Monday, March 3, 2008

Gale Gand's Recipe for Chocolate Cakes with Warm Macadamia Nut Goo and Chocolate Paint

The Culinary Institute of Charleston proudly sponsored Chef Gale Gand of Tru restaurant in Chicago at the 2008 BB&T Food + Wine Festival. Under the leadership of Chef Gand and CIC Adjunct Instructor, Chef Kelly Wilson, CIC students prepared her desserts for her demonstration and her presentation at the Bubbles & Sweets event - some 500 + servings!

About her desserts, Chef Gand says: "Hands down, this is the most popular chocolate dessert I’ve ever served. German chocolate cake – mild cake layered with coconut caramel – is a classic, but I always thought it could stand to be more intense, nuttier, and less sweet. So my then-assistant Martha and I developed a powerfully chocolatey cake batter with a dark chocolate edge. Then I toasted the coconut and added macadamia to the topping. Now it’s an extreme version of the original: velvety dark cake, with a warm sticky topping full of crunch and nuts. The way it all combines in your mouth is spectacular. You’ll be making a big sheet of cake, then cutting it out into rounds for individual servings. Don’t worry about what to do with the leftover chunks of cake; you’ll find plenty of takers. I substitute them for the bread in my favorite chocolate bread pudding recipe. You can freeze the chunks to use later, if you aren’t ready for another irresistible indulgence right away."

Chocolate Cakes with Warm Macadamia Nut Goo and Chocolate Paint
Makes 30 servings; can be halved
For the chocolate cake:
3 cups sugar
2 ¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 1/8 cups cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-process
2 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
2 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons salt
3 eggs
1 ½ cups milk
¾ cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups very hot water
For the coconut macadamia nut goo:
1 ¼ cups sugar
1/3 cup water
2/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup macadamia nuts, toasted and roughly chopped
1/2 cup flaked sweetened coconut, toasted

For the Chocolate Bergamot Paint
Yields: 2-3 cups
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
9 ounces semi sweet chocolate
½ cup light corn syrup
1 cup strong Earl Grey tea
You’ll need:
A large sheet pan with sides, about 13 x 17 inches
Parchment paper
A 1 1/2-inch (approximately) round biscuit or cookie cutter
Whisk and Pastry brush

For the cake:
Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease your sheet pan (above) and line the bottom and sides with parchment or waxed paper.
Sift together the 3 cups sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Transfer to a mixer fitted with a whisk attachment (or use a hand mixer) and blend briefly.
Whisk together the eggs, milk, oil, and vanilla extract in a medium bowl. Add to the dry ingredients and mix at low speed for 5 minutes. Gradually add the hot water, mixing at low speed just until combined. The batter will be quite thin.
Pour the batter into the pan. Bake until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean (a few crumbs are okay) and the center feels firm to the touch, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool in the pan. Chill, covered, until ready to cut the cake.

Meanwhile, make the caramel: Pour the 1 ¼ cups sugar into the center of a deep saucepan. Carefully pour the water around the walls of the pan, trying not to splash any sugar onto the walls. Do not stir. Gently draw your finger twice through the center of the sugar, making a cross, to moisten it. Over high heat, bring to a full boil and cook without stirring, swirling the pan occasionally to even out the color, until medium caramel in color, 5 to 10 minutes. Immediately turn off the heat and use a wooden spoon to slowly and carefully stir in the cream, as it will bubble up and may splatter. Stir in the macadamia and coconut. Keep warm till ready to use or rewarm when ready to use.
For the chocolate sauce: Melt the chocolates together over simmering water. Whisk in the corn syrup and tea all at once. It will look like it’s going to break; but keep whisking, it will come together. Keep warm till ready to paint or rewarm when ready to use.
To serve: Flip the cakes onto the back of a parchment-covered sheet pan and then peel the parchment off the side now facing up. Trim off the edges of the sheet pan and cut out rounds of the chilled cake with a biscuit or cookie cutter, 1 ½ to 2 inches in diameter. If the cake seems to be sticking, dip your cutter in cocoa powder between cuts. brush a dessert plate with the chocolate sauce. Place a cake on each plate and drizzle with coconut macadamia nut goo.

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