Saturday, February 28, 2009

Daring Baker February Challenge

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.

I was excited when I found out that this month's challenge would include none other than my very favorite ingredient in the world: CHOCOLATE!!!

I had never made a flourless cake before, so I was a bit nervous, but it turns out that there was nothing at all to be nervous about. I took the advice of the hosts and bought high quality chocolate - 2 bars of bittersweet and 2 bars of semisweet. The ingredients mixed beautifully, the cake baked up and turned out fantastic - aside from being a bit dry the day after being baked. This was definitely an easy cake to make and very satisfying to see such an elegant cake coming out of my oven. I probably made it in too large of a pan as it was a little on the thin side - next time I will try and bake it in a pan with a smaller diameter so that the final product will be thicker, fudgier slices.

I was super excited about making my own ice cream, so much so that I went ahead and bought a Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker from Amazon. I made a batch of Vanilla Ice Cream and a batch of Cheesecake Ice Cream (both from Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz) to go with my Valentino cake. The vanilla ice cream was the best ice cream I think I've ever had! I vaguely remember making our own ice cream as kids in our old manual ice cream maker with the crank handle that we had to take turns cranking. However, I don't remember it being this delcious - definitely worth all the cranking, but even better since my new ice cream maker is automatic! I am now thrilled with the endless possibilities of the ice creams I can make myself at home, and I doubt that I'll be buying store-bought ice cream anytime soon - too many artificial ingredients and only mediocre compared to homemade.

I shared the Valentino cake and homemade ice creams with my family, all of whom enjoyed it very much. It was a little on the bitter side (I used 8 oz. bittersweet and 8 oz. semisweet), so I may try making this again sometime and playing with the proportions of chocolates to try and get a more sweet but still intense cake. I might also try cooking it a little less since it did end up drying out the day after it was baked.

Overall, I greatly enjoyed this challenge and will definitely make the cake again! Thanks for the challenge, Wendy & Dharm!

Daring Bakers Challenge - February 2009: Chocolate Valentino

So, this being my first Daring Baker’s Challenge I anxiously awaited the recipe and was super excited when it was posted. The recipe was not for something I’d made before, but looked fairly simple.

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.

February’s challenge is a Flourless Chocolate Cake, Chocolate Valentino, inspired by Malaysia’s “most flamboyant food ambassador”, Chef Wan. Recipe comes from Sweet Treats by Chef Wan.

So, I chose to use Lindt Milk Chocolate for the chocolate. They had said that the cake would come out tasting pretty much exactly like the chocolate you used, and since I like my treats sweet I thought this would be a good choice. (Not to mention I asked for some suggestions from a that cheating?)

First step: Melt the chocolate with the butter. I’m always a bit nervous when working with chocolate. I have a tendency to have it seize up on me or just become wrong. Luckily, it worked out great this time. Maybe my friend “butter” helped me along this time.

Second step: Add the egg yolks. Other than a minor mishap when separating the eggs, this part was fairly simple.

Third step: Whip the egg whites, fold into mixture. So this is the step that had me the most worried (once my chocolate was done!). I’m not super confident that I knew what stiff peaks really meant. We got a warning that if we over did the eggs that the cake would be dry….certainly didn’t want that! I think I did ok with this step, my cake was anything but dry…maybe even too moist, so I maybe should have gone a bit further with the eggs. Folding the egg whites in I accidentally didn’t fold, but beat in the first third…this could have also compromised the finished product a bit (ahh, the joy of learning new things!).

Ready to Mix! Folded
Fourth step: Bake! This is the easy part, letting the oven do its thing. The cake did fall a bit after it cooled. But I trudged on into the ice cream portion of the challenge.


Now, those that know me, know that I’m not afraid of making ice cream. My vanilla and chocolate have been requested treats during the summer months. So, I wanted to actually challenge myself a bit and try a new ice cream recipe. I love the flavor combinations of peanut butter with chocolate and chocolate with mint…so I couldn’t decide what to make. I ended up making both: Thin Mint Ice Cream and Peanut Butter Ice Cream. I realize now that I’m a fan of custard based ice creams versus these milk based (Philly-style?) ice creams. Challenge was a success…I learned something!

To plate the finished products I broke out my fine china and used a cookie cutter to cut the cake. You can see in the photo that the cake was still a bit ooey-gooey. It tasted wonderful. Since I have to be careful with my sugars I didn’t eat too much, but it got raves at the office the next day…and I didn’t bring any home. Overall, I loved this recipe, had a great time with the challenge and am anxiously awaiting the March challenge!

Below are the finished products and recipes:
Chocolate Valentino with Peanut Butter Ice Cream
Chocolate Valentino with Thin Mint Ice Cream

Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes
16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.

2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.

3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.

4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).

5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.

6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.

7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.

8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C

9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C. Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.

10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Peanut Butter Ice Cream

Thin Mint Ice Cream
From Bumzwife Personal Blog
Note on the Thin Mint Ice Cream: I don't know Bumzwife, the recipe was found doing a search. I added about a capful of peppermint extract to this.

Enjoy with love,


Fun with My Niece and the Chocolate Valentino!

The recipe was quite easy to make. Of course my niece was impatient as any 15 year would be. She wanted to eat it right out of the oven. I baked the cake for 18 minutes in a 9" springform pan. I had frozen strawberries in the freezer. I asked her if she wanted a sauce to top the cake, but she said no. Since I didn't plan on eating the cake, I didn't make a sauce.

This was a great bonding experience. I taught my niece how to melt chocolate over a water bath and how to bring egg whites to a stiff peak. I made her separate the eggs...This was fun but it really grossed her out. We separated them cold so her hands were covered in super cold slime. I am hoping to have her help me every month.

The cake felt jiggly coming out of the oven. I could find my instant read thermometer, so I used my candy thermometer. The temperature registered somewhere between 135-145F. The candy thermometer doesn't give a good gauge on lower temperatures. The cake eventually settled.

I wish the cake was a little firmer in the center. It did fall a little. The outer crust looked quite nice. I almost forgot to mention that I used Guittard 61% semi sweet chocolate.

The plan was to not eat any cake. Then I decided to use the "Three bite rule". Well the three bites turned into six+ bites. So here are my thoughts based on the bites that I did have. I think that I should have mixed the semi-sweet with some darker chocolate... For me, the taste was quite weak. After the fact, DH and my niece both told me that the cake definitely needed a fruit sauce (raspberry or strawberry), ie. something tart. I agree. We all agree that ice cream would have been overkill.

I served DH's and my niece's pieces (plus my sliver) right out of the springform so you can see the fallen cake. I eventually flipped the cake over so that I could add powdered sugar and cinnamon to the top. I think that I overdid it with the powdered sugar (see photo).

I took the rest of the cake to my grandmother's house since she will have guests tomorrow. I made it very clear to my diabetic grandparents not eat the cake because of the amount of sugar in it.

I don't think that I would make this cake again. I have made other flourless cakes that I have liked better. I think that my taste buds are really changing so I don't know if I am giving this cake a fair shake. Until today, I have not had any "bad" carbs (fruit, more than 100 calories a day of "good" natural sweetners, bread, etc) in over a month. I thought that the cake had a weird aftertaste. This is common for South Beach Diet. The last time that I was on it, orange juice really grossed me out. I asked DH and my niece about the aftertaste and they thought that I was crazy. Oh well, I know that I used good quality products so the issue must be me.

In the future, I hope that I have the will power to not eat as much as I did this month. I am working with my primary care physician and endocronologist to bring down my insulin.

As always, thank you for the opportunity to participate in another wonderful challenge.


- Angelique

February 2009 Daring Baker Challenge – Flourless Chocolate Cake and Ice Cream

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.

I made the cake with 70% bittersweet chocolate, following the recipe but adding just a little Grand Marnier for additional flavor. I used a heart-shaped cake pan.

The cake turned out fine, although I’m not sure this is a recipe I would use again. It seemed to be a bit crumbly and was difficult to cut. Perhaps I baked it a little too long? It was in the oven fewer than 25 minutes but the instant thermometer read somewhat over 140 degrees.

The ice cream was a basic vanilla custard with lots of vanilla bean flavor. It was not too sweet (only ½ cup sugar for 2 ½ cups of milk and cream and four egg yolks), which is fine with me, and was a good complement to the chocolate cake, cutting some of the richness of the bittersweet chocolate.

I decorated the cake with several scoops of ice cream and some mandarin orange sections which I poached in butter and caramel and Grand Marnier. Tactical error – the oranges were warm when I placed them on the scoops of ice cream, so there was some melting going on while we were taking the pictures!

We served the cake and ice cream to guests and the plates were scraped clean, so I think the combination was a success.

- Bunnee

Chocolate Valentino and Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream

One word – YUM!

The chocolate valentino and homemade ice cream was just the ticket for this months challenge. It has been a busy and demanding month for me as I have returned to school full-time and so this challenge was very satisfying in that it was delicious AND simple.

I made the chocolate valentino with Trader Joe’s unsalted butter and a mixture of their fair-trade swiss (3/4) and bittersweet chocolate (1/4). I tried to tone down the bittersweet chocolate as I have sometimes been accused of making my chocolate treats too “chocolaty” (I don’t understand what that is?). It was very good and turned out perfectly – however, I still could have been very happy with a higher ratio of bittersweet chocolate!

The kids and I pulled out our 1970’s era electric ice cream maker and found out that it still works – very well thank you. We made the simpler of the two ice cream recipes and have all deemed it worthy of being made again. All of the chocolate valentino was gone within 24 hours – delicious!

- Rachel V

Happy With My First Chocolate Valentino!

This is my first challenge as a DB. Although the pictures are not very good, I'm really happy with the outcome of my challenge.
For the Valentino cake, I used 60% bitter chocolate and 40% milk chocolate for fear that it was too bitter. The result was surprising, and went well with the Philadelphia style ice cream that I made my way, and whipped cream with a pinch of sugar.

I look forward to the next challenge, and do not discard doing the past ones.
Thanks to Wendy and Dharma for the excellent recipes.

- Rosa

A Fun and Filling First Challenge!

This challenge was a lot of fun (Yay my first one!!!) for the cake I used Lindt half dark and half milk chocolate and loved the idea of making your own ice cream by hand it came out creamy and wonderful with a bit of babysitting of course ;)

I used David Lebovitz method and his Vanilla ice cream recipe. When my ice cream was almost frozen I put it into a cookie cutter and when it was time I took it out and ran my finger on the edge to warm it out and it popped out beautifully.

I just pureed strawberries for on top but oddly it photographed sort of like Ketchup hmmm. I think this cake has filled my chocometer and that is not easy!

- Andrea

Awww Sweet Revenge, December Yule Log! :D

This was a really fun one- boy, have I always wanted to make my own ice cream- and the flourless chocolate cake was lovely. What a perfect dessert for Valentine's day- everyone loved it.

It redeemed the experience SUFFERED in December with the Yulelog...

- Katie L

A Heart For Her Sweetheart :)

A Valentine for the boyfriend who is currently working 800km away. So the ice cream part would be a bit tricky.

I decided to make 1/3 more of the batter, send a heart shaped cake to the boyfriend and bake some small rose shaped muffins for us to go with the ice cream. For the batter I used 33% milk chocolate and 85% dark cocolate. As for the ice cream, I made some banana ice cream. The recipe came with the ice cream maker.

The rose shaped muffins did bake quite a bit shorter. And we ate them with the banana ice cream as soon as they cooled down. They tasted great, just like fluffy chocolate and went well with the creamy ice cream.

They were so great that I forgot to take some pictures till it was too late and all little choclate roses and banana ice cream were gone. So there are only pictures from the heart shaped cake I sent to my boyfriend.

- bana

Chocolate Valentino and Dulce de Leche Ice Cream Sandwich

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.

This flourless chocolate cake went together like a breeze. I selected a newly available chocolate, El Rey Apamate, from my favorite local wine and cheese shop. It’s an unrefined bar made on the coast of central Venezuela (an area prized for its cacao quality) that boasts a 73.5% cacao content. YUM! Extra bitter, rich and intense—the flavor really came through in the cake.

My flavor choice for ice cream, dulce de leche, was inspired by a certain loved one with an intense passion for caramel. I like to make heart-shaped ice cream sandwiches for dessert around this time of year. It was a natural progression to pair the two challenge components into a decadent and festive frozen treat.

Here’s the ice cream recipe…it’s too good not to share.


Dulce de Leche Ice Cream


• 2 cups whole milk
• 1 cup heavy cream
• 1 lb dulce de leche (about 1 2/3 cups; preferably La Salamandra brand)
• 1/8 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 3/4 cup chopped pecans (2 1/2 to 3 oz), toasted

Bring milk and cream just to a boil in a 3-quart heavy saucepan over moderate heat, then remove from heat and whisk in dulce de leche until dissolved. Whisk in vanilla and transfer to a metal bowl. Quick-chill by putting bowl in a larger bowl of ice and cold water and stirring occasionally until cold, 15 to 20 minutes.

Freeze mixture in ice cream maker until almost firm, then fold in pecans.

Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden, at least 1 hour.

Makes about 1 1/2 quarts

- Olivia

Chocolate and Flax.. A Winning Combination!

I decided to take the vegan recipe for flourless cake and alter it slightly. I used flax seed as an egg replacer which gave the cake a more nutty texture but really helped hold it together in the absence of any other binders. I also had to make the recipe sweeter to counteract the strong taste from the flax. This took a few attempts!!

For the ice cream, again, I used flax and it really gave it that smooth texture. Rather than being all icy. I made a black cherry jam flavour. It complimented the chocolate VERY well. This challenege has also caused the explosion of a few experiments with other flourless things with flax and other binders. Really enjoyed this one.


- Rachel C

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

It ain't pretty...

But it does taste good:-)

When I first saw the challenge I had the brilliant idea of making tuile butterflies that I would use to decorate cupcakes...but that didn't happen. I still think it was a great idea but I decided to go the easy route this time. I just freeformed the tuiles and let them harden (well, it was still kind of warm when I ate one) over some glasses to make an edible ice cream bowl - VOILA! It turned out wonderfully, even if all of them aren't as pretty as I would have hoped.

As you can see they are a little brown. I didn't burn them...I just didn't read the recipe correctly and thought that I was supposed to add the cocoa powder into the batter. No harm done. It's delicious with cherry vanilla ice cream.

This month's challenge is brought to us by Karen of Bake My Day and Zorra of 1x umruehren bitte aka Kochtopf. They have chosen Tuiles from The Chocolate Book by Angélique Schmeink and Nougatine and Chocolate Tuiles from Michel Roux.