Chocolate Tomato Cake with Mystery Ganache

First off I would like to thank everyone for all the kind words and thoughts.  They were very much appreciated.  Things seem to be coming back to normal and it appears that all will be well given time so I am thankful for that.  It was, however, another rather hectic week so this will be another short blog and I didn’t get any step by step pictures again but this was such an easy cake it hardly seemed worth it anyway.

I remember my mom and my aunts making these tomato soup cakes when I was a child.  This one doesn’t seem any different from the versions I remember growing up with.  I found this to be a rather sturdy cake but still moist with a nice chocolate flavor.  I would indeed make it again for a nice to have around snack cake.  I have to admit that it seemed rather pointless to add that 1/4 cup of tomato soup to the ganache on top of 12 ounces of dark chocolate.  There is no way I believe that the soup would have any effect what so ever with all that chocolate. I wouldn’t even bother with it and just make the ganache without it.  Also, I didn’t really pay attention when I was shopping as I was in a hurry and was just grabbing what I needed.  When I got home and looked at the bill, these Pirouette cookies were $7.50 a can and this recipe called for two cans.  That seems totally ridiculous for a gimmicky decoration.  I am still kicking myself in the rear for buying them.  I will pay more attention next time.  At any rate, the cake was delicious and everyone at work enjoyed it.  Enjoy!

Next Up:  Caramelized Pineapple Pudding Cakes with Homemade Brioche

Apple Caramel Charlotte

Ordinarily when we have one of these major construction jobs to do, I map out a game plan about what I can do ahead and how much time I want to allow myself for each component of then dessert.  Then I figure out how far in advance I can make each component and how long they will keep and then set to work making the components step by step and storing them away.  Then when the weekend comes all I really have to do is assemble all the components into the finished dessert and it hardly seems like I have expended any energy at all.  That is exactly what I did this time…. and then a major personal crisis came along and turned this into the week from hell.  To put it mildly I was a total and complete mess all week.  I seriously thought about just chucking the whole idea of making this dessert. I was barely in the mood to open a can of soup for dinner let alone embark on a project like this.  Then I started feeling guilty for not following through on something I had set out to do and then I guilted myself into going ahead with it.  I thought maybe that by working on this cake it would take my mind off of what was going on elsewhere.  Well, it worked…sort of.  I got so into following my game plan that I totally forgot to take any pictures while I was working.  At any rate I did manage to snap off a few of the finished dessert and I include those. I didn’t really find any part of this dessert very challenging, just time consuming and alot of pots and pans.  I am still a bit out of it so I am not going to go through everything that I did.  I took the cake to work and did manage to taste a tiny bit.  I thought it was delicioius but I do have several other apple charlotte recipes that are alot less work.  It would have to be a pretty special occasion for me to go through all this trouble again.  My coworkers all loved it so I guess it was worth the effort.  Enjoy!

Next Up:  Chocolate Tomato Cake with Mystery Ganache

Marble Velvet Cake

I was really in the mood for something homey and old fashioned this week.  It was a long week and I my mind was going in a million directions and I couldn’t quite settle down and relax and I thought since this was a free choice week, a bundt cake might just be the ticket to a relaxing afternoon.  Shall we bake? 

Melt the chocolate and set aside until needed.  Mix the egg yolks, 1/4 cup sour cream and vanilla and set aside until needed.  In the bowl of a stand mixer add the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt and blend a few seconds until combined.  Add the remaining sour cream and butter and mix until moistened.

Adding the butter and sour cream

Raise the speed and blend for 1 1/2 minutes,  Add the egg mixture in 2 additions beating about 20 seconds between additions. 

Adding the egg mixture

Remove about a third of the batter to another bowl and stir in the melted chocolate.  

The completed yellow batter

The completed chocolate batter

Spoon a third of the yellow batter into the prepared bundt pan.  Add dollops of the chocolate batter.  

Combining the two batters

Add another third of the yellow batter and then the rest of the chocolate batter and finish with the remaining yellow batter. Smooth the top and then using a teaspoon swirl through the batter in a wave patter but not going all the way through to the bottom of the pan.  

Marbleing the two batters

 Bake in a 350 degree oven for 50 – 60 minutes or until the cake tests done.  Cook in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes and then unmold the cake and cool completely. 

Ready to bake

The baked cake

Make the ganache.  Again I ignored Rose’s instructions and did it my own way.  Chop the chocolate and put it in a bowl.  Heat the cream and pour it over the chopped chocolate. Allow it so stand a few minutes and then stir until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Stir in the cognac. Drizzle the ganache over the cooled cake and serve. This cake was delicious. Not too sweet and perfect with coffee or tea and a good book. 




Next Up: Apple Caramel Charlotte

All American Chocolate Cake with Divinity Frosting and Milk Chocolate Paint

I am very excited to submit my first offering to the Avid Bakers Challenge.  Thank you Monica at SweetBites for pointing me in this direction and thank you Hanaa at Hanaa’s Kitchen for welcoming me into the club with open arms.  I am very honored to be here among such distinquished company.  The Avid Bakers Challenge is a once a month baking challenge and this year the group is baking from Baking For All Occasions by Flo Braker.  I have been a fan of Flo’s for many many years and have had this book on my shelf for awhile now but haven’t gotten a chance to bake from it.  This is a great chance to expand the baking repertoire and taste some of Flo’s amazing recipes.  Thanks again for having me. 

This weeks cake is a classic dark chocolate cake with fluffy sea foam frosting and a milk chocolate coating.  It isn’t a difficult recipe so lets dive in and take a look at this recipe. 

Set up your mis en place and have everything at room temperature.  Melt the chocolate using your favorite method and set aside to cool to luke warm.  Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt and set aside until needed.  Mix the sour cream and vanilla together and set aside.  This cake uses the creaming method so to get started cream the softened butter until light and fluffy and then add the brown sugar and cream together until fluffy, about 4 minutes.  

The creamed butter

The creamed butter and brown sugar

With the mixer running, add the eggs a bit at a time and continue beating until the eggs are well incorporated and the mixture is light, about 4 minutes.  

Adding the eggs

I’m sure everyone noticed the mistake in this recipe in that it never states when to add the melted chocolate.  It seemed logical to me to add it here and that is what I did.  Add the chocolate and beat to incorporate.   Next add the flour and sour cream mixtures in stages beginning and ending with the flour and beating to incorporate the ingredients between each addition.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and add the coffee and beat it in using a rubber spatula.  

The completed batter

 Divide the batter between 2 prepared cake pans and bake at 350 degrees for about 35 minutes or until they test for done.  Cool the cakes on a rack for 10 minutes and then unmold and cool completely. 

Ready to bake

This divinity frosting always reminds me of my mother.  She called it sea foam frosting and always made it for her chocolate cakes and we would have them with Sunday dinner or on family occasions.  Now for my bad boy story.  As a child I totally hated this frosting and anything else involving eggs. I used to take a huge piece of cake and then proceed to scrape off every bit of this frosting and toss it out and only eat the cake.   (To be honest, to this day I detest eggs and can not even gag one down to save my life, but I have learned to appreciate meringue and this frosting.)  This frosting involves making an Italian meringue which as we all know begins with a boiled sugar syrup.  Combine the corn syrup, sugar and water in a heavy sauce pan, stir to dissolve the sugar and begin boiling the syrup.  

Boiling the syrup

In the mean time, put the egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer and whip until they begin to froth and then add the salt and cream of tartar.  Continue beating until peaks form.  When the sugar syrup reaches about 240 degrees remove from the heat and on low speed pour the syrup in a steady stream into the egg whites and continue beating until all the syrup has been added.  

Adding the syrup

Increase the speed to medium and continue beating to cool the whites down.  Add the vanilla and continue beating until the whites cool to about 96 degrees. 

Place the bottom cake layer on a cake plate and fill with a generous amount of frosting.  

Filling the first layer

Add the top layer and frost the top and sides of the cake with a generous amount of frosting.  

Adding the top layer

Set aside and allow the frosting to firm up.  

The frosted cake

Melt the milk chocolate and butter on a small saucepan.  Remove from the heat and stir until smooth and creamy.  Using a pastry brush, coat the entire cake with the chocolate coating.  Set the cake aside to allow the coating to set up. 


Next Month:  Orange Chiffon Tweed Cake with Milk ‘n’ Honey Sabayon

Gold Ingots

I was excited to see that this weeks recipe wasn’t chocolate.  I am still suffering from chocolate overload and this months Avid Bakers recipe is a chocolate cake so I really didn’t want to do two chocolate desserts in one week.  I wish I could say that I was wowed by these little cakes but I really wasn’t.  I found that they were very dense and dry and almost totally lacking in flavor.  I thought they were very very bland and not appetizing at all.  I took a bit of license this week.  Since the recipe calls for the 1/4 cup financier pans and I wasn’t able to find those the last time we made these type of cakes, I got a different type of bar pan.  It is a 1/2 cup size and the last time I used it the cakes came out too flat so I doubled the recipe this time to accommodate the larger capacity pan.  I should have just skipped it all together and just baked this in a loaf pan since it seems to have more the texture of a quick bread than a cake.  At any rate, I didn’t like it well enough to ever want to make it again.  It’s an easy recipe so shall we repair to the kitchen and bake these cakes?………….. 

First toast the almonds and then grind them in the food processor with the sugar until finely ground. 

Next make the beurre noisette and set aside.  At the same time melt the rest of the butter and set it aside.  Keep both butters warm until ready to use. 

Making beurre noisette 

In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the almond mixture, flour and baking powder to blend.  Add the egg whites and beat until well blended.  Add the vanilla and beat to incorporate. 

Mixing the dry ingredients

Adding the egg whites


With the mixer on medium low, add the beurre noisette and then the melted butter.  Continue beating the mixture until it emulsifies into a creamy mixture. 

Adding the beurre noisetteAdding the melted butter

The finished batter

Ready for the oven

Spoon the batter into the prepared mold and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until they test done.  Allow the cakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a rack and then unmold and cool completely.  Enjoy! 





Next Up:  Free Choice…Have to wait and see.