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Friday, July 20, 2007

Look to the Cookie

When my very best friend and band mate's Patriotic birthday rolls around, it is always a big to do. Since this was her second anniversary in New York City, I wanted to make it especially memorable. One of our favorite regional delicacies is the black and white cookie. Immortalized by Seinfeld as a delicious coming together of two cultures, it is not quite cookie and not quite cake. We have had some that were awful and some that we still can not forget.

To commemorate the cookie and my dear friend, I created a six layer Black and White Cake big enough for twenty or so people. It is a white butter milk cake layered with chocolate ganache and whip cream frosting.

Freshly baked.

Demolished! But you get a great view of all of the layers.

Savoring the fruits of my labor.

Black and White Cake

For the cake:
1 cup butter
3 cups sugar
2 cups buttermilk
4 cups cake flour*
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. lemon extract
6 egg whites

For the Whip Cream Frosting:
3 cups heavy cream (it is a lot but this is a big cake)
3 tbs. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract

For the Dark Chocolate Ganache:
8 oz. Good Dark Chocolate chopped
3/4 cup heavy cream
2 tbs. butter

Fine dark chocolate to shave on the top of the cake

*A note on cake flour. You can substitute by sifting all purpose flour and lightly filling one cup. Remove 1 tablespoon and replace with 1 tablespoon corn starch. But I don't recommend it. Cake flour is ground finer and will result in a much lighter and fluffier batter.

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Generous grease and flour 3 9 inch cake pans.

In large mixing bowl, combine the 3 cups of cream, 3 tbs. sugar and 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla and put in the refrigerator with the beaters and chill.

In a very large bowl, cream the butter, slowly adding the sugar. Alternate sifting (instead of one of those fancy and hard to clean sifters, I use a large mesh strainer ) in the dry ingredients with the buttermilk. Stir in the vanilla and lemon extract. In a none reactive bowl (I like chilled stainless steel), beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form (it's always longer than you think). Fold in the egg whites. Pour into the cake pans and back for 25-30 or until it passes the Toothpick Test.

Let the cakes cool completely before removing them from the pans or trying to work with them.

While they are cooling, make the ganache by putting the chopped chocolate in a stainless steel bowl. Combine the cream and butter in a sauce pan heat over medium heat until just boiling. Pour over the chocolate and let stand 5 minutes. Whisk until the desired consistency is reached. Since this is going to be a filling, let the ganache cool to room temperature.

Next, make the whip cream by beating the cream and sugar mixture with the chilled beaters until stiff peaks form. Put back in the fridge.

Now that the cakes are cool, we can begin the real task! Using a good serrated bread knife remove one of the cakes from the pan and put on a plate that you can turn. Work the knife in and saw the cake in half turning the cake around as you go. I find that this works best to keep the cake even. But since my oven is at an angle (tenement!) I have to shore up my cakes and even them out. Hopefully you won't have to do this.

Put the cake half on the plate, layer some ganache put the top on, layer with whip cream. Continue until you have all the layers. Pour any left over ganache on top of the cake and make your crumb layer around the outside. Chill for about 10 min and then frost the entire cake in whip cream! Grate some chocolate on top and celebrate!


DRAKE said...

Wow - I sure wish I had gotten a taste of this cake. Daunting but highly inspirational to a novice baker.

Lula Ursini said...

That cake was awesome! best bday ever!