Theobroma cacao, is the name of the tropical cacao bean and it translates as,
Food of the gods!
On occasion I enjoy spicy food, like a very peppery and salty steak, or a Mexican meal, whenever I visit in California or Texas, a hot Indian Curry or a beautiful Paprikasch that I prepare with sweet and hot Paprika from Hungary. After such a meal – invariably my taste buds scream for Chocolate.
The soothing melting of a bit of chocolate in my mouth calms the fire that was ignited by the
heat of the spices.
Chocolate has many properties and is not easy to work with, especially in the summer time in Maryland or any other place where the temperatures and humidity exceed comfort.
Its melting point is just around body temperature – 98.6 F and in the summertime one’s warm hands are higher than that.
Whenever I make Chocolate Truffles at this time of year I cool down my kitchen to about 68 F and I dip my hands often into iced water. Once the Truffles are rolled they go quickly into the refrigerator. Yet, at serving time one needs to bring them back to room temperature to allow this beautiful confection melt with ease in one’s mouth while it transports you to another time and place of comfort and pleasure.
Chocolate creams/fillings are a little easier to handle because the cream is not handled with bare hands, it is mixed in a mixing bowl. But, here too one has to keep temperatures in mind. The butter and creams have to be the same temperature – cool to the touch, and never too close to the melting points. There are many times, while mixing a chocolate cream,that it needs to go into the refrigerator to cool down before proceeding with the recipe.
No wonder that baking with Chocolate is quite frustrating to many people. It takes patience and some knowledge about the product.
The cake above was a birthday cake.
Before I begin to describe the many parts of this cake I want to emphasize that in Austrian, particularly Viennese baking, the cake itself is of little importance. However, the creams/fillings, liqueurs, flavorings, etc are most important, and that is what makes the cake a delicacy.
It is like a sandwich………the parts that are between the bread layers make the flavorful and satisfying sandwich experience……..and so it is with a cake.
On your visits to Austria or Hungary and your stops at their many Konditoreien, (sweet shops), you have probably noticed that the cakes and desserts have many names. These names are mostly derived from the fillings in the cakes, or fruit toppings that are baked with usually Vanilla flavored sweet doughs
Gefullte Torten, (filled cakes) for example:
Hazelnuss Torte……….Hazelnut Cake
Kaffee Crème Torte…………Coffee Cream Cake
Himbeer Torte………Raspberry Cake
Walnuss Torte………Walnut Cake
Schokolade Torte…………Chocolate Cake
The following cakes are named after the toppings on the cake.
Zwetschken Kuchen……..Plum Cake
Apfel Kuchen……..Apple Cake
Weintrauben Kuchen……..Grape Cake
Aprikosen Torte………Apricot Cake
Birnen Kuchen………Pear Cake
And many more…………
Making the above Chocolate Cake……this is not a recipe, just a description of how it was created.
The cake had two kinds of chocolate cake layers. One was a dark chocolate cake and the other a milk chocolate cake. I added some instant espresso coffee into the batter of the dark chocolate cake to make it a Mocha flavored cake.
The icing was a butter cream – made up of half pastry cream and the other half was sweet unsalted butter, melted Guittard (60% cacao) Chocolate Chips, Droste Cacao powder, confectioner sugar and Pure Vanilla Flavoring.
The other part of the filling was home-made plum jam and Brandy sweetened with confectioner sugar.
Filling and layering the cake……….
Both cakes were cut into layers and set aside. One dark chocolate layer became the bottom of the cake and was placed on a cake platter, brushed with the sweet brandy and topped with the icing – about ¼ inch thick.
The next layer was the milk chocolate cake, brushed with the sweetened brandy and topped with the plum jam….just a thin coating.
I continued layering the cakes and alternating the fillings.
Finally the cake was iced with the butter cream and decorated using Wilton’s decorating tips.
The only decoration on top of the cake was a large chocolate flower that was made of chocolate leaves. The leaves were held up with small rosettes of icing.
It was an elegant presentation.
The Chocolate Flower was difficult to make since it was a very warm day and the kitchen did not cool down as I would have needed. But as soon as I put it together I placed the cake into my pastry refrigerator for the night, to be finished with a few little touch-ups and delivered the next day.
You might like to see other Chocolate Cakes that I have made…….and I have to say, that I have never made the same cake twice when it come to the decor of this ultimate pastry.