You know what we’ve been missing on this blog?
Aside from a smattering of chocolate chips in Larissa’s pumpkin muffins, our Thanksgiving desserts have been pretty pumpkin-centric. Of course, I didn’t think anyone would mind. Because who doesn’t like pumpkin?
Now, Danny is from Scotland, so that’s a pretty good excuse for anything he does that’s strange and incomprehensible, such as refusing to eat desserts made with pumpkin. But Joe? I think he’s just cranky. How else do you explain the funny look he gave my super delicious frosted pumpkin cookies?
Anyway, I’m sure there are a few other pumpkin haters out there, so this dessert is for them. Just as its name implies, this truffle cake is super rich. If you know anyone who goes bananas for chocolate, give them a slice of this cake. They’ll fall over and die. With a big, chocolate-smeared grin on their face.
Oh, and don’t be scared off by the loooong list of instructions here — it’s actually pretty simple. The recipe does call for a 9-inch round cake pan and a bigger (10-inch or so) cake pan in which to put the 9-inch pan, so if you don’t have either of those, you’ll probably want to head over to a kitchen store and pick them up.
Recipe: Truffle cake
From “The Whimsical Bakehouse” by Kaye Hansen and Liv Hansen
- 8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter
- 6 ounces semisweet chocolate (chopped into small pieces)
- 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate (chopped into small pieces)
- 5 large eggs
- 1 cup sugar (split into 2 half-cups)
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup light corn syrup
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Grease and flour one 9-by-2-inch round pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. (You can trace the bottom of the pan onto the parchment paper and cut it out, or buy pre-cut parchment circles.)
- Put butter and chopped-up chocolate (I used chocolate chips for the semisweet — less chopping) in a heatproof bowl placed over hot water and stir until melted. Cool 5 to 10 minutes.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat eggs, vanilla and ½ cup of the sugar at high speed. Beat until the batter triples in volume and forms a ribbon when the beaters are lifted.
- In a saucepan, heat the other ½ cup of sugar and the corn syrup until boiling.
- Remove from heat and slowly beat the hot syrup into the eggs with the mixer at low speed. Beat at medium speed until the batter reaches the top of the bowl, about 8 minutes.
- Decrease the speed to low and beat in half of the chocolate mixture. Before it is fully incorporated, take of the whisk attachment and fold in the remaining chocolate by hand.
- Pour the batter into the pan. Place the pan into a larger pan and then fill the larger pan halfway with hot water.
- Bake for 40 minutes, until the cake looks set. (The clean-toothpick rule doesn’t apply here, so make sure you don’t overbake it!)
- Cool the cake on a wire rack for 15 to 20 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a cake round. Cool cake completely, then chill before glazing. Serve cake at room temperature.
You can decorate the cake however you like — you don’t have to use the ganache AND the caramel AND the pecans. I do all that because I’m a crazy sugar fiend. But here’s how I assembled my cake, for reference:
I poured the ganache over the cake, making sure the chocolate covered the sides of the cake. I placed about 20 whole toasted pecans in a pattern around the cake’s edge. Then I tossed a couple handfuls of pecans in my trusty mini food processor and chopped them up into small bits. I sprinkled the chopped pecans around the edge of the cake, in between the whole pecans. Then I put some of my cooled caramel in a squeeze bottle (but you can use a spoon, too) and drizzled caramel over the pecans.
Recipe: Chocolate ganache
Adapted from “The Secrets of Baking” by Sherry Yard
- 12 ounces chocolate (I used 8 ounces of bittersweet and 4 ounces of semisweet; adjust according to taste)
- 1½ cups heavy cream
- Chop the chocolate into 1/4-inch pieces (the smaller the pieces, the quicker the chocolate will melt). Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl.
- Bring the cream to a boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. It should rise up and threaten to bubble over.
- Immediately pour the boiling cream over the chopped chocolate. Tap the bowl on the counter to settle the chocolate into the cream, then let it sit for 1 minute.
- Using a rubber spatula, slowly stir in a circular motion, starting from the center of the bowl and working out to the sides. Stir until all chocolate is melted, about 2 minutes.
- Optional: Pour ganache through a mesh strainer to remove any unmelted bits of chocolate.
- Let the ganache sit at room temperature until it cools to 70 degrees Fahrenheit, about 15 minutes. Now the ganache is ready to be poured.
Adapted from “The Magnolia Bakery Cookbook”
- ½ cup cold water
- 1½ cups sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream, at room temperature
- In a medium-size saucepan, combine the water and the sugar. Set over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves (about 3 minutes), making sure no sugar is sticking to the sides of the pan.
- Increase heat to high and boil without stirring, until the syrup becomes a deep amber color. (The recipe says this takes about 15 minutes, but my caramel didn’t turn caramel-colored for about 25. Just make sure to keep an eye on it — when it finally changes color, it happens quick, and if you don’t catch it in time, you’ll burn the caramel.) To prevent the syrup from becoming grainy, use a pastry brush dipped into cold water to brush down any sugar crystals sticking to the sides of the pan. Swirl the pan occasionally for even browning.
- Once the syrup turns deep amber in color, immediately remove from heat. Slowly and carefully add the cream to the syrup (mixture will bubble vigorously), whisking constantly, until cream is incorporated.
- Return pan to medium-low heat, stirring until sauce is smooth, about 1 minute.
- Remove from heat and allow to come to room temperature. The caramel will thicken as it cools.
Recipe: Toasted pecans
- Spread a couple of handfuls of pecans on a baking sheet. Bake at 325 degrees for about 10 to 15 minutes, until pecans are lightly browned and fragrant.
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