Saturday, January 4, 2014

Frosted Coconut Milk Fudge Cake

Welcome to 2014! What a number that is.

I'm not a resolution-maker myself. I never have been. I am a constant learner though, and I always try to be a wiser person, lend a hand, cook new cuisines, try new ingredients and challenge my baking skills on a daily basis.

I think the key is to constantly challenge yourself in little ways and make long-term goals rather than make a big abrupt announcement once a year. I may not succeed each and every time, but at least it keeps me on my toes!

This incredibly rich and son of chocolate cake is a stellar way to start off the year in my books.

First you'll be surprised at how easy it is to make.

Then you'll be surprised at how much remains in the pan after you’ve picked up the spoon.

Do not reach for a spoon while the cake is in the pan! This is what I call machine gun spooning – it fires uncontrollably and before you know it, the cake has been attacked. It’s a disaster. Just put away the weapon. It’s the only case where a knife is safer than a spoon. So, grab a knife, cut out a reasonable slice, sit down with a cup of tea and don’t eat from the pan. I warned you.

Don’t mistake this rich dense chocolatey cake for a brownie, because you know I would never put frosting on a brownie. Never.

But this cake, this cake needs this frosting. There’s coconut milk inside and on top. In the cake it comes through so subtly that you might not even notice it there, but in the ganache it is brilliant.

Ganache is a silky smooth combination of two ingredients: cream and chocolate. In this case we use coconut cream and the result is luscious. The high melting point of the fat fraction in coconut cream means that it requires more energy to melt when it lands on your tongue. This use of energy (heat) means that your mouth will actually cool down as you’re eating, creating an icy effect! Remember Icy Squares? Those square-shaped chocolates wrapped in different colours & gold foil sold in a plastic cylinder? Those were full of hydrogenated fat and I was shamefully addicted.

Coconut milk is a great addition to your baking repertoire. There is something that you need to know about it first… Like dairy, it comes as “milk” and “cream”.

Cream has a higher fat content than milk and you know this by reading the total fat per 100g listed on the nutritional panel on the label. The best quality coconut milks and creams have the highest fat content, period. The rest is water, sugar and sometimes thickeners and flavour extracts.

For this recipe you want thick cream, especially for the ganache. Now, you can get this from a can of coconut cream, but you can also use coconut milk. That’s because coconut milk is not homogenized like dairy milk is and this means that it separates on standing, forming two layers: the fat floats to the top (it is less dense than water) and the water sinks to the bottom. If all you have is a can of coconut milk then you can scrape off the top creamy bit and use that for this recipe. Just don’t shake the can!

What is homogenization? A process where milkfat globules in dairy milk are physically broken down under high pressure to form very small droplets that become individually suspended in the liquid to form a uniform emulsion and are less prone to separating out.

So Happy New Year my dear friends!
I hope you bake 16.4% more than last year, share 50.6% more and smile as often as you can.

Start with this cake. It will cover all three!

Frosted Coconut Milk Fudge Cake
Makes an 8x8” pan of love

For the cake:
¼ cup (56 g) unsalted butter
170 g/6oz semi-sweet chocolate (50-55% cocoa), chopped
1 cup (200 g) sugar
1 large egg
½ cup coconut cream
¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
¾ cup (107 g) all-purpose flour
½ cup (42 g) cocoa powder
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking powder

For the frosting:
½ cup coconut cream
150 g/5 ¼ oz semi-sweet chocolate (50-55% cocoa), chopped

Preheat your oven to 325°F/165°C. Line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper and set aside.

In a medium heatproof bowl set over a saucepan with 1 inch of simmering water, melt butter and chocolate together. Remove bowl from over the saucepan and stir in sugar followed by the egg until smooth.

If using a can of coconut milk, open the can (do not shake) and spoon off only the top portion which is the creamy bit. Do not use the clear liquid underneath. Stir this coconut cream and vanilla extract into the chocolate batter. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, salt and baking powder and then stir it into the wet mixture until well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a tester comes out mostly clean with a few sticky bits attached, about 35 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely.

While the cake is baking, make the frosting by heating the coconut cream in a small saucepan over low heat until it comes to a boil. Add chopped chocolate and let stand 3 minutes. Stir until smooth and glossy. Place the pan over very low heat and stir constantly if necessary to melt any pieces of solid chocolate. Let cool until spreading consistency, about 30 minutes, and then spread over cooled cake.

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