Thursday, February 26, 2009

Daring Bakers Challenge... cake and ice cream!

Somehow I ended up going for the cliche on this one, and I made this on Valentine's day. Now it's been a couple of weeks so I need to emotionally recreate the evening for myself. You can come along too.

OK, OK, here we go...
My friend Molly was coming back from Istanbul, and her mom and brother came over too. Joey fulfilled his constant fantasy of valentine's day lasagne by making it himself, and then we at cake and ice cream.

It was very good.
All of it.

The next day there was more cake, luckily, because the kids slept through the first time. It was still very good.

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.

Although the hosts provided an ice cream recipe, they also encouraged creativity in this part of the challenge. I had a freshly borrowed copy of David Lebovitz's Ice Cream Bible for food bloggers, and I went delving there. Somehow I ended up at Anise Ice cream, which sounds not so delicious to me, but in his golden pages David said that I should try it with chocolate and it would blow my mind, so there I landed. I felt very daring.

Let me say here that this is a cake that should be in everyone's repetoire. It is easy and really amazing if you are a chocolate person. So after you finish reading this, go buy yourself a large hunk of chocolate and make this cake.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped (I used dark chocolate, but you can be creative here)
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.

David Lebovitz was entirely right about the anise ice cream. It's subtle, and has a fantastic texture, and it brings out the flavor of the chocolate. I have a licorice hating family, and everyone gobbled this one.

Anise Ice Cream from The Perfect Scoop by David Lebovitz

makes one quart

2 tsp anise seeds
2 c heavy cream
1 c whole milk
2/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 T honey
pinch of salt
5 large egg yolks

Toast the anise seeds over moderate heat in a medium saucepan for about 3 minutes, or until they become fragrant. Pour in one cup of the cream, then add the milk, sugar, honey and salt. Heat until warm, then cover, remove from heat, and let steep at room temperature for 1 hour.

Rewarm the anise infused milk mixture. Pour the remaining 1 cup cream into a large bowl and set a mesh strainer over the top. In a separate medium bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm anise infused milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.

Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer and stir it into the cream. Discard the anise seeds and stir until cool over an ice bath.

Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze in your ice cream maker.


  1. I agree with you - everyone should make this cake. It's impressive and easy. Great job!

  2. Your photos look great especially the one with your daughers eating the cake!

  3. Yum, this looks amazing! That ice cream sounds really interesting.

  4. If Lebovitz says it'll blow your mind, you have to try it :) I have, it is mind blowing, and I 'usually' don't flip over the flavor of star anise (it really depends on the prep it's used in) Great job on your cake too!

  5. I still don't have an ice cream maker, but your post makes me want to buy one. Great photos. Adorable kiddies.

  6. Great job on this month's challenge!

  7. Very well done! Your dessert looks delicious!



  8. your cake looks delish! David Lebovitz is truly a genious. His ice cream is sooooooo good

  9. Great job on the challenge. You are indeed daring & very adventurous too. The ice-cream must have been wonderful. The little girls seem to be really enjoying the treat!