Now that I have a week off from the Alpha Bakers I can finally get back to a project that fellow Alpha Baker Monica and I started about a year and a half ago. Karen Krasne’s Extraordinary Cakes. These cakes are fantastic. They are a bit complicated and time consuming but every one of them that I have made has been well worth every bit of effort I put into them. With a bit of time planning they are easily worked into your schedule and because they are frozen during the assembly stage, you can do several steps and put it in the freezer until you can get back to it.
I have already done all the cakes that Monica and I had decided we wanted to make. Monica’s husband doesn’t like chocolate and my tolerance for it has waned over the years so we decided not to do any chocolate cakes. My partner doesn’t have much of a sweet tooth so when he started asking for a chocolate cake, I knew exactly which one I wanted to try. The Viking.
This cake has it all, dark chocolate, semi-sweet, bittersweet, milk chocolate and even cocoa. In her introduction to this recipe, Karen refers to it as the biggest, baddest chocolate dessert she could imagine, and she isn’t kidding. The cake is comprised of chocolate cake, chocolate chantilly creme, chocolate creme brulee, chocolate almond praline, chocolate ganache and chocolate shavings. It certainly does, as Karen says, have a flavor as bold as the Vikings were in battle.
The semisweet chocolate ganache is a standard ganache of chocolate and cream enriched with Meyers Dark Rum.
The chocolate creme brulee is comprised of bittersweet chocolate, egg yolks, sugar, cream, milk and vanilla bean. It is a runny mixture which is baked until set and then frozen solid and used as a cake layer.
The chocolate chantilly cream is flavored with melted milk chocolate, allowed to chill overnight and then whipped to stiff peaks and then used to form another chocolate layer.
The chocolate almond praline uses toasted almonds and cocoa and when completed is ground fine and used to cover the entire cake. In addition to all this, the cake layers are drenched in a cocoa soaking syrup to complete the chocolate picture.
The cake base is sliced into three thin layers. The first layer is put into a round cake pan with removeable bottom. It is them drenched in cocoa syrup and spread with a layer of the chocolate ganache. The frozen creme brulee layer is then put in place and topped with the second cake layer. This layer is syruped and then spread with another layer of chocolate ganache. The whipped milk chocolate chantilly cream is then spread on top of this. The final cake layer is added and syruped and then the entire cake is wrapped in plastic and frozen overnight.
The cake is unmolded and frosted with the remaining chocolate ganache. The ground praline is then used to coat the entire cake. The top is dusted with confectioners sugar and then topped with bittersweet chocolate shavings.