Chocolate Orange Cake
1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup superfine sugar
1/2 cup valrhona cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Grated zest of 1/2 orange
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, beaten
Orange Simple Syrup
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier
2 1/4 cups heavy cream, divided
14 ounces semi sweet chocolate
3/4 cup heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling water
2 tablespoons superfine sugar
8 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
Preheat oven to 350.
Line a half-sheet pan with a silicone baking mat or lightly butter the pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking powder, and salt together. Combine the cream, zest, and vanilla in the bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer. Attach the bowl to the mixer and fit with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium speed until the cream holds its shape, just before soft peaks begin to form. Gradually beat in the eggs-the mixture will thin somewhat. Change to the paddle attachment. On low speed, add the flour mixture, and beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl, about 1 minute. Because the cream is chilled, the batter thickens to the consistency of very stiff frosting. Distribute the batter in 5 large dollops in the pan, 1 in each corner and 1 in the center. Spread evenly with an offset spatula. Bake for about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely. Run a knife around the inside of the half-sheet pan to loosen the cake. Place a large piece of parchment paper over the cake, then top with a large cutting board. Invert the pan and board together, and remove the pan and mat. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate to chill and firm, at least 1 hour.
To make the orange syrup, bring the water and sugar to a boil in a small pan, let boil for a couple of minutes then turn off the heat and stir in the grand marnier.
To make the whipped ganache, bring 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons of the cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Add the hot cream and let stand until the chocolate softens, about 3 minutes. Whisk until smooth. Let cool until tepid, about 15 minutes.
Whip the remaining 1 1/4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cream in the chilled bowl of a heavy-duty stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment on medium speed only until the cream holds its shape, just before soft peaks begin to form. Pour the whipped cream over the cooled chocolate mixture and fold together with a silicone spatula. Do not overmix, or the ganache will be grainy. Transfer 1/2 cup of the ganache to a small bowl and set aside.
To assemble the cake, transfer the cake, with its cutting board, to the work surface. Using an 8 by 3-inch metal cake ring as a template, cut out two 8-inch rounds of cake from opposite corners of the chocolate cake. Cut out two half-rounds of cake from the remaining cake, and save the scraps. The two half-rounds will be put together, with the reserved scraps cut to fill in the gap, to become the center cake layer. Place the cake ring on a half-sheet pan. Insert an 8-inch cardboard round, white side up, inside the ring. Place a whole cake layer in the ring, and drizzle and brush with about 3 1/2 tablespoons of the syrup. Top with half of the whipped ganache filling, and spread evenly. Top with the partial cake layers, and fill in the gap with trimmings of the reserved cake scraps. Top with a smaller cardboard round and press gently to level the layers. Remove the cardboard round. Drizzle and brush the layer with another 3 1/2 tablespoons syrup. Spread with the rest of the filling. Add the final cake layer, cover with the smaller cardboard round, and press gently to level the layers. Remove the cardboard round. Drizzle and brush the cake with the remaining syrup. Using a small offset spatula, spread the reserved 1/2 cup filling over the top cake layer to make a smooth surface. Refrigerate the cake until completely chilled, at least 6 hours.
Remove the cake from the refrigerator. Rinse a kitchen towel under hot water and wring it out. Wrap the hot, moist towel around the sides of the cake ring, being careful not to get water on the top of the cake. Let stand for about 30 seconds. Lift up on the ring to remove it.
Place the cake on a small round wire cake rack set on a half-sheet pan. Using a small offset spatula rinsed under hot water and dried, smooth the sides of the cake to even out the exposed ganache between the layers. Refrigerate the cake on the rack until the outer layer of ganache is very firm, about 30 minutes.
To make the glaze, bring the cream, espresso, and sugar just to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. Let stand until the chocolate softens, about 3 minutes. Add the corn syrup and stir well until the chocolate is melted and the glaze is smooth. Strain into a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Transfer the cake on its wire cake rack to a room-temperature half-sheet pan. About 1 inch from the top edge of the cake, pour some of the glaze in a circle around the outside edge of the cake. Pour the remaining glaze in the center of the cake. Using a large offset metal spatula, quickly smooth the glaze over the top of the cake, letting the excess run down the sides. Refrigerate until the glaze sets, at least 1 hour.
This gal cooks, The dedicated house, A pinch of joy,
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