My friend L. stopped by my house yesterday morning for a chat and cup of coffee. We had a nice time but the minute I asked her if she would like to bake a cake with me she jumped on her feet and said she had to go…
Oh, well. This cake is not THAT hard to make, really… I’ll let her have a piece of my mind, ehhh, cake, later. When I think about it, I now recall that she did a similar trick a few weeks ago when I wanted to show her that whipping heavy cream is no mad science. She volunteered her husband to do it.
My cake this Friday was an Easy Marjolaine cake, a recipe from one of my favorite chefs, Wolfgang Puck, from his cookbook – also a favorite – Wolfgang Puck Makes it Easy (see a review I wrote about it here). It’s been a very long time since the last time I made it. It is definitely on my top 10 list of cakes. What’s not to love about hazelnuts, meringue, whipped cream, and chocolate together in one cake?! See recipe below.
I’d like to remind you of the Ray’s cookbook giveaway. A copy of the book will be given to a reader who will post a comment. I read this book back to back and I think it’s fantastic. For more details click here.
New! Restaurant reviews page was added to the blog.
Kat from Kat’s blog shares a “doctored” Chocolate chip cake using a cake mix. I know some of you are loving this idea of quick and easy cake.
Joie de vivre: an amateur gourmets guide is sharing a 4 layered Peanut Butter and Jelly Cake, very impressive. Wouldn’t you like that for your birthday?!
Kate at Dash of Sass shares a Devil’s Food Cake. Good looking. I don’t know Kate personally, but I bet she has tons of patience if she can decorate a cake like that.
Sumbit your favorite cake recipe/s and maybe you’ll win a fantastic cookbook.
Click here for more details.
And while visiting other blogs, I came across more beautiful cakes that I would like to add to my collection. Although they are not participating in the giveaway… I’d like to give them some link love;
Berries & Cream Pavlova, adapted from Nigella Lawson’s ‘Prodigious Pavlova’ on Under the High Chair blog
I always wanted to make a Pavlova…
And now to the Marjolaine recipe. It might seem long, but it’s really easy. And while you make the ganache, treat yourself to a chocolate dipped fruit…
Slightly adapted from “Wolfgang Puck Makes it Easy”
Serves 8 (I’d say 2 serving because you will not want to share it with anyone. Unless you have too)
1 cup hazelnuts
6 egg whites, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Whipped Cream Filling
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup crème fraîche
1 tablespoon superfine sugar
1-2 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
To make the meringue;
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spread the hazelnuts on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the nuts are fragrant and their skins begin to flake. Remove from the oven, pour into a kitchen towel, and rub vigorously to remove the skins. Let cool, then chop finely (in a food processor) and set aside.
Reduce the oven temperature to 325°F. Spray a 12-by-15-inch (I used 11-by-16) rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray, and then line with parchment paper and lightly spray the parchment.
In a stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, beat the egg whites on medium speed until they begin to foam. Add the cream of tartar and continue to whip until soft peaks form. Increase the speed to high and slowly stream in the sugar, continuing to beat until stiff, shiny peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the hazelnuts.
Pour the meringue onto the prepared baking sheet and, using an offset spatula, spread it evenly. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp. Turn off the oven but leave the meringue on the oven rack for 1 hour longer, so that it is fully dry, then remove from the oven.
To make the ganache;
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl with the cream and heat in the microwave in 20-30 seconds intervals, mixing each time, until chocolate melts.
Fill a large bowl about two-thirds full with water and ice cubes*. Divide the ganache in half between 2 bowls. Add the corn syrup to 1 bowl, stir to combine, and reserve to use for glazing the top layer. Nest the second bowl in the ice-water bath and stir the ganache with a rubber spatula until it cools and thickens to the consistency of frosting (*I simply put it in the fridge).
To make the whipped cream filling, in the stand mixer fitted with the whip attachment, combine the cream, crème fraîche, and sugar and beat on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form.
Remove the meringue from the baking sheet to a cutting board and, using a large serrated knife, cut crosswise into 3 equal rectangles. Place 1 piece of meringue on a serving platter. Scoop the frosting-like ganache onto the meringue and spread evenly with an offset spatula.
Top with a second rectangle of meringue, scoop the whipped cream filling onto the second meringue layer, and spread it an even layer. Top with the last piece of meringue, and press down lightly to seal the layers.
Stir the ganache glaze to check the consistency; it should be loose enough to spread. If it isn’t, warm it briefly over, not touching, barely simmering water in a saucepan, or in a microwave at half power for about 20 seconds. Pour the glaze over the top meringue layer and spread it in an even layer. Let stand until the glaze sets.
Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the top with the cocoa powder. If not serving immediately, cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. To serve, cut into slices or squares with a serrated knife.
Have a wonderful weekend!