Flavor Month is here, and what better way to celebrate it than by diving headfirst into a decadent, mouthwatering creation by pastry chef extraordinaire and best-selling author, Matt Adler. Today, we're thrilled to introduce you to his Chocolate Orange Fudge Cake, a dessert from his cookbook, Bake It Better, that promises to tantalize your taste buds with every bite.
Before we delve into the enticing details of this cake, let's take a quick peek at the ingredients that make it extraordinary:
For the Cake
For the Ganache
For the Drip
Now, let's walk through the process of creating this chocolatey masterpiece:
Preheat your oven to 340°F/175°C.
Add the water and cocoa powder to a medium saucepan. Place it over a medium heat and whisk the mixture until it reaches a gentle simmer and the cocoa powder has completely dissolved. Turn off the heat and let it cool for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, add the sugar, baking soda, flour and orange zest to a large bowl. Whisk this together to ensure everything is evenly combined.
Add the buttermilk, eggs and vegetable oil to a separate mixing bowl. Whisk to combine, then pour the mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients.
Whisk these together until there are no more lumps of dry ingredients.
Pour in the cooled cocoa mixture and whisk constantly until it has been completely unincorporated and there are no streaks. The batter will be quite thin, but don’t panic.
Grease the bottom and sides of three 3 x 9-inch (71/2 x 23cm) cake pans and then place a circle of parchment paper on the bottom. Add a tablespoon of cocoa powder into each pan and shake it around to coat the edges. Tip out any excess.
Pour the cake batter into the prepared pans, weighing 900g of batter per pan.
Place the cakes into the preheated oven and bake for around 45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
Once the cakes have been baked, let them cool for 5 minutes, and then very carefully flip them onto a wire rack to cool. The cakes are quite soft therefore will be fragile, so be as careful as possible.
Let the cakes cool for 10 minutes on a wire rack, then wrap them in plastic wrap/cling film and refrigerate them for at least 6 hours.
For the ganache, start by adding your chocolate into a medium bowl and place it over a pan of gently simmering water. Keep stirring this until it has completely melted.
Meanwhile, add the cream, brown sugar, glucose and butter to a medium saucepan. Place this on a medium heat until it is steamy, and the butter has completely melted.
Once the cream is hot, remove the chocolate from the heat, and with a spatula, stir the chocolate constantly in small circular motions in the center, while slowly pouring in the hot cream.
Keep stirring the mixture until all the cream has been incorporated into the chocolate. At this point it may look slightly grainy, but don’t panic.
Add in the crème fraîche, then use a hand blender to blend it until smooth. Using a hand blender will allow the mixture to completely emulsify, which will result in smooth, glossy ganache.
Cover the surface with plastic wrap/cling film and leave it at room temperature for 2-3 hours, or until it has thickened to a consistency that resembles buttercream. You will need to stir it occasionally to prevent any lumps forming around the outside.
Once the ganache is ready, remove your chilled cake layers from the fridge.
Place your first cake layer onto a cake board, on a rotating cake stand. Add a dollop of the ganache and then use an offset spatula to smooth it out.
NOTE: As you work with the ganache it may thicken too much as it cools–simply use a hair dryer or a heat gun and carefully heat the ganache while stirring until the consistency is looser and it is smooth and glossy again.
Add the second layer of cake and add another even coating of the ganache. Finally top it with the final cake layer.
Take a dollop of the ganache and spread this over the top of the cake and around the edges. Use a tall straight edge scraper to smooth the ganache, and create an even crumb coat around the outside. Again, use the hair dryer as needed to heat and smooth any ganache that may have set.
Once you have an even crumb coat, place the cake in the fridge for 20 minutes.
When the cake has chilled, spread the remaining ganache over the cake trying to keep the top as smooth as possible while leaving the outside relatively rough. Then gently heat a scalloped cake scraper and carefully run this around the outside of the cake to create the design. Fill in any gaps with extra ganache and repeat this scraping process. Place the cake back in the drudge for 20 minutes.
To make the drip, add the chocolate and butter to a small bowl and melt it over a pan of gently simmering water. Once melted, cool to 90°F/32°C.
Once the drip is at temperature, remove the cake from the fridge and pour the glaze into the middle of the cake. Working quickly, use an offset spatula to spread it to the edges until it drips down the side.
Finish the cake with chocolate curls and around the top of the cake and along the bottom.
Allow it to come to room temperature before serving.
Matt Adler's Chocolate Orange Fudge Cake is the perfect way to celebrate Flavor Month. It's a symphony of rich chocolate and zesty orange, encased in a velvety ganache, with a touch of elegance from the chocolate curls. This cake isn't just a dessert; it's an experience that will leave your taste buds craving for more.
So, whether you're a seasoned home baker or someone looking to impress your friends and family, this cake is a showstopper that you won't want to miss. Try it out, and prepare to be swept away by the heavenly flavors of this masterpiece. Enjoy!