Tuesday, June 10, 2008

This Could Happen To You, Too

Been bitching and moaning about how much life has been a roller coaster since right after Christmas up until a few weeks ago. BUT the problem is that I know all of that to be true...after all I lived it...but the actual memory of specifics that made it such a roller coaster are scattered like thistle down. This could happen to you (or might have already).

I'd like to think that it is the fast paced life I live that caused this situation, but the truth is probably that my brains is too stuffed to accept any more...and I can't find the delete key. The good news is that I know a lot of the experiences were very positive ones, the bad news is that there were some difficulties and stresses and sad happenings thrown in, too. Driving home from work today I decided to do a mini-journal to tack on the end of posts as a way to keep a little better track of the day to day passing scene.

Before we get to today's mini-journal, it's time to revisit the Sin City Cake. This recipe is based upon one in the book Chocolate Cake by Michele Urvater. This book has bunches of great chocolate cake recipes, plus icings, sauces, decorations...the works! I made a half recipe last November and made a few changes, reflected in the recipe below.

It was so memorable that Dr. Wise requested a full cake as part of the party last Saturday. The reviews were all positive and so I thought it might be good to post it again. This time I made it with some of the quince jelly that I made last fall. There was no poached fruit this time, just cake, jelly, whipped cream, cake, jelly, whipped cream, cake, chocolate ganache. Just! I'm still drooling days later just at the thought of how wonderful it was. The cake was dense and fudgy, but still tender. The jelly brought out the best in the semi-sweet and bitter-sweet chocolate. Whipped cream is always a treat. When you want to impress, make this cake!

Sin City Cake

2 ½ cups cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups plus 1 tablespoon (1 pound) superfine sugar
4 large eggs
8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
2 cups water or regular coffee

8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
8 ounces heavy cream

Quince jelly – about 6-8 ounces

1 pint heavy whipping cream, whipped

For the cake:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Lightly grease and flour three 9 x 1.5-inch round cake pans, tap out the excess, and line the bottoms with parchment or greased and floured waxed paper circles. (Note from Elle: If you combine some cocoa with the flour for dusting the pans, your cake will have a nice chocolate edge to it.)

Sift the flour with the baking powder, baking soda, and salt twice, and set it aside.
With an electric mixer on low speed (or with a stationary mixer fitted with the paddle attachment), beat the butter for 1 minute, or until light. Slowly add the sugar, about 2 tablespoons at a time, and when all of it has been added, continue to beat on medium speed for about 2 minutes, scraping down the beaters and sides of the bowl as needed. The mixture will look like fluffy wet sand.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 10 seconds between additions, or until absorbed by the butter. Add the chocolate, scrape down the beaters and sides of the bowl, and beat for 1 minute longer, or until light and smooth.

With a large rubber spatula, fold the sifted ingredients into the batter in four additions, alternating with the water (or coffee) in three additions. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 1 minute, or until the mixture looks smooth.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pans, smooth the tops with a rubber or small offset spatula, and rap the pans sharply on the counter to break up any large air bubbles. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center comes out dry.

Remove the cakes from the oven and cool them to room temperature in their pans on a wire rack. Unmold, peel off the paper circles, and frost when the cakes are cool. Serves 16.

For the Ganache
Set the chopped chocolate in a mixing bowl.

Pour on the cream and mix well.

At half power in the microwave, heat the mixture for a minute. Stir well. Repeat until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. Let the ganache stand and come to room temperature before using.

Elle’s notes: As usual I didn’t follow the recipe exactly. as it was written. I added the jelly and the whipped cream between each of the layers. The top and sides were covered with ganache. It was so hot in the kitchen on Saturday that the ganache was too thin at first.

So you had cake layer, jelly and whipped cream, cake layer, jelly and whipped cream, cake layer, and ganache. I beat the whipped cream fairly stiff so that it would hold up under the weight of the cake. I piped it on top of the jelly, then spread it out to the edges.


  1. Ah could we make it vegan for a wedding . . . well maybe I'll just have to make it for the meat eaters ;)) still drooling . . . that sounds good.
    Lush photos!

  2. Oh you are killing me with the adding of the quince jelly. I am so needing that cake.

  3. Tanna, I'm sure you could make it vegan, although I'm not sure how, but this version is pretty darn delish.

    Peabody, I only have a little of the jelly left, but now I know why I need to make more next fall.

  4. I have never thought of using quince jelly with a chocolate cake. Inspired!!!

  5. Elle, I remember Michelle Urvater from the early Food Network days, when it was about food and real chefs instad of entertainers/ment! That said, this cake looks and sounds amazing. I've made several homemade jams and jellies the past two weeks (first timer, and they worked lol( and quince sounds so tempting. I'm close to going out and getting some just so I can make this cake as you did! Beautiful and so tempting!