Wednesday, 30 October 2013


Chocolate & Strawberry four layer cake with white chocolate & cream cheese frosting, Chocolate ganache & mousse, Strawberry coulis and panna-cotta, with chocolate shavings & pink fairy floss. 

         This two flavour pairing was inspired by a recipe I'd seen in a magazine at the smoko table at work of a seven layer cake that probably stood one and half feet tall. As my needs were not for that quantity I went for a four layer cake and much thinner sponge layers. This is when I had decided to pair up chocolate and strawberry in a desert composition. It can be just as challenging using two flavours as having a more broader spectrum of flavours as you must keep the diner from getting board with the flavour composition. This may mean more attention to different contrasting textures or temperatures and visual presentations. This dish uses each flavour in three different preparations, totalling 6 components and a garnish each to try and elevate these two ingredients beyond their natural state.
          For this presentation I started with the four layer cake, making a basic single sponge recipe beating eggs and sugar until creamy and pale then sifting flour, folding it through the egg mix before folding in some melted butter and strawberry essence, dividing the mix into four separate bowls.For the chocolate layer I added some melted milk chocolate and cocoa powder, for the choc-strawberry layer I put half the amount of cocoa powder  and added some red colouring. To make the strawberry layer I simply just used red colour and the shell pink layer is half the amount of red colour. These were then poured into tins and baked at 160 deg. c. for about ten to twelve minutes, just enough time to cook the cake through but before it begins to put colour on the bake and turning the pink sponge brown, a term we call orange peel in baking. As the recipe had no raising agents, reliant on the eggs for rise I was able to achieve four flat one centimetre thick sponges of which I de-panned and set on wire racks to cool. While this was baking I made the cream cheese frosting by melting some white chocolate and mixing it through some softened cream cheese and placing aside for dressing the cake. Once the cakes were cooled using a template I cut the sponges down to size and levelling where needed before assembling the cake beginning with the chocolate sponge for the base, layering in ascending colour order giving each layer an even spread of frosting, finishing with the light pink layer and frosting on top. I then placed the cake into the fridge in a container to set and firm up making it easier to slice later.
       The next component of the dish was the strawberry panna cotta which I just brought some strawberry milk and agar agar to the simmer dissolving the powder and pouring into a mould and placing in the fridge to set. The strawberry coulis was made by simmering strawberries, water, sugar and a little lemon juice until the strawberries had collapsed and sugar dissolved removing from the heat blending to a puree and allowing to cool. The chocolate mousse, I made by beating thickened cream and adding some melted milk chocolate with a little xantham gum to stabilise, this was placed in the fridge until plating. The last component being the ganache was simply made by heating cream to just before boiling point, removing from the heat and incorporating some melted milk chocolate. To garnish both sides of the dish I shaved white and milk chocolate with a veggie peeler and tore fairy floss into little pieces to present.
         The dish was plated yin yang style with the cake in the middle with the two different flavour components out to opposite sides dressed by each others garnishes.

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