Rose's Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum (John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2009) is a 2010 IACP Cookbook awards finalist in the Baking: Savory or Sweet category. For a list of all the finalists check out the Project Foodie IACP Finalists' Guide.
Today we're kicking off Project Foodie's IACP Cookbook Award Finalists profile series with one of my personal favorites - Rose's Heavenly Cakes by Rose Levy Beranbaum.
While I made cakes from scratch before getting my hands on this book, my cake baking has definitely been propelled forward knowing that Rose's clear instructions and guiding voice are only an arm's reach away. The recipes are detailed, but approachable, and the mix of great pictures and enticing recipe head notes lures you into making more and more cakes.
The Chocolate Banana Stud Cake (recipe below) is a great example of how luring the recipes are. This cake not only has a great ingredient combination with bananas and chocolate, but it also has great visual appeal with all those chocolate chip studs.
For more on Rose's Heavenly Cakes check out my review with the recipe for Lemon Poppy Seed-Sour Cream Cake.
Chocolate Banana Stud Cake
From Rose's Heavenly Cakes by by Rose Levy Beranbaum (John Wiley & Sons, Inc, 2009)
SERVES: 8 to 10
BAKING TIME: 35 to 45 minutes
Although this is a fun and easy cake to make and decorate, I'd be lying if I said it was quick: Studding the frosting with chocolate chips takes a bit of time. It's a great project for kids to help with, provided they don't eat most of the chocolate chips as they are putting them on the cake! To save time, another attractive option is to use fewer chocolate chips and leave more space between them. Banana makes an excellent addition to this chocolate cake because it adds moistness, a dense texture, and blends well with the three chocolate flavors of the cake, frosting, and chocolate chips.
PLAN AHEAD Make the ganache several hours before using.
|Batter ||Volume ||Weight || |
|unsweetened (alkalized) cocoa powder ||½ cup plus 1 tablespoon (sifted before measuring)|| 1.5 ounces/42 grams|| |
|boiling water||¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (3 fluid ounces)||3 ounces/88 grams|| |
|1 large ripe banana, peeled and lightly mashed ||½ cup||4 ounces/112 grams|| |
|sour cream||¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons||3.2 ounces/90 grams|| |
|2 large eggs, at room temperature||¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons (3 fluid ounces)||3.5 ounces /100 grams|| |
|pure vanilla extract||¾ teaspoon|| || |
|cake flour (or bleached all-purpose flour) ||1½ cups plus 1 tablespoon (or 1¹?³ cups), sifted into the cup and leveled off||5.5 ounces/156 grams|| |
|superfine sugar ||1 cup||7 ounces/200 grams|| |
|baking soda ||1 teaspoon|| || |
|baking powder ||¾ teaspoon || || |
|salt ||¼ teaspoon|| || |
|unsalted butter (65° to 75°F/19° to 23°C) ||10 tablespoons (1 stick plus 2 tablespoons)||5 ounces/142 grams5|| |
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT: One 9 by 2-inch round cake pan, encircled with a cake strip, bottom coated with shortening, topped with a parchment round, then coated with baking spray with flour.
MIX THE COCOA AND WATER: In a medium bowl, whisk the cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent evaporation and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. To speed cooling, place it in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature before proceeding.
PREHEAT THE OVEN: Twenty minutes or more before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F/175°C.
MIX THE LIQUID INGREDIENTS: In a food processor, process the banana and sour cream until smooth. Pulse in the cocoa mixture, eggs, and vanilla and process briefly just to blend.
MAKE THE BATTER: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and half the banana-cocoa mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Starting on medium-low speed, gradually add the remaining banana-cocoa mixture in two parts, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. The batter will be light but creamy. Using a silicone spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface evenly with a small offset spatula.
BAKE THE CAKE: Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until a wire cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven.
COOL AND UNMOLD THE CAKE: Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a small metal spatula between the sides of the pan and the cake, pressing firmly against the pan, and invert the cake onto a wire rack that has been coated lightly with nonstick cooking spray. To prevent splitting, reinvert the cake so that the top side is up.
Ganache Studded with Chocolate Chips
MAKES: 1¾ cups/16.5 ounces/466 grams
| ||Volume ||Weight|
|dark chocolate, 60% to 62% cacao, chopped || ||8 ounces/227 grams|
|heavy cream||1 cup (8 fluid ounces)|| |
|pure vanilla extract||2 teaspoons|| |
|liqueur of your choice or extra cream (optional) ||2 tablespoons||1 ounce/28 grams|
|chocolate chips, preferably Guittard bittersweet||2 cups||11.5 ounces/325 grams|
MAKE THE GANACHE: In a food processor, process the dark chocolate until very fine. In a 2-cup or larger microwavable cup with a spout (or in a medium saucepan over medium heat, stirring often), scald the cream (heat it to the boiling point; small bubbles will form around the periphery).
With the motor of the food processor running, pour the cream through the feed tube in a steady stream. Process for a few seconds until smooth. Pulse in the vanilla and liqueur or cream, if using. Scrape the ganache into a glass bowl and let it sit for 1 hour. Cover it with plastic wrap and allow it to cool at room temperature for several hours, until the mixture reaches frosting consistency. The ganache keeps for 3 days at room temperature, for 3 weeks refrigerated, and for 6 months frozen.
COMPOSE THE CAKE: When the cake is completely cool, spread a little ganache onto a 9-inch cardboard round or serving plate and set it on top. If using the plate, slide a few wide strips of wax paper or parchment under the cake to keep the rim of the plate clean. Frost the top and sides of the cake with the ganache.
Stud the cake all over with chocolate chips, pointed ends in. It will take about 45 minutes to place the chips close together. Fewer chips more widely spaced also are very attractive. Or, if desired, form a design with a combination of dark and milk chocolate or peanut butter chips. If using the paper strips, slowly slide them out from under the cake before serving.
Disclosure: Review copies of books discussed in this post may have been provided to Project Foodie by publicists and/or publishers.