Daring Bakers: Chocolate Valentino and Fresh Raspberry Ice Cream

Yay, I finally got back to baking with the Daring Bakers! Even though I made the recipe on Valentine's Day- I am posting late...ooops! Helen Mae's 1st birthday party was on Saturday so I have been in overdrive getting everything ready. I'm so glad that morning sickness is now a distant memory (ok, not that distant....but it's over none the less!) and that I can finally handle the smell of, well, everything! The February 2009 challenge was hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. They chose a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan along with the decadent cake we were required to make ice cream of any flavor. I have eaten flourless chocolate cake before, but I've never actually made one myself so I was excited about this challenge. Immediately I knew that I wanted to make a fresh raspberry ice cream to go with the cake- not only are raspberries and chocolate a wonderful combination- it was also the perfect way to Valentine's Day-up the dessert enough to serve it to my sweetheart on Feb. 14h!

The biggest challenge for me came with choosing the right chocolate for the cake. We were given complete freedom about what brand and type (milk, semi-sweet, bittersweet, etc.) of chocolate we wanted to use but we were also warned that the cake would taste exactly like the chocolate we picked. So I decided to do a little taste test with some good quality chocolates:

I picked up these bars of chocolate and decided to do a blind taste test- well the milk chocolates were decidedly too sweet and creamy for the cake and the bittersweet chocolate, though deliciously rich, was not quite sweet enough (the cake has no added sugar in it)- but the semi-sweet darker chocolates were just right. I narrowed it down to the World Market brand and this really wonderful bar of Bolivian chocolate-which ultimately won out. The chocolate was expensive but it was a fair trade product and I really want to try to support fair trade whenever I can.

The cake was so easy to throw together! I was a little worried about folding in the egg whites because I knew that if I deflated the batter the cake would not turn out- but everything worked out great! We were warned that the cake would fall quite as it cooled- and mine did, but it also held it's shape. The cake's texture was very dense, almost like fudge. I saved the remainder of mine for 3 days in the refrigerator and it became even denser but not dried out. I loved the deep flavor that the dark chocolate imparted but my sister wants me to try it again with a sweeter chocolate next time which I'm definitely going to try out- I actually would love to try it with an even more bitter chocolate too!

For the ice cream I used an extremely easy vanilla ice cream recipe and simply added 2/3 cup fresh raspberry puree (I strained out the seeds). The ice cream was delicious- it was not that overly sweet fake raspberry flavor that most of us think of, instead it was earthy and light.

Everyone enjoyed the cake and ice cream- but I think Helen Mae might have been the biggest fan! Here she is sharing with her Pop Pop:

Chocolate Valentino Cake Recipe, adapted from Chef Wan.

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of unsalted butter
5 large eggs separated

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.
While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
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).
With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
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}
Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
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.
Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Raspberry Ice Cream
2 cups heavy cream
1 cup milk
2/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup raspberry puree with seeds strained out

mix first four ingredients and pour into ice cream maker. Allow the mixture to churn for 15 minutes then add the raspberry puree. Churn for 10 more minutes. Remove ice cream and eat immediately if you like it soft or put in an air tight container and allow ice cream to set in the freezer (about 2 hours).

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.

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