I have to admit that every time I thumb through the book looking for recipes to make for free choice weeks I come across this cake and I always just shrug and move on. I have never found anything all that appealing about this cake. It just looks like another simple snack cake and nothing more. Then I kept reading on other blogs about how Monica was really anxious to make this and I had to stop and revisit it. Monica is such an excellent cook and baker and she has such an intuitive kitchen sense that I thought, if she is really that keen on making this there must be something I am missing. I reread the recipe and at first glance I saw that it was a Pillsbury Bake Off winner. While that is an impressive pedigree I have to admit that it doesn’t really hold a lot of water with me. I always imagine dishes made with store bought pie dough and canned dinner rolls or the dreaded Tunnel of Fudge cake which everyone seems to be constantly trying to remake and I never cared for it all that much the first time around. With all that being said, I forged ahead through the recipe and became intrigued with the use of dacquoise as a mold liner. I have made dacquoise many many times but usually as a component in an elaborate composed dessert, never as an integral part of the cake itself. I did have my doubts about how this would work. This cake certainly gets high marks for ease of assembly and it certainly scores high on the taste scale. It is richly flavored with butter and vanilla and the nut dacquoise adds a very nice chocolatey, nutty crunch to the exterior but it certainly fails big time in the presentation arena. The crusty dacquoise came of and the cake is just not fit to present that way. I actually baked this cake twice, one in a metal pan and once in silicone and I had the same results with both pans. the crust crumbled and flaked off leaving big exposed areas of the cake underneath and it was certainly nothing to look at. I really didn’t want to have to revisit the ganache from last week, even though I loved it. However, the cake was just not presentable in its unadorned state so the ganache it was. Okay, let’s make this cake.
Toast the nuts and set them aside to cool. I deviated a bit here as Norman brought back a supply of the most incredible walnuts I have ever tasted from his last trip to the Middle East and I thought it was a sin to not use them here, so I substituted walnuts for the pecans. When the nuts have cooled, grind them with the chocolate and sugar and set aside until needed.
Whip the egg whites until foamy and soft peaks form, then blend in the remaining sugar and whip until stiff and glossy and the peaks hold their shape. Gently fold in the nut mixture and spread this into the prepared loaf pan covering the bottom and 3/4 of the way up the sides. Set aside and proceed with the cake batter.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, blend together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and remaining buttermilk and mix until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Add the egg yolk mixture in two additions, blending for 30 seconds between each addition. Spoon the batter into the dacqouise lined pan and bake at 325 degrees for 45 to 55 minutes or until done.
Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 10 minutes if using metal or completely if using silicone.
When cool, unmold and invert the cake onto a serving plate.
At this point you can if you wish drizzle the cake with chocolate glaze and serve. I made the Mocha ganache from last week and frosted the cake to cover it’s defects.
Next Up: Mud Turtle Cupcakes