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!

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