Tag Archives: Springform Pan

La Bête Noire: An Elegant, Decadent & Unforgettable Chocolate Dessert

La Bête NoireJust one bite of this amazingly fudgy, impossibly creamy, positively addicting cake is proof positive of the healing power of chocolate.” 
Bon Appetit magazine, September 2006

On this Christmas Eve, I have a quick post for you that is all chocolate.  My bookshelf holds a well-used issue of a Bon Appetit magazine; the cover shot features a piece of the most decadent, rich and fudgy flourless chocolate cake that is aptly named La Bête Noire, which translates to “The Black Beast”.  I have served it many times for special occasions and it never disappoints.  This year it was the perfect finale for a Christmas dinner feast with friends.  The bottom layer of the cake consists of a flourless chocolate cake and to make it even more luxurious, a layer of ganache (cream and chocolate) is spread over the top. Whether it’s for Christmas, New Year’s Eve, a Birthday or Dinner party, La Bête Noire is one of my favorite elegant desserts.  Someday when I find a 5” springform pan I may reduce the recipe by half, but for now I always make the full recipe of 16 slices of chocolate heaven.

The recipe may seem daunting, but it’s fairly simple to make as you can see below.  It’s not included in this post but you can easily view and print the recipe here. To get started, you’ll need to prepare the springform pan for a bain marie, or water bath.  Three pieces of foil are wrapped around the sides, which help protect the batter from the water and provide insulation during cooking.Foil-wrap the springform pan_Text

For the batter, I melt the butter first and then stir in the chocolate for easier melting.  I used 12 ounces (about 2 cups) of 60% cacao chocolate chips and 6 ounces (about 1 cup) of semi-sweet chips.Cake Batter_ Melted Butter & Chocolate

Simple syrup is whisked in and then some eggs – the batter is done and ready to be poured into the pan.Finished Batter

A classic cooking method, the recipe uses a bain marie, or water bath, to cook the delicate cake.  Now you can see why so much foil is needed around the springform pan.
Place the springform pan in the bottom of a large roasting pan, pour the batter into the springform pan and then pour hot water into the roasting pan, enough so it reaches halfway up the side of the cake pan.  Bake for 50 minutes.Cake Batter in Bain Marie

After cooking, the foil is removed from the sides and the cake cools completely.Bottom Layer_Cooling

The decadent finish: a layer of Ganache is spread over the top.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for about 2 hours or overnight.

Pour Ganache over Cake

Serve with fresh whipped cream (if you have on hand, use a fresh vanilla bean for more flavor!) and savor every bite.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!  I hope your celebrations are filled with chocolate, love, peace, joy and happy times.

Eat well and share the love!Logo Foodie for Two

Snow in DecemberWe’re excited that snow is in the forecast this Christmas Eve, plus we’re expecting a White Christmas tomorrow!  And thankfully, after being without heat for the last five days, our heater is being replaced this afternoon – sweet.

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No-Bake Dessert: Strawberry Vanilla Icebox Cake

Sometimes my inspiration for a blog topic comes from ingredients already on hand; today it was fresh strawberries and a plump vanilla bean.  We all know how hot it has been so turning on the oven to bake something sweet just wasn’t going to happen.  I came across a recipe for a mocha chocolate icebox cake from Barefoot Contessa that requires no cooking, which I used for inspiration.  I know, I can hear you exclaiming: “How can you possibly pass up something chocolate in favor of something vanilla?”  It was the strawberries that stretched my culinary creativity and the silly fact that I do not like chocolate and fruit together – gasp!  If we’re talking chocolate fondue then I’m all over it but for some reason my taste buds revolt when the two are combined otherwise. Originating from Nabisco, the traditional icebox cake is made with layers of chocolate wafers and whipped cream.  I borrowed two things from Barefoot Contessa’s recipe: adding mascarpone cheese to the whipped cream and using a springform pan, which makes for an easy assembly and snazzy presentation.  Here’s how I made my Strawberry Vanilla Icebox cake for our 4th of July celebration.

Whole Vanilla Bean (for the filling):
Whole vanilla beans have a beautifully fragrant paste inside that adds tiny little specs of flavor to your dish, a visual cue that you are about to enjoy pure vanilla. To remove the paste, make a slice down the middle of one side of the bean and scrape out with a paring knife. I like to cut the bean in half for easier removal. If you don’t have a vanilla bean, use a good quality pure vanilla extract.

The Filling:
Four ingredients make up the filling: heavy whipping cream, mascarpone cheese, sugar and vanilla – Yum! Whip until firm, stiff peaks form and the mixture has some body.

Another Layer of Flavor:
After the mixture is whisked into blissfulness, fold in the chopped strawberries.

Using either an 8 inch or 9 inch (what I used) springform pan, line the bottom with vanilla wafers and fill in any big holes with pieces of broken cookie.  Add one quarter of the filling on top of the cookies, spread out and repeat the process. You’ll end up with four layers of each, finishing with the whipped cream mixture.  Smooth out the top, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight, or for at least 12 hours.  It’s that easy!

The vanilla wafers soften from the whipped cream and soak up the flavors for a light and sweet dessert that is hard to pass up. The strawberry vanilla icebox cake is perfect for a dinner party and transports well. Thankfully the cake stays fresh in the refrigerator for several days, so any leftovers are a great way to indulge your sweet tooth. There are many ways to make an icebox cake and I have some ideas for future tasty combinations. This was the first time I tasted this treat – did you have one as a kid?  What was your favorite?

Best wishes for a sweet-filled summer!

Eat well and share the love!

Strawberry Vanilla Icebox Cake (print recipe)
Recipe: Melissa Schenker/Foodie for Two
Prep Time: 20 minutes; Refrigerate: 12 hours or more

Ingredients:
1 ½ cups chopped fresh strawberries, about 16 strawberries
2 cups cold heavy whipping cream
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons sugar (reserve 1 tablespoon for chopped strawberries)
1 vanilla bean – paste removed from pod, or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
One 12 oz. package of Vanilla Wafers

Directions:
Filling: Add the chopped strawberries to a medium bowl and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon sugar; mix and set aside.

To the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the whipping cream, mascarpone cheese, ¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar and vanilla (if you don’t have an electric mixer, use a large glass bowl and hand mixer).  Mix on low speed until the ingredients are combined and increase speed to medium (speed #4); mix until stiff peaks form.

Remove bowl from mixer, scrape off whipped cream from whisk attachment, and gently fold in the chopped strawberries.

Assemble: Arrange the vanilla wafers in a single layer in the bottom of an 8 inch or 9 inch springform pan, covering as much of the bottom as possible; if needed break some cookies to fill in the larger spaces.

Add ¼ of the mixture (a very generous cup) on top of the cookies and spread out evenly, making sure the edges are well covered. 

Repeat with remaining layers (4 of each) and finish with the whipped cream mixture. Smooth the top, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 12 hours.

To serve, release the clasp on the ring of the pan and gently run a knife along the edge of cake.  Remove the ring, slice and serve cold.

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Murphy, on the lookout for anything amiss!