Saturday, February 28, 2009

Daring Bakers - Chocolate Valentino

This flourless chocolate cake recipe, called Chocolate Valentino, is meant to be baked in a heart-shaped pan. I have an excess of single-serving disposable aluminum cups that Dave bought at the dollar store as a gag because I generally despise anything involving hearts. Barf. Usually, I use them as a vessel to bake eggs, but the Chocolate Valentino provided an excellent excuse to use some of them up. I halved the original recipe and came out with 8 individual cakes. I adore flourless chocolate cake, one of the richest and most decadent treats I can think of, but this particular variation came out dry and cakey. I was a little disappointed, as I had hoped for a fudgy texture. Perhaps my egg whites were too stiff? I'll try it again some time, since the ingredient list is only 3 things.

I've been reading about ice cream a lot lately. It's one of my favorite things to eat, and I'm becoming obsessed with making a perfect version at home. The custard-based recipe included in this challenge is similar to many homemade formulas. I infused the cream with Mexican vanilla bean to keep the flavor simple. The ice cream is very good, with extremely pronounced, floral vanilla flavor and gorgeous speckles of black beans. A sprinkle of cocoa nibs added a crunch and contrasting flavor.

I've learned that using an inverted sugar, like honey, molasses, or corn syrup in place of some granulated sugar helps to reduce crystallization in ice cream. Adding powdered glucose to the mix adds pliability to the finished product, so it is scoopable right from the freezer. My biggest beef with homemade ice creams are that they are more ice and less cream until they've had a few minutes to thaw. It's impossible to scoop them straight from the freezer. I've bent a spoon or two trying to do it.

So, I'm on the hunt for ice cream formulas that already include an invert sugar and glucose. Let me know if you have any thoughts!

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.


glamah16 said...

Thanks for the invert sugar tip> I had a slice or two,but agree it wasnt that fudgy molten texrure I was expecting. But as always you do an amazing job.

Olga said...

haha...I usually feel the same way about hearts :)

Anonymous said...

Your cake and ice cream turned out lovely! You probably either over baked or, as you mentioned, whipped the whites a little too stiff, but like you said, easy peasy to try it again. Finally, LOVE that inverted sugar hint! Will be on my 'to do' list nxt time I make ice cream :)

chef_d said...

Oh I didn't know about the invert sugar. I will definitely try that!Thanks :)

Audax Artifex said...

I use thickened cream (cream with added gelatine)freely available in Australia to make ice cream since gelatine prevents ice crystal formation.

Also the glucose present in inverted sugar syrup is substantially more hygroscopic than sucrose. This means that the syrup lends longer-lasting moistness to products than when sucrose is used alone. It is likewise less prone to crystalisation and therefore valued especially by bakers, who refer to inverted sugar syrup as 'trimoline' or 'invert syrup'.

Yes some people had the dryness problem with the cake. I really underwhipped the eggs and the result was a very moist cake.

Still a great job on this challenge.

The Cherub's Craft Blog said...

You should try a semi-freddo, it was delicious and no ice crystals.

Like Audax, I used thickened cream here in Oz and it worked wonderfully.

You cake and icecream looks delicious.

Laurel said...

I had issues with the iciness of the ice cream as well. I will definitely employ your tip about inverted sugar next time!
Fantastic work!