Friday, February 8, 2008

Chocolate Cake with Bananas and Curry Cream

When premium chocolate began to appear everywhere and we were able to enjoy really high quality products, many chocolatiers began to produce lots of different flavored and spiced truffles and bars. Some of these experiments were a little off, but many were surprisingly delicious, opening up a new world of recipe development for chefs the world over.

One of the combinations that struck me as interesting was the use of curry with chocolate. It brings a very warm and complex element to the mix, so I thought I’d have a go at a little combination of my own.

I start with master baker Flo Braker’s fabulous Devils Food Cake, which is achingly tender and brimming with the glorious flavor of good cocoa. Unlike Angel Food Cake, which is light and airy from the use of egg whites, Devil’s Food Cake is a butter cake that is dark and rich without being heavy. Both cakes were conceived in the early 1900’s and both are still American favorites.

To the cake I add an array of sautéed bananas and a dollop of curried and sweetened whipped cream. Pretty simple, fun and very satisfying.

Bench notes:

- The composition of curry is as individual as a recipe for mole. Use your favorite blend and vary the amount according to your taste and the freshness of your mix. Start by adding a bit of curry to the sweetened cream and taste. Keep going until the flavor suits you.
- If you don't have buttermilk on hand, you can substitute 1/4 C whole milk to which you have added 3/4 t of white vinegar or lemon juice.
- The high ratio of sugar to butter in the cake recipe requires you to cream the mixture for about 6 to 7 minutes until it is light in color and fluffy in texture. At first you’ll wonder how it’s going to come together but it will. Honest!
- Double the cake recipe and you have the makings of a great layer cake. Finish with ganache and you’re set.

Devil’s Food Cake
adapted from The Simple Art of Perfect Baking by Flo Braker
Makes 1 8” cake

1 C cake flour
1/2 t baking soda
1/8 t salt
1/4 C cocoa powder
1/4 C lukewarm water
2 oz (4 T) butter @ room temperature
1/2 C granulated sugar
1/2 C brown sugar
1 t vanilla
1 egg @ room temperature
1/4 C buttermilk @ room temperature
1/4 C water

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare an 8” cake pan with butter, parchment and a light dusting of flour.

Sift together flour, baking soda and salt.
Whisk cocoa and water together until thoroughly blended.
Combine buttermilk, vanilla and water.

Cream butter and slowly add sugars. Cream mixture until light and fluffy, about 6 to 7 minutes on a stand mixer. Stop and scrape down the bowl at regular intervals.
Add egg and blend well. Scrape down the bowl.
Add cocoa mixture and combine thoroughly.
Gently add dry ingredients in 3 additions, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Stop mixing just before it is fully blended and finish by folding gently with a rubber spatula until there are no streaks. Be careful not to overmix. Pour into prepared pan and smooth batter evenly.

Bake @ 350 for 20 to 25 minutes or until a toothpick tests with a few moist crumbs adhering. Cool 10 minutes. Run a thin bladed knife around the edges to loosen and turn out the cake. Cool completely.

Sautéed Bananas
4 ripe bananas
1 T butter
brown sugar, to taste

Slice bananas. Melt butter and add sugar. Add bananas and sauté a few minutes over low heat until softened just a bit.

Curry Cream
1 C heavy cream, chilled
1 T sugar
curry powder, to taste

Combine cream and sugar and curry powder to taste and whip to soft peak.

To assemble, plate a piece of cake and garnish with bananas and cream.


Anonymous said...

Hmmm...sounds really good.

In East Indian cooking the spices are usually toasted slightly to dull the raw edge and bring out the flavours.

pastry studio said...

Yes, that's a good reminder. I'm going to post a recipe for garam masala at some point for a chocolate curry truffle and will remember that. Thank you!

Kevin said...

This sounds really good. I like the idea of the curried cream.

pastry studio said...

Kevin, thanks so much for stopping by. I just visited your blog and OMG, that edamame salad looks fantastic. I'm going to try it tonight. Great blog.

Anonymous said...

Dark chocolate cake
Recherche, taste akimbo.
Playful curry cream

pastry studio said...

Beautiful, really beautiful.