Happy birthday, John!!! Our youngest is now identical-twin terrible-twos, the big 22.
Around here, when it’s a family member’s birthday and they are not in town, we bake a cake in their honor anyway.
And it’s also a tradition that when I bake a chocolate torte, I always bake two.
Okay, so, one went to Sam yesterday, the second one,Â someone else has dibs on, meaning a little bit of baking, a lot of chocolate smells, but then no torte for me–but there is more cream, so, hey, we can fix that.
On a side note, the specialty place where I’ve always bought the manufacturing cream stopped selling it in small quantities, rumor being that they got told that pouring it off into quarts and pints in-store was not kosher.Â But who would want an entire half-gallon of the stuff? So they discontinued it entirely.
When you have been making your signature dessert for 20 years and an essential ingredient suddenly disappears from the market, you have to do something.Â I sent off an email to the owner of the Milk Pail Market; I had to at least try to talk them into reconsidering.
I gather I’m not the only one who spoke up.Â I imagine the fact that I actually gave the man one of my chocolate tortes once didn’t hurt, and nudging his attention to the extinction of that cake, likewise. (I know, breaking my arm patting myself on the back and all that.)
Because:Â around Christmas there was a small handwritten sign on one of their refrigerator doors saying that due to popular demand, manufacturing cream was now back.Â Woohooo!
And so.Â I bought a half gallon (again) a few days ago.Â Heavy whipping cream is 32% butterfat, manufacturing cream, depending on the cow and the season, 40-42%.
‘Scuse me, the oven’s beeping…Â The third torte might go to the church dinner Tuesday night (renegade that I am–they said they wanted cupcakes) but that fourth one stays right here.Â John, we will eat a torte in your honor.Â Maybe not all at once.Â Â Happy Birthday!!
For those who missed it the first time, here’s the recipe with a few extra notes thrown in.Â If you have to use ordinary heavy cream, avoid the ones with any kind of preservatives, additives, or sugar in them.
If you have any cream left over after all this, melt more chocolate into it and, warm, it’s the best chocolate sauce, refrigerated, a ganache.
Alison Hydeâ€™s chocolate torteâ€“makes two
(NOTE added 12/13/10: I have two wire whisk attachments for my Kitchenaid; if you only have one set of beaters, beat the egg whites first before the other mixture or the whites won’t fluff up.)
Snap out the bottoms of two 8â€³ springform pans (flat bottomed preferred). Cover bottoms with foil, snap them back in, butter the sides and the foil-covered bottoms.
Melt 1 lb. butter, beat with 3 c. sugar, 1/4 tsp salt and 2 tsp bourbon vanilla
Add in 1/2 c. manufacturing cream, 6 egg yolks, beat till fairly light.
Add in: 1 1/3 c. cocoa that has been mixed with 1 c. flour till any lumps are smoothed out. Dutch process cocoa will give you a different flavor from that of Hershey cocoa; my favorite is Bergenfieldâ€™s Colonial Rosewood cocoa. The non-dutched cocoas are healthier and I think taste better; dutching is usually done on lower-quality cacao beans.
Beat separately till stiff: 6 egg whites and 1/4 tsp. cream of tartar. Underbeating is better than overbeating.
Fold egg whites into chocolate mixture. Put in the two pans and bake at 350 for 42-45 minutes. Center will not be solid and cracking should appear. Run a knife carefully around outer edges; cake will fall, and the top will be more even ifÂ it falls in one piece. (On the other hand, since it will become the bottom of the torte, this step is not exactly essential.)
Cool at least an hour. Loosen springform sides and remove. Put a plate on bottom of each cake and flip over. Peel off pan bottoms, then the foil. Glaze when cool.
GLAZE for two cakes:
Chop one Trader Joeâ€™s Pound Plus Belgian bittersweet chocolate bar (500 g) and melt with 1 1/3 to 1 1/2 c. manufacturing cream. The tradeoff in the amount of cream is whether you want to sculpt it to hold deeper J-strokes (use lesser amount) or thinner, with a slightly lighter texture (use greater amount, and is as is shown in the picture.)Â Use a double boiler or microwave. Try not to incorporate extra air in as you stir. Also, it is important that every edge of every piece of chocolate be fully dunked down in the cream before heating or that piece of chocolate could possibly seize into a hardened, unmeltable lump with the combination of liquid and heat. You heard it here first: chocolate is very wool-like–it can, in effect, felt from that same combination of factors as wool. Unless you dunk it first.
When glazing a cake, first, I pour it into the center of the two.Â I quickly first scoot it towards the edges to make some of it fall down the sides in waves.Â Then, I make a backwards J from the center, turn the cake slightly, repeat all the way around.
(Ed. to add 10/26/10: for those who have one nearby, Smart and Final stores currently carry manufacturing cream too.)
(Ed. to add 1/22/11: I put a thermometer in my oven today, and with the thing set at 350, it was actually reading 325 both at the beginning and end of the 42 minutes.)
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