Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Chocolate Christmas Cake

Raspberry Chocolate Cake With Caramelized Almonds

DSC_5628Technically this is not a Christmas Cake…obviously, we did not have this for Christmas…  Fujiya (不二家) the huge bakery chain in Japan had a genius idea in 1922. Let’s sell Christmas cakes to a non-Christian nation!

Sounds fishy but it worked! Just having a beautifully decorated cake on Christmas day brings happiness to all of the children of Japan (?)…our home included.  Anticipation of waiting for the cake to arrive, lighting up the candles, taking pictures with cheap camera (in the dark ) - none of them turned out good naturally, rock, paper and scissors with siblings to see who gets the sugar Santa…all good memories. To see this year’s selection click here…hurry, today is the last day to order.DSC_5641

We were puzzled one year over our finally-arrived Christmas cake, 
‘Is this what we ordered?” 
“I dunno…. “

Back then the order was made by using the ‘pointing system’ from the poster hung in the store front, we’d like that one, no not that one, the one on the right… then the store clerk would write down on the piece of paper.
It was era of no cell-phones…who do you call? Ghost busters?..just kidding. The delivery boy was long gone ….we started worry that the fresh cream would melt and it was too big to fit in the tiny refrigerator. Examining the cake for 10, 15 minutes, hoping someone to say, let’s eat but initiating the first move felt wrong somehow.
We were saved by the bell finally… the door bell. ‘My bad” said delivery boy (not so much as the words of course). He gave us the right one and took the not–our–cake which I saw my brother licked the conspicuous area while examining it…. what a rascal.

Phew! I shouldn’t make the cake between errands and obligations. Rush to decorate, rush to take pictures… lost bit of joy of baking…just a tad.

Ingredients and Instruction for one 8 inch cake (Print Recipe Here)

Necessary equipment – 8 inch removable bottom round pan, food scale, parchment paper,  food thermometer, pastry brush, electric mixer

For caramelized almond

  • 50g sugar
  • 20g water
  • 60g sliced almond

For cake

  • 4 egg whites
  • 80g and 60g sugar
  • 70g unsalted butter room temperature
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 70g of 60% cacao chocolate shaved Note: no shaving is necessary for chocolate tablets. Save your time by shave all your chocolate at once and label it.DSC_5576DSC_5607
  • 80g low viscosity flour (薄力粉)
  • 4g baking powder

For Grenache

  • 280g cream
  • 185g dark chocolate (I used 60% cacao chocolate) shaved

For syrup

  • 45g sugar
  • 50g water
  • 2-3 drops of rum flavoring or orange extract

For Chocolate coating

  • 180g cream
  • 60g dark chocolate, shaved
  • 80g milk chocolate, shaved

Fruits – Any berries for filling and garnish (optional)

  1. Make almond caramel  – Put water and sugar into small sauce pan, boil for few minutes to thicken at medium heat, turn off heat and add almonds and stir well until it gest dry, color gets white and crystalize. Back on the burner and stir frequently until the almonds turn deep brown at medium heat. Spread onto parchment paper to cool. Chop. Set aside
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  2. Prepare and set aside following - cut parchment paper to fit the bottom of the pan, and side (cut so that it is a little bit taller than the pan, mine showed that it’s unnecessary tall).
    DSC_5565
    Sift flour and baking powder together.
    Melt 70g of shaved chocolate in small  microwave proof bowl and microwave for1-2 minutes with 50% power stir well.DSC_5583 DSC_5584
  3. Beat the egg white and 80g sugar In large bowl on high till stiff peak but not dry Set aside.
    DSC_5578
  4. Pre-heat oven to 356F. In another bowl, cream butter with whisk or hand held mixer until light then add 60g of sugar and egg yolk,  mix well with each addition. Check the temperature of melted chocolate, ideal temperature is 113F/45C, (if it’s too low then put back in the microwave for 5 to 10 second at 50% power to warm it up, cold chocolate will result in heavy batter) add chocolate to egg yolk mixture and stir well DSC_5579.DSC_5580DSC_5585DSC_5586
  5. Add half of meringue into the egg yolk mixture and whisk lightly together. Switch to spatula, fold it in the sifted flour and baking powder mixture until you no longer see the flour. Add rest of meringue and combine without over mixing. Bake for 30 minutes, turn the oven off after 30 minutes, perhaps the cake is still wet though, leave the pan in the oven will cook through. Leave there until it’s cool.
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  6. Make syrup – Boil water and sugar until the sugar resolve, add rum flavoring or orange extract after it cools down..DSC_5612
  7. Make ganache and coating  – Put shaved chocolate in the bowl. Cook cream at medium heat in a small sauce pan until the bubbles start appearing, turn off heat. Add 1/3 of cream into bowl, gently stir first then beat with wooden spatula, add rest of cream in two steps. stir well until smooth. chill in the refrigerator to thicken ( in assembly process, use room temperature ganache). *Make coating chocolate same way but no need to chill. Set aside.
  8. Assembly - Slice cake in three. Brush syrup on top side of one sliced cake. Spread ganache (mix well before so that it is easy to spread) on top, raspberries is next, spread more ganache. Brush the one side of another sliced cake, place onto the first layer syrup side down, brush syrup on top and repeat ganache-raspberries ganache process. Brush the syrup on the last piece of cake and place on top of 2nd layer syrup side down. Brush syrup on very top then spread ganache. Sprinkle some chopped caramelized almond (no need to use all).
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  9. Coating – make sure that coating chocolate is loose- may need to warm in the microwave for 10 second or so (50% power). Pour over the cake at once and spread with pallet knife to smooth out top and side. Decorate with fruits if you like.
    DSC_5618DSC_5624 DSC_5627

Variation – Skip caramelized almonds and fruits for sleek look and short cut…then call it simply ‘Chocolate Cake’.

Spreading joy! (and calories) - I sent my husband to deliver pieces of this cake to neighbors.

IMG_2112The nativity display at Portland Oregon Temple

I’m sincerely grateful for your visit to my blog.

May your world be filled with peace and happiness this holiday season.

24 comments:

  1. I enjoyed the story of the Christmas cake is years past. Those are fun memories and much simpler times (no cell phones!).
    This cake looks very pretty and very delicious. I think it is a perfect Christmas cake. xo Catherine

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    1. Thank you Catherine. Your biscotti looks so good! I should try it!

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  2. Such a naughty cake you've made...it made us all drool just looking at that sliced piece.....wouldn't it be nice if I live next door to you...preferably the side nearest to your kitchen:)
    Wishing you and your family a very lovely holiday...filled with wonderful joy!

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    1. Thank you Annie. You're so sweet! Love that idea!

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  3. こんばんは。ラズベリーが二段重ねで、上にも載っていてとても素晴らしいですね。私も御近所に住みたかったです。 クリスマスソングやクリスマスキャロルが似合う、時期ですね。

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    1. コメントありがとうございます。 あはは、近所に住んでいらしたら、写真の撮り方、ぜひ教えてください。逗子海岸の写真、素敵でした。

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  4. Olá amiga, hoje quero agradecer a Deus pelo dom da sua vida, e desejar a você e sua família
    um feliz e santo Natal, cheio de saúde e alegria!!!
    Que seu coração esteja preparado para receber o Menino Deus!!!
    Um grande abraço, Marie.

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    1. Muito obrigado pelo seu comentario tipo. Eu acho que seu blog e fantastico!

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  5. I promise this is what I said in my mind when I saw the photo of your cake: "OH MY GOD, ARE YOU KIDDING ME!" It is absolutely beautiful. And I'm sure it tastes just as good too.

    Merry Christmas to you and your family!!!

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    1. Thank you Jalna. You're so kind. Your new kitchen looks amazing. Can't wait see the final pics.

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  6. thought you would enjoy this http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2014/12/16/369830094/a-christmas-cake-that-isn-t-about-christmas-at-all

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    1. Thank you for the link. It was fascinating read. And the cook with dog YouTube was hilarious!

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  7. A beautiful and extremely tempting cake!

    Happy Holiday Season and best wishes for the new Year!

    Cheers,

    Rosa xo

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    1. Thank you so much Rosa. Have wonderful holidays!

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  8. Your chocolate raspberry layered cake looks extremely tempting!
    Have a happy and beautiful holiday season!
    Angie

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    1. Thank you Angie. I bought all the ingredients for your pistachio torte. I'm so excited to try it.
      Wishing you very happy holidays!

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  9. あ~ぁ、ご近所に住んでいなくて残念! パッと見た時苺に見えましたが、よく見るとラズベリー(タイトルでも)とわかりました。ラズベリーの甘酸っぱさとチョコレートのコラボ、想像します。日本のクリスマスケーキは家族と共に、シュトーレンは一人のティタイムに一切れだけいただきます。昔は不二家でしたが、今は甘さ控えめの洗練されたケーキを供する洋菓子やさんも多く選ぶのが楽しみです。これから年末にかけては体重増加の時、気を付けます。キリスト誕生の彫刻、素敵ですね。楽しいクリスマス、よい年をお迎えください。

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    1. コメントありがとうございます。実は、ストロベリーが店になく、ラズベリーになりました。おっしゃるとおり、酸味があって、よくチョコレートと合います。 この時期に日本にいたら、たくさんのクリスマスケーキのチョイスがあって、楽しいだろうと思います。残念ながら、アメリカにはクリスマスケーキがなくて寂しいです。 どうか、良い年を迎えてください。 
      ブログを訪ねましたが、コメントが出来ませんでした。どうしたのかな?

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  10. Hi Nippon Nin,

    Whether I'm Christian or not, I still love Christmas for all joy and laughter. A slice of glorious chocolate cake like yours would definitely make me happier and laugh out louder.... LOL!

    Wish that you and your family have a wonderful Christmas and happy 2015! Cheers.

    Zoe

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    1. Thank you so much Zoe. You're so nice!
      Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas!

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  11. Delicious looking chocolate cake. Happy Holiday to you and your family.

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    1. Thank you Tataya. Looks like you had a wonderful Christmas. It was fun to see the Skytree pics.

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  12. I have almost missed this piece of art! A real treat for the eyes! I'm impressed as always by your culinary creations. I hope you have spent wonderful Christmas.

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    1. Thank you very much Sissi! You're so kind.

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