Sunday, March 27, 2016
The Chocolate FloRo Elegance with Caramel Buttercream
When I started getting the ingredients out for this recipe, Jim asked me if it was one of those recipes that everyone was going to complain about. "I don't think so," I said. "There are some steps involved, but it doesn't look too complicated." Eight hours later, I told him there might be some complaining. The cake itself isn't difficult, but the buttercream is a little tricky. (I bobbled it). And by the end of eight hours, my kitchen looked like the DEA had done a thorough search of all my kitchen supplies. But is it good? Oh my, yes.
With the dark, unsweetened chocolate, the cocoa, and the black coffee, I expected a darker chocolate cake, but it ended up looking more like a traditional German chocolate cake than a chocolate cake.
You can see that even adding the cup of strong coffee mixed with cocoa barely shifts the color. If goes from light brown to very light medium brown. This is not bad--it just came as a surprise.
But it looks as rich and thick as a cake made with a cup of sour cream should look.
I love the color of the caramelizing sugar. I dithered for a while about whether the color on the left was "dark amber" or just amber. By the time I stopped dithering, more of it was the color on the right, which was definitely dark amber. Maybe too dark? The buttercream turned out to be darker than I thought it would be, just to add further confusion.
What I did wrong with the caramel: instead of putting it in the refrigerator for just 45 miinutes, I forgot about it and left it in for 3 or 4 hours. By then it was rock-solid and needed to be zapped to get it to a pourable consistency again. That made it both too hot to mix well, and too dark.
By the time I'd made the caramel and the white chocolate custard base, I'm not sure I had a single clean bowl in the house. I had to get my spare stand mixer bowl to complete the buttercream.
So much richness!
I didn't weigh the cake batter, so the top layer was noticeably taller than the bottom layer. I don't know why I didn't weigh it.
I'm pretty sure that I've mentioned before that if a step is considered optional, there's a pretty good chance I'll ignore it. Hence I skipped the optional lacquer glaze and substituted opening a bag of precious Valrhona perles and sprinkling them atop. Much easier.
There are specks and spots of caramel that didn't get completely mixed into the buttercream, but it was after 10:00 when I got to this stage, so I didn't really care.
Next day. I cut a hefty slice of cake for Jim to photograph (and eat).
My piece is smaller.
Flo and Rose are a good combo. Rose's descriptive words are very apt: "buttery, mellow, airy, and moist." For fans of moist cakes, this will be heaven. I didn't think it was very bittersweet, and, in fact, it did not taste intensely chocolate. But that may be because the caramel buttercream was so spectacularly rich and flavorful that the chocolate paled in comparison.