03 December 2011

Rita Hayworth

My absolute favorite chocolate shop in DC is ACKC; seriously if you're in the are and you haven't been, you need to go. In addition to just selling chocolates, ACKC offers coffee, drinks, cakes, brunch, and hot chocolate. Some of the awesomest hot chocolates ever, all named after silver screen divas. My favorite is the Rita Hayworth which is dark chocolate with clove, orange, and caramel. I decided that since I like it so much I should make a cake in homage to it.

I started by halving the cake recipe I think of as my base chocolate cake. I hate halving recipes because a) math is not my thing and b) using half an egg is tricky business. But the recipe I have was meant for a multi-tiered cake and I only needed two 9" rounds for this. The only other thing I did different for this recipe was to add a few dashes of cloves and the zest of about three oranges.

Side note: I was concerned before I baked the cake the the batter tasted more like orange than it did clove and was tempted to add more; but after a quick phone call to my mom I concluded the the cloveyness might be more prominent post baking; and it was.

Also for this creation I used my mom's recipe to make caramel:

1 cup each sugar, butter and karo syrup.
1 can sweet & condensed milk

Melt the first three ingredients until they're all combined and the sugar is dissolved. 

Bring to a boil and let it go, without stirring, for 4 minutes. 

Remove from heat, stir in the sweet & condensed milk and a wee bit of vanilla, then put it back on the heat and bring to a boil.
 Let it boil while stirring often for 14-ish minutes.
This is the color it should be when done. And while it's tempting...I really wouldn't recommend sampling it right away.

Second side note: if you want to make the caramel for candy, let it boil for 15-16 minutes then pour into a 9x9 pan to cool and set up. Boiling it for less time leaves it a little more viscous for filling my cake or the inside of chocolate shells.

While the caramel cooled I prepared the cakes by making a well in the bottom layer. First I cut off just the raised top section then shaved out more until I thought I had a decent hole.

For future reference though, I think I would make less of a dent in the bottom later and make a similar well in the top layer. This way there ended up being a lot of cake on top, then a thick layer or caramel, then a thin layer of cake.

Once it was cool I pour off the caramel into the cake. It was partially set up already but all I had to do was use the spatula to smooth it all to the edges.

I next made a small amount of ganache, flavoring the heavy cream with orange extract before adding the chocolate. I let that cool for a bit then poured it over the cake, smoothing it down the sides.

The ganache wasn't as thick as I wanted so I put the cake in the refrigerator for a little while which helped the ganache to set.

Unfortunately I was under a bit of a time crunch so I couldn't complete it the way I wanted to. While I had a smooth covering of ganache I would have liked to do a caramel drizzle on top as well. Even though the decorating wasn't completed to my satisfaction though, it really tasted good. I served it with dollops of homemade whipped cream which I do recommend doing; it helps to cut down on the richness of the cake.

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