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Demo: RLB Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte

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#1 *Deborah*

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 08:36 PM

Last September, my best girlfriend was up here in Vancouver to suss out some things, go up to Whistler with me to check out locations and chalets for her wedding.

For some reason, I had offered to make her wedding cake for her. I had gotten a bunch of books:

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(excuse my curious kitty, Ilya Kovalchuk)

including Rose Levy Beranbaum's The Cake Bible (1988, there seems to be only the one edition).

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We went through the books, looking at all the gorgeous pictures. There's one important thing I haven't mentioned: I bake quite a few cakes, and they're pretty tasty, but I am not a professional, and I know basically nothing about decoration. So we were extremely limited by my skill level, as what I would have liked to do for her and what I was comfortable promising to do for her were two different things. Luckily for me, this was her second wedding, and she had already had the enormous brouhaha and fancy expensive cake the first time round. This time she wanted something that was more about her than some princess fantasy.

She was also very interested in having something rich and dark and chocolate. :biggrin:

We came to RLB's Art Deco Cake: (picture, p. 29, description/assembly p. 204, recipe, p. 84).

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It wasn't exactly what we wanted to do, but conceptually, it was a starting off point for a white cake with green accents, simple but (hopefully) delicious.

I kept reading my books. I booked vacation time before the wedding so that I could bake and decorate (oh, yes, and see to my Maid of Honour duties).

I came to eGullet, and these wonderful people helped me find my way!

I had figured out that I needed fondant. K8memphis shared a recipe, but I was scared to get it wrong since I'd never worked with it before. I bought some Wilton, and tried to find some Pettinice or other better-quality fondant...hard to source where I am in Vancouver. I ended up ordering McCall's White Chocolate Fondant from Toronto, which cost a dollar or two in shipping. It was really good though, so I think it was worth it.

Before I got started, I assembled a pile of...stuff.

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From top left, roughly: Green fondant decorations; a few kg of white chocolate fondant; an oversized keeper; cardboard bases for the layers; more fondant and assorted items for decorating and shaping same; two dozen fresh eggs; two pints of 36% whipping cream; three pounds of the most expensive butter I could afford (around $5/lb); parchment rounds; foam bases; Wilton aluminum pans, 6 in, 10 in, 14 in; a couple of pounds of Callebaut semisweet; 26 oz. of Chambord Royale liqueur; raspberry dessert sauce; more Callebaut :laugh:; some lovely Scharffen Berger 70% cocoa solids bittersweet; a squeezy bottle for raspberry sauce. At some point I tried to add it all up and it was decidedly north of $500, but of course many of these items I still have.

I can't "demo" the fondant decorations, as I am not very good at it, and I didn't take any photos in progress. What I did was turn some of the Wilton white fondant green (used leaf green (oops) and green and black as they had no moss green at the shop I went to; added some icing sugar to make up for all the gel colour wetting it down; rolled out my fondant, rolled it as heavy as I could with a stencil on top that had different sized ivy leaves; sliced the leaves out of the sheet of fondant with a paring knife following the stenciled outline; smoothed/pinched down the edges of the leaves and added veins with that nifty Wilton vein-maker; let them dry on a curved plastic tube to add some more realism; and then some antique gold lustre dust brushed over top for a little magic. I am blessed with beginner's luck, and they turned out better than I had any right to expect, although you're not likely to see anything quite so amateur on a professional cake:

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Next up: the actual cake.
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#2 kitchenmage

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 08:55 PM

Those leaves are gorgeous! Now I feel like a kid the night before my birthday--the table full of things to come... I anxiously await the next installment... (why is there no :impatient" smilie? :hmmm: )

[I]edited because i can't type and eat M&Ms at the same time...[/I]

Edited by kitchenmage, 14 September 2005 - 08:59 PM.


#3 *Deborah*

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 09:05 PM

Making the cake, I wanted to have not just chocolate. I toyed with a few different ideas, but the bride and I settled on chocolate raspberry. Dede Wilson has a chocolate cake in her Wedding Cake book (pictured above) that is based on the RLB recipe, and has exactly the sizes of layers that I was looking for, so when I was actually baking, I followed along with this instead of the RLB book. It was also laid out in a way that was easier for me to follow. But I still had The Cake Bible open on another surface and spent a fair bit of time running back and forth, checking everything! :raz:

Dede's recipe and photo:

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This is a really easy cake to make in that there are only four ingredients: chocolate, butter, eggs and liqueur. That means that you shouldn't skimp on the ingredients, because you can really taste the difference.

The ratio of chocolate that I ended up with, and which I have used since, is about two parts of Callebaut semisweet to one part Scharffen Berger bittersweet. Per RLB, one TBS of liqueur per pound of chocolate works out well.

Before you even begin, you leave your eggs out overnight to warm up (it was winter, so no danger of a too-hot house).

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Then I measured my chocolate:

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Then I melted the chocolate and butter in my improvised double-boiler:

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When the chocolate is melted, you whisk it up and put it aside to cool down a bit. Then you add your liqueur.

While that is cooling off, start whipping your eggs, which will take around 5 minutes on high speed:

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And thank your lucky stars if you have a Kitchen-Aid or similar. For the small layer, only one go was necessary; but for the large one, I had to whip the eggs in two batches. I cracked the eggs into a cup before adding to the bowl, and since I was being completely anal about this cake, I removed (as much as I could) those stringy eggy things, so there wouldn't be any chewy bits in the cake. It has since occurred to me that I could instead have popped them through a small strainer with the same effect.

Once your eggs are all whipped, you fold them into the chocolate and butter...it's a bit tricky, so I have no photos of this process. There are two keys, though: one is that they must be well mixed, all one colour; and the other is that you are trying to maintain as much volume as possible, so it behooves you to be gentle. I don't know how better to say it.

Once your batter is all mixed up, gently spoon it into the pan, and smooth off the top as best you can. Then put it in a water bath (I handily had the next-size up pan available, which worked out well. Not sure what I would do with the 14 inch layer!) and bake it:

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And then this is how it looked when it was done:

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Here are the two cakes, out of the pan, with minimal damage:

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Edited by *Deborah*, 14 September 2005 - 09:39 PM.

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#4 Ling

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 09:42 PM

I remember the Oblivion cake you brought to Arne's house. Damn, it was so delicious. One of the best things I put in my mouth this year. :raz:

#5 *Deborah*

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 10:04 PM

Next was (after a good chill) putting some ganache down so the fondant would look white. Wendy gave me a recipe for white chocolate ganache in this thread (where there is also all kinds of great advice about fondant).

In spite of Wendy's recipe, I managed to get my proportions wrong, and my ganache was way too thin:

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I cleared the freezer in an attempt to keep the stuff stuck to the cake :raz:

Then the only thing left was the fondant! I'm afraid my photo-taking took a back seat at this juncture...I have a few, though.

The bottom layer:

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and after smoothing and trimming:

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After that, they were put in the fridge loosely covered with wax paper, in their carriers. It was OK, as I was living on whiskey and nerves by this point and needed no room for food in my fridge. :biggrin:

A few days later, the morning of the wedding, I put it together and put my cute little leaves on:

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The ivy isn't as odd as it might seem, when you consider that the bride and groom had ivy headpieces:

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And the cake was presented thusly:

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I have since made...two or three of these cakes (just the small version), and it's more about taking a little time than anything else. One I made recently had ganache frosting instead of fondant (in a huge rush, hence the sloppy edges, oops):

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And plated thus:

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I have no pictures of the wedding cake plated, but I swirled some raspberry sauce on the plate, followed with cake and unsweetened whipped cream. Most everyone even ate the white chocolate fondant, so especially if you want an off-white rather than stark white colour, I highly recommend this.
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#6 *Deborah*

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Posted 14 September 2005 - 10:24 PM

One of the best things I put in my mouth this year.  :raz:

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:shock:

:blush:
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#7 K8memphis

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Posted 15 September 2005 - 01:04 AM

After that, they were put in the fridge loosely covered with wax paper, in their carriers. It was OK, as I was living on whiskey and nerves by this point and needed no room for food in my fridge. :biggrin:

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Whiskey & nerves :laugh:

Wow great demo--love your cake! Amazing work.

>>Insert 'clapping hands wildly' smilie faces<<

Bravo Bravo!!!

#8 jackal10

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Posted 15 September 2005 - 01:18 AM

Could you cover with white chocolate instead of fondant?

Edited by jackal10, 15 September 2005 - 01:27 AM.


#9 Mette

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Posted 15 September 2005 - 03:56 AM

The cake looks fab!!!!! and so do the headpieces and the happy couple:-)

A quick question: is this cake firm enough to cut in half and fill with something lovely and fruity, fx. passion fruit mousse. Because I like the idea of a cake that is mostly just chocolate, but maybe it is a bit much on its own

Thanks

/Mette

edited for spelling

Edited by Mette, 15 September 2005 - 03:57 AM.


#10 alanamoana

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Posted 15 September 2005 - 04:42 AM

At work, we make a similar ganache type cake...it is too delicate to slice horizontally, but we bake it into thin layers in sheet pans which are then frozen and unmolded to be used as layers in a cake. that way, you can get the rich chocolatey-ness without it overwhelming.

#11 *Deborah*

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Posted 15 September 2005 - 07:37 AM

Could you cover with white chocolate instead of fondant?

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I imagine you could. I'm not sure how many layers/how much you would need to get a really smooth finish though? or presumably you could smooth the cake off after taking it out of the pans. I thought about doing that (and removing that ring of butter you can see :laugh:) but I didn't want to start losing chunks of the cake, so I did only very basic smoothing. In more recent ones I've made, I've lost a little chunk or two of the bottom (top) of the cake to the parchment lining the pan, also, which then had to be replaced rather carefully.

The other thing I imagine that you can do (and I think it's what RLB does for her Art Deco Cake) is put a crumb coat of buttercream or what have you under your final finishing. I wanted it all to be chocolate, so the white chocolate ganache and the white chocolate fondant worked for me.
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#12 *Deborah*

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Posted 15 September 2005 - 07:40 AM


After that, they were put in the fridge loosely covered with wax paper, in their carriers. It was OK, as I was living on whiskey and nerves by this point and needed no room for food in my fridge. :biggrin:

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Whiskey & nerves :laugh:

Wow great demo--love your cake! Amazing work.

>>Insert 'clapping hands wildly' smilie faces<<

Bravo Bravo!!!

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Oh, Kate, it's so ...basic compared to the lovely cake you made for your daughter! thanks for the kind words though! :wub:
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#13 *Deborah*

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Posted 15 September 2005 - 07:44 AM

The cake looks fab!!!!! and so do the headpieces and the happy couple:-)

A quick question: is this cake firm enough to cut in half and fill with something lovely and fruity, fx. passion fruit mousse. Because I like the idea of a cake that is mostly just chocolate, but maybe it is a bit much on its own

Thanks

/Mette

edited for spelling

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I suppose you could if you froze it, but in spite of looking like a solid chunk of chocolate, it's really kind of like a dense mousse, and it melts rather quickly (mmm, butter), so I don't know. The suggestion to make in shorter layers could probably work a little better, although your cooking time would be really quick in that case!

The Dede Wilson recipe calls for inserting raspberries into the batter when it's in the pan. I didn't do this as in January, there were no reliable fresh raspberries around, but that would be an option to get more fruit inside the cake.
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#14 *Deborah*

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Posted 15 September 2005 - 07:55 AM

Oh, one thing I forgot to mention is the assembly: When I was discussing the assembly of the cake, I had kind of expected to put it together in Vancouver a few days before the wedding, and carry it up to Whistler (an hour away on a curvy road) all in one piece. I expected to need straws or dowels to support the top layer.

I decided to keep it separate until the day of, as that gave me one less thing to worry about; I was pretty confident the leaves would run all over the fondant, too. As it happened, it was not very cold out (only decided to snow on the very day of the ceremony) and pretty humid, so I think that was the wise choice. We stored it in the (unheated) garage, and it only had to stay sturdy for about 4 or 5 hours.

I think largely because of the tensile strength of that fondant :raz: there was no problem with resting the smaller layer on the larger one without any other support. I also think I probably wouldn't do it that way again just because I would be too nervous :biggrin:
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#15 Wendy DeBord

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 05:37 AM

If you don't mind Deborah I'd like to add a couple thoughts to this thread?

I too make this recipe pretty often, so I'm very familar with it. I wouldn't attempt to cut this cake in half. It's does not have a cake like crumb to it. It is very dense much like a cheesecake, but more likely to break then a cheesecake when handling.

I add all kinds of things to the base recipe to change this up. You can add flavored oils like lemon or orange, etc.... You can use extracts like pepermint or rum, etc.... I haven't added emulsions to this batter yet, but I imagine they'd would work too. In addition to added flavorings you can fold in items like chopped nuts, chocolate chips, candied fruit, fruit zest, coconut, marshmellows, etc... at the end before baking.

This cake can be a little tricky to make, similar to making a chocolate mousse. In that it's hard to fold in fluffy ingredients into chocolate that's cooled down too much. So don't let your chocolate cool down too much before adding your whipped eggs. The final cake will be at the height of you raw batter in the pan. But the edges may c be taller then your center. It's not easy to level this cake after it's baked so do level it with a spatula before baking.

You do not need to have eggs at room temp. before you begin this recipe. The recipe calls for you to warm your eggs over a water bath before whipping them, and that will take any chill off you eggs. I find that using s rubber spatula to keep my eggs moving over a water bath works much better for me then using a whisk. When I use a whisk it doesn't scrape the entire surface of the bowl so you can get spots of over cooked eggs happening in your double boiler.

hth

#16 pastrymama

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 05:47 AM

I also make this recipe, but I use a different technique. I don't whip the eggs, I just warm them then mix them until they are blended, not adding any air. Melt the chocolate and butter and mix them well, then pour into the warm eggs and stir it up until it looks like ganache. Bake it as usual. It makes a creamier finished cake. Like a baked truffle.
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#17 Mooshmouse

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Posted 16 September 2005 - 10:12 PM

Here's a plated slice of a Chocolate Oblivion Truffle Torte that *Deborah* baked for a February gathering of Vancouver eGulleters watching Rob Feenie's Iron Chef America victory (photo courtesy of Daddy-A).

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'Scuse the Chinet. We were all too busy watching Iron Chef to care about the china... but certainly not too busy to eat this little slice of heaven.

:wub:
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#18 *Deborah*

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Posted 17 September 2005 - 01:12 PM

^ :laugh: :laugh:

There were a few pieces plated that night that looked nice, I promise!! unfortunately the pictured slice is not one of them. :laugh:

It really helps if you clean your knife between slices, e.g. :biggrin:
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#19 Arleti

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Posted 18 September 2005 - 06:25 PM

Is it possible to have the recipe of this Torte? I would like to try it. Thanks.

#20 *Deborah*

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Posted 18 September 2005 - 09:04 PM

Arleti,

These are the ingredients for RLB's cake, the 8 inch x 2 inch size, butter your pan and line with parchment paper. If you're using a springform pan, wrap it in heavy-duty foil.

1 lb chocolate
1/2 lb unsweetened butter
6 eggs.

1 TBSP liqueur per lb of chocolate, if desired.

Oven at 425 F for 5 minutes, loosely covered with foil for 10 additional minutes, in a water bath.

(note: Dede Wilson's version of the cake (same ingredients) bakes at 375 F for 10 minutes in a 6 x 3 pan...and that is how I have made it.)

Edited by *Deborah*, 18 September 2005 - 09:06 PM.

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#21 Arleti

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Posted 18 September 2005 - 09:26 PM

Thanks Debora. You are a sweet lady.





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