Saturday, February 28, 2009

February Daring Baker ~ Flourless Chocolate cake and Vanilla Ice Cream!

I have two posts today -- Pink Saturday is below this February Daring Baker Challenge

The first of the month is always exciting as I sign into the Daring Baker Forum, sign in with my password and click on the section that has the new challenge for the month! This is what I saw when I signed in on February first:

"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."

A flourless chocolate cake and homemade ice cream! A double challenge for two delicious tastes, and a perfect dessert to prepare for Valentine's Day. I was very excited about this month's challenge!

We were given two recipes to choose from for vanilla ice cream but told we could make it any flavor we desired. I actually love vanilla ice cream so I decided to keep the original flavor and I used the first recipe which could be made without an ice cream maker. I was very happy with the results! The ice cream was creamy and smooth.

The recipe comes from the Ice Cream Book by Joanna Farrow and Sara Lewis (tested modifications and notes in parentheses by Dharm)


1 Vanilla Pod (or substitute with vanilla extract)

300ml / ½ pint / 1 ¼ cups Semi Skimmed Milk – in the U.S. this is 2% fat (or use fresh full fat milk that is pasteurized and homogenized {as opposed to canned or powdered}). Dharm used whole milk.

4 large egg yolks

75g / 3oz / 6 tbsp caster sugar {superfine sugar can be achieved in a food processor or use regular granulated sugar}

5ml / 1 tsp corn flour {cornstarch}

300ml / ½ pint / 1 ¼ cups Double Cream (48% butterfat) {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 heavy cream as soon as whisk marks appear in the cream, in a slow steady stream, with the mixer on low speed. Raise speed and continue whipping the cream) or use heavy cream the difference will be in the creaminess of the ice cream.

1. Using a small knife slit the vanilla pod lengthwise. 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 flavors 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 heat, 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. 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)

Using an Ice Cream Maker: Stir the cream into the custard and churn the mixture until thick (follow instructions on your ice cream maker)

The Chocolate Valentino Cake
Preparation Time: 20 minutes


16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped --the better the quality of the chocolate the better the taste of your cake!

½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) 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. {link of folding demonstration}

8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C

9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant-read thermometer reads 140F/60C. 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.

I made my cakes in assorted small heart molds and one ramekin and decorated them with a confectioner's sugar icing and red sugar sprinkles to give them a holiday appearance.

I had enough to give the larger hearts to my Mom, and to a friend, and I saved the smaller ones for my husband and me to enjoy.

Both the ice cream and the chocolate cakes were divine! The cake was dense, fudgy, and "melt in the mouth" good! They were even better the next day as their fudginess seemed to increase with time.

The ice cream recipe made about a pint, and we've been savoring a little bit of it at a time as it is very creamy and rich.

Thanks, Wendy and Dharm! These are definitely recipes I'll use again and again. If you are looking for an extra special dessert I encourage you to try them.
If you would like to see wonderful versions of the cake and ice cream, made by other members of The Daring Bakers, check the links on the Daring Bakers blogroll to visit other blogs.
There is also an open forum for general baking discussions here, but you have to be a member of Daring Bakers in order to register to log in to see a special section that has each month's challenge and any discussions regarding it.
If you think you are up to taking the monthly challenge the instructions are on the Daring Baker blog sidebar as how to join!
Don't delay, as there is only a 24-hour time limit to join every month for the next month's challenge, and you will be sent a secret password in an e-mail to read the next challenge on the forum.
I hope to see you during the March Daring Baker Challenge!
Please check out my Pink Saturday post below -- thanks!
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Catherine said...

It is hard to surpass homemade vanilla ice cream! When my husband and I were young and broke we stayed home and made ice cream with an ice cream bucket that we had to crank. I will definitely try the chocolate cake recipe too.

steviewren said...

I've never made ice cream, but I was surprised to see Corn flour as one of the ingredients. That was unexpected.

Both deserts look delicious. Your husband is lucky to have such a good cook as a wife....I wouldn't mind having my own cook!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Neat, Pat! I just don't know how you can bake like this. Everything you do turns out great! Kudos on a job well done!


Sheila :-)

Jojo said...

Thank you for an ice cream recipe that doesn't require an ice cream maker! For some weird reason we are expecting snow but this looks like a fun thing to make with my granddaughters this spring.

Junie Moon said...

What an awesome job you've done with February's challenge. As a new Daring Baker (thanks to you and your January post about the group), I appreciate the pictures you've posted to illustrate some of the steps -- very helpful. I've posted my own endeavors today, too, and have been running amok on the Internet reading as many Daring Bakers blog posts as possible.

Laura @ the shorehouse. said...

I just tried to leave a comment and something went if you get many comments from me, I apologize (not that you don't deserve many comments for this delicious post! :-)

Your hearts came out so puffy! You must be an excellent batter folder. :-) And I made a chantilly sort-of cream; I didn't think we'd eat the ice cream and didn't want to waste all of that product. But you did the "freezer version" (non-machine) and it looks terrific...I'll have to give it a whirl next time.

Have a great weekend!

Lorrie said...

Pat this is just divine! It just does not get any better than homemade ice cream and chocolate cake. This was a great baking challenge!

Your little Leo is just such a sweetie. He's growing so fast!

Barb said...

All I can say is yum....Barb

Nola said...

I cannot even imagine a cake without flour! That will go on my "to do" list, for sure.

Sue said...

Homemade vanilla ice cream....what could be's like a birthday party!! My daughter joined in this month and I haven't heard yet how she faired....

a quiet life said...

looks delish, i love chocolate any which way!

Tara said...

Gosh, Pat, I am salivating!! You make such wonderful goodies for your family! And little Leo is blooming!

Unknown said...

Wow Pat, it's Sunday morning and my tummy's growling, if ever I had a chance to go to NY to visit you, please cook for me..though I cant promise I wont eat much haha. Happy weekend Pat :D

Just A Girl said...

Oh this looks so good Pat! I have a recipe for flourless chocolate cake and I just love it, but maybe I'll have to try this one. Could you save me a slice?

Proud Italian Cook said...

The way you described the taste of these makes me want to whip some up for my upcoming wedding anniversary! You can't go wrong with dense choclate, right? Great job Pat!

Vee said...

Ohhh, that sounds very good and the cake, at least, sounds easy. I'd love to give this a try.

Camille said...

Your cakes look fantastic! Perfect hearts. Great job with this months challenge. Wasn't it so easy? I'm making it again.


Brenda said...

What a delight...thanks for sharing!

Arlene Delloro said...

What a wonderful tutorial you've created, Pat. Loved your presentation.

Marina Capano said...

Hi!!Both deserts look delicious!! so yummy!


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