Simple Chocolate Gateau
To be fair, I love exploring new desserts and as a result some very basic ones are pushed in the little closet of my mind and unfortunately they remain there and are not used in reality. So when one of my friends asked me for a simple recipe for a cake which she wants to bake for her mother on her mother's birthday the most simple cake which came to my mind was the good old chocolate cake with buttercream filling and a ganache frosting. To be fair most people who have baked foam cakes would know that a foam cake which air leavened and uses little flour and fat is the lightest base for a gateau or what is commonly known as a layered cake but foam cakes take a lot of practice and well in India most of the cakes we get at bakeries are not foam cakes but are still very light and airy because they use oil instead of butter which is quite obvious because if one carefully smells the cakes they would find that it doesn't have that special aroma which butter incorporates but the problem with baking a British chocolate sponge cake is that though it is basic it tends to be more packed than what we get outside and a reader had once pointed out that though she loved the cake which she had baked using my recipe for sponge cake she missed that light texture. Well that was a year ago , so this time what I did was use a simple trick to make the cake airy fluffy yet with the buttery smell. All one needs to do is separate the eggs and use some extra egg whites and voila you have airy spongy light cake , which is well less airy than a foam cake but tastes quite nice. I adapted Mary Berry's recipe for the cake base altering the recipe with my separation of eggs and addition of egg whites, used a basic buttercream recipe and ganache recipe .
So here goes the recipe
Serves 4 to 5
For the base :-
175gm of all purpose flour (1.5 cups ) cups which hold 250ml of liquid
50gm cocoa powder (Half a cup of cocoa powder) the cups which hold 250ml of liquid
4 eggs separated
4 egg whites
1 scant tsp baking powder
200gm castor sugar (2 cups)
For the buttercream filling :-
62gm good quality dark chocolate
100gm of butter
125gm of icing sugar (you can increase the amount of icing sugar as per your taste)
For the ganache
175ml of cream
100gm of dark chocolate chopped well
Start by first preparing your baking pans ( 6 inch to 7 inch) by greasing them with butter and dusting it with flour. If you are doing this for the first time refer to the videos on youtube which show you how to prepare cake pans. Sift your cocoa powder. You need two baking pans of size 6 inch
Now start by sifting the flour with the baking powder. This helps in making the cake airy and light.
Whip your egg whites to a firm peak. You are using a total of 8 egg whites.
Now preheat the oven to 180 C and quickly cream your butter with a wooden spoon, that is mix the sugar and butter well with the wooden spoon till the sugar is well incorporated and now use a whisk to fluff it up. Add the yolks one by one and keep whisking. Once done sift your flour and baking powder which has already been sifted once again and fold it in with the wooden spoon. Add the cocoa powder and fold that in then fold in the egg whites.
Bake the cake at preheated oven for 30 minutes if using a convection oven and 20 minutes for regular OTG. Once baked insert a toothpick in the middle and if it comes out clean your cake has been baked else bake for another 5 minutes or so. let it cool on the pan for 5 minutes to 10 minutes and then run a sharp knife under hot water and run ti along the edge and take invert the cake on a wire rack to cool down completely.
Once the cake has cooled down completely cream your butter and icing sugar and melt the chocolate over a double boiler and once its cool enough add it with your creamed butter. And keep whisking well till its fluffy and light and add the milk and cream and fluff it up again.
For the ganache simply chop the chocolate and leave it in a big bowl , heat the cream over a double boiler and pour the cream over the chocolates and mix well. If you find lumps put the entire bowl over a double boiler till everything melts into a smooth silky texture
To assemble the cake you must remember that the cake must be allowed to cool completely before you proceed. So once it has cooled down completely . I usually proceed. I usually leave it to cool down for 2 hours or more. Now First cut the cakes in two and apply a generous amount of buttercream on the middle layers and put it in the refrigerator to firm up for about 15 minutes and then assemble them by placing them on top of one another and apply a base coat of buttercream and put it back in the refrigerator for 10 minutes. Now generously apply the ganache and put it back in the refrigerator for 15 minutes and now simple cut the cake and serve .
Important tips : -
- The butter for both the cake base and butter-cream filling must be at room temperature completely softened
- Once you have whisked your butter and yolks you must not use the whisk else you will knock down the bubbles and your cake will be dense , so after you have whisked the yolks you must use the wooden spoon to fold in the flour and then the egg whites
- In case you do not have two pans or your oven is small cream the butter and add yolks and then use half of this and use half of the flour and half of the cocoa powder and half the egg whites and bake , let it rest cool down and then leave it to cool on a wire rack, clean your pan grease it , dust it with flour and then fold the remaining flour and cocoa powder with the remaining creamed butter and egg yolk mixture and the egg whites bake again but you must never prepare the entire cake batter and leave half of it because then the cake becomes dense and horrible .
- When making the butter cream keep tasting it to check whether all the sugar has been incorporated.