Saturday, February 28, 2009

February Daring Bakers Challenge-- Chocolate Valentino Cake & Vanilla Ice Cream

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.

Be sure to check out other Daring Bakers creations!

This month's challenge is responsible for any weight I've gained this month.

*licking the spoon/pan/rubber spatula from the custard for the ice cream
*licking the beaters/bowl from the whipping cream (that I *added* fat content to... don't most people want less fat? Here I am increasing the fat content intentionally!)
*licking the spoon/bowl/rubber spatula from the custard/whipping cream combination
*licking both beaters after I had to whip the freezing ice cream
*licking the beaters again after I had to whip the freezing ice cream a second time
*licking the spoon while melting the chocolate and butter together for the cake
*licking the spoon again just because the chocolate/butter combo tasted so good the first time
*licking the spoon/spatula and pan clean after transferring the chocolate mixture to a bowl to cool
*licking the bowl after folding in the egg whites and transferring batter to the cake pan
*licking the spoon/pan/spatula after making hot fudge to use on my presentation platter
*licking the funnel that was used to transfer the hot fudge from the pan to a squeeze bottle
*eating (not licking) the scrap pieces of milk chocolate and white chocolate candy hearts I made for accessories to the cake and ice cream (I don't even like white chocolate but still ate those scraps)
*eating the scraps after cutting a small heart shape out of the larger heart shape
*licking the spoon that was used to dollop some homemade raspberry jam onto the plate
*eating a piece of the finished product; it will be virtually impossible to make it through the month without gaining a pound.

I found this months challenge to be exciting! I was more nervous excited to make the homemade ice cream than a flourless cake. The cake directions seemed cut and dry... and with the small amount of ingredients, how could you go wrong? I was a little disappointed in the taste of the final result (of the cake); it was not nearly sweet enough for my liking and instead was far too bitter. I used semi-sweet chocolate and will use milk chocolate next time. That was a bummer to not like the taste of the cake, but the presentation was fun and the texture of it was surprising. It was like biting into a cloud!

I also didn't care for the ice cream-- which means it was good ice cream! Confused? Let me explain... Not only do I not like semi-sweet chocolate, but I don't like ice cream (I know, what is wrong with me?). You will never find me just scooping up a bowl of ice cream to eat, regardless of the flavor or toppings.

I thought I would like this ice cream because you first needed to make a custard, and I loved the custard. I could have eaten the whole thing! Then you needed to make whipped cream, and I loved the whipped cream. Then all you had to do was combine the two and freeze..... and if I loved the custard and loved the whipped cream, one would think that I would have loved the result of the two of them together. But I didn't. It tasted like ice cream!

Which means that the recipe is a good one-- because it resulted in ice cream tasting like ice cream.

Here are the two simple recipes for this months challenge. I think they make a beautiful presentation together and perhaps even taste good together....

Chocolate Valentino
Preparation Time: 20 minutes


16 ounces (1 pound) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated


1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.

2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.

3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.

4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).

5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.

6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.

7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.

8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F

9. Bake for 25 minutes or until an instant read thermometer reads 140F
Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.

10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Here is my unmolded cake-- it sinks quite a bit as you can see:

Classic Vanilla Ice Cream
Preparation Time: 30 minutes


1 Vanilla Pod (or substitute with 1 tsp vanilla extract)
1 ¼ cups whole milk
4 large egg yolks
6 tbsp caster sugar {superfine sugar can be achieved in a food processor or use regular granulated sugar}
1 tsp cornstarch
1 ¼ cups Double Cream (48% butter fat) {in the U.S. heavy cream is 37% fat*)

{*you can easily increase your cream's fat content by heating 1/4 cup of heavy cream with 3 Tbs of butter until melted - cool to room temperature and add to the 1.5 cups heavy cream .)


1. Using a small knife slit the vanilla pod length ways. Pour the milk into a heavy based saucepan, add the vanilla pod and bring to the boil. Remove from heat and leave for 15 minutes to allow the flavours to infuse
Lift the vanilla pod up. Holding it over the pan, scrape the black seeds out of the pod with a small knife so that they fall back into the milk. SET the vanilla pod aside and bring the milk back to the boil.

2. Whisk the egg yolks, sugar and corn-flour in a bowl until the mixture is thick and foamy.

3. Gradually pour in the hot milk, whisking constantly. Return the mixture to the pan and cook over a gentle hear, stirring all the time.

4. When the custard thickens and is smooth, pour it back into the bowl. Cool it then chill.

5. By Hand: Whip the cream until it has thickened but still falls from a spoon. Fold it into the custard and pour into a plastic tub or similar freeze-proof container.

I was surprised at how much this already looked like (melted) ice cream, even before it made it's way into the freezer!

Freeze for 6 hours or until firm enough to scoop, beating it twice (during the freezing process – to get smoother ice cream or else the ice cream will be icy and coarse. I used a hand beater to whip mine at the 2 hour and 4 hour marks.)


lisa (dandysugar) said...

What an adorably sweet cake!

Sweet Bird said...

Just remember, anything you eat standing up doesn't count!

Lillian said...

I love how you decorated yours -- it's just lovely. I used dark chocolate too, and like you, I would have preferred milk.

Amy said...

What a beautiful presentation! Great job on this challenge.

TeaLady said...

Looks like you have this challenge 'licked'. Great job. Love the presentation.

breadchick said...

Did you read that part of the bylaws of Daring Bakers? There are no calories in any of our challenges!

Sorry you didn't like the cake but you did a lovely job with it.

Jo said...

Great job on your challenge and love your plating.

Dharm said...

Your cake came out just lovely and I love the way you decorated it! You like custard and cream but dont like ice cream??!! Thanks for joining us on this challenge!