on the afternoon of December 27.
We again celebrated Christmas Eve
and Christmas Day.

And, as promised, here's the recipe for the cake.

It seems long and involved but it isn't.
The only "technique" involved is the folding of egg whites into batter.

For the cake, The Baker worked with a recipe from the Chicago Tribune.
The buttercream filling is from "Simca's Cuisine" by Simone Beck.
The ganache is from The Baker.

It is delicious in any season and I hope you'll give it a try.

The Winter Cake from the Chicago Tribune, Simca and The Baker

3/4 pound of walnuts (about 3 cups)
1 Tbsp flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
8 eggs, separated
1 cup sugar, divided
zest of 1 orange

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Lightly butter a 10-inch springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.  Lightly butter the paper.  Set aside.
3.  Grind the walnuts in a food processor until fine.  Combine the flour and baking powder and stir into the walnuts until evenly mixed.
4.  Beat the egg yolks until well-blended, then gradually beat in the 1/2 cup of sugar.  Continue beating until the mixture is light and lemon-colored and forms a ribbon when dropped from a spoon.  Stir in the orange zest.  Stir in the walnut mixture.
5.  Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Gradually beat in the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar until stiff peaks form.  Fold a large spoonful of the beaten egg whites into the walnut mixture to lighten it, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites.
6.  Spoon the cake batter into the prepared pan.  Bake 40 to 50 minutes until puffed and golden.  Remove to a wire rack to cool.  As the cake cools, it will settle somewhat.

Meanwhile, prepare:  Mocha Butter Cream

2 egg yolks
2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
2 Tbsp powdered instant coffee
1 1/2 Tbsp rum
1/4 pound butter

1.  Put the egg yolks into a heatproof bowl.  Gradually add the sugar, beating until the mixture is a pale creamy yellow.  
2.  Set the bowl over simmering water and continue to beat until the mixture has thickened.
3.  Dissolve the instant coffee into the rum.  Blend thoroughly into the egg mixture and remove from the heat.  Add the butter by bits, waiting until each piece of butter has been thoroughly incorporated before adding the next.  Refrigerate to firm the butter cream but not to harden it completely.

To assemble:

1.  Carefully cut the cake into two layers.
2.  Spread the butter cream between the layers.

Prepare a Chocolate Ganache 

 9 oz. chopped bittersweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream

1.  Placed the chopped chocolate in a bowl large enough to hold it and the cream.
2.  Heat the cream to simmering and pour over the chocolate.  Stir until completely blended.
3.  Pour over the cake.