Sammy the Seal

Pecan ganache sponge cake

In delicious on Friday, 4 May, 2012 at 12:27

sponge cake pecan ganache 1

My new, wonderful kitchen has now been broken in. I like this sponge cake thing, three measly ingredients:

3 eggs
1/4 c + 1-2 T superfine sugar
1/2 c + 1-2 T flour

The oven was heated to 350°, so it’s ready when the batter is. First, the eggs were warmed up in a bowl of warm water a couple of minutes, then cracked, emptied, and whipped with the sugar for 12-15 minutes, until the volume quadrupled or quintupled, I’m not sure which. Eggs whip up better when not cold, so I put the mixing bowl in a larger bowl of warm water to help with the egg mixture get frothy. After a few minutes, I took it out out of the larger bowl of water. When the batter reached the right volume, I sifted the flour in and folded it in to the egg mix very thoroughly, to make sure there was no loose flour hanging about. The batter went into a greased and floured 9″ round cake pan for 25 minutes. Toothpick test was passed, the cake surface sprung back after pushing gently with my finger. I let it cool 5 minutes in the pan, then used a silicon spatula to gently pry it out onto a sheet of wax paper on a rack. It cooled for about 15 minutes more before I sliced in half, to make a layer cake. I was so excited and relieved at how it turned out:

sponge cake layers

The ganache I made while the cake was in the oven:

11 oz. unsweetened chocolate
6-8 T superfine sugar
2 c whipping cream

The chocolate was chopped into smaller bits, so they would melt more easily when immersed in the hot cream, and placed in a mixing bowl. The cream and sugar were blended and brought to a simmer, then poured over the chocolate and whisked until smooth, then cooled for about 15-20 minutes.

(Note: I originally started with 8 oz. chocolate, 3 T sugar, and 1.5 c cream, but at the last minute, I decided to use up the rest of the chocolate I had, 3 oz., but for fear there wasn’t enough hot cream to melt it, I put the bowl on the still-hot burner to help it. Oops. I forgot that emulsions don’t like heat. The chocolate started to clump and looked gritty, and moisture started to collect and pool. Now, if it were just chocolate, with no cream or liquid, I could’ve heated it. Fortunately, I didn’t use all my cream, so I simmered the last half cup, along with more sugar, since the first go-round was undersweetened, and added it to the bad batch, and whisked it together. Rescue successful.)

After the ganache cooled for about 15 minutes, I took out a cup and whipped it, to use as the filling between the layers. Then I applied the rest of it to the top and sides, and sprinkled on top crushed, chopped roasted pecans (300° for 15 minutes, done pre-emptively) and gently pressed them in to the choco.

sponge cake pecan ganache 2

sponge cake pecan ganache missing piece

What I would have done differently:

1. Add more sugar to the cream before simmering. It was more bitter than sweet, but if you like dark chocolate, you’d be fine with it. That, or just use bittersweet chocolate to begin with.

2. Don’t let the ganache cool so long before applying it to the cake. The whipped portion should be spreadable, but for the top and sides, it would’ve been better for the ganache to be more fluid/liquid. When I sliced the cake, sbits of the chocolate flaked off the surface of the cake. I think if it hadn’t cooled as much, the ganache would have adhered better, and I probably wouldn’t have had to press the nuts into it to get them to stick.

3. Add some kind of flavoring to the cake.

4. Made half as much ganache, with one cup cream and 6 ounces chocolate. As you can see, there was a LOT of chocolate.

5. Use something non-chocolatey and more moist (e.g., jam) for the filling. Sponge cake is springy, but it’s also a little dry. Something to provide moistness, maybe even a little sogginess. And something fruity or creamy for the filling would be a nice balance against the richness of the chocolate. There was too much, I think, but then again, I’m not big choco fan. For most people, women especially (I’m not being sexist, women really like chocolate, I hear), I imagine this hypothetical exchange being a common, if not the prevailing, sentiment anyhow:

“I think there’s too much chocolate in this.”
“No, there isn’t.”

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  1. […] as filling and blueberry cream cheese frosting for the outside. The cake is the same one I did here, just doubled, as I wanted a thicker cake to make more layers. The accoutrements were as […]

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