With the word “decadent” in its name, the last cake of the course promised to be a stunning finale. We began by chopping up 900 grams (two pounds) of semisweet Lindt couverture chocolate. For purposes of comparison, consider that a chocolate bar is typically anywhere from 40 to 50 grams. I melted the chocolate and some butter over a double boiler, which, unfortunately, had too much water in it. You only want enough water to generate steam: too much liquid in the pot means it will take longer to boil. After the mixture was melted, I stirred in egg yolks while my partner whipped the whites with cream of tartar and sugar. Folding the two together in stages, we also added a smidgen of bread flour. Chef said it helps to provide structure, but since the amount is miniscule, it doesn't make a whole lot of difference, and its omission leads to a flourless cake.
We poured the batter into two parchment-lined 9" cake pans (Chef used three 7" ones) and I made the mistake of tapping the pans on the counter. The Chef's assistant pointed out that I would be deflating the foam from the egg whites. Instead, the right way to smooth out the batter was to spin the pan, or shake it gently. Our instructor baked them for exactly 15 minutes in a hot oven. The edges rose a little bit and the centre sunk, which is normal. We took a long break while the cakes went into the freezer to cool.more…
After depanning, the final touch was to cover the cake in a chocolate glaze, which we made by melting chocolate, butter and corn syrup together. Chef piped out some simple patterns on the top; she wanted to keep it simple. This cake is incredibly rich and intense: anything larger than a very small slice would be difficult to finish. Imagine the centre of a chocolate truffle and that's exactly what this cake tastes like.
After class, another classmate and I went for dim sum with our instructor. We had an enjoyable time chatting about the George Brown courses and instructors, baking, and the food industry, especially about the Health Canada regulations on food labelling. At the wholesale bakery where Chef works, some of the national grocery chains they supply have told them they must provide nutritional information on all their products, per the amendments. The cost of sending a product to a laboratory for analysis is in the hundreds of dollars, and smaller businesses may not be able to afford this. Health Canada's changes were made in 2003 but next month is the deadline for large manufacturers to comply, while smaller ones have another two years.
Oh, one other interesting note: Susur Lee is teaching a course at the college!