Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Is it a Chocolate Flourless Cake or a Fudgey Brownie?

That is the ultimate question.  It is supposed to be a chocolate flourless cake, but the end result is like a fudge cake ... I don't know how it works but I know that it tastes divine!

The cake is flourless and rich and dense and enveloped with a decadent ganache that, when set and slightly chilled, becomes a melt in your mouth, may i please have more piece of fudgey cake!!!

This recipe comes from Aaron McCargo on the Food Network.  I always try to change recipes to make it my own, but I have not messed with this recipe.  I would not know where to begin, nor would I want to try because it is perfect.

I will give you some pointers, though:

1.  make sure you have a spring form pan
2.  prepare the spring form pan by spraying it well and placing a piece of parchment paper on the bottom
3.  let it cool before turning it out onto another tray
4.  be patient when turning it out - the cake is finicky and will break if not careful

If you like rich, decadent, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate then PLEASE try this cake.  I cannot explain how good this cake is.  I make it at the restaurant and for catering events, too.  It is a winner!!!

Enjoy and happy baking!

Chocolate Flourless Cake
(makes one 8" circle cake)
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 stick cold butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 ounces hazelnut liqueur (Frangelico)
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder, sifted
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • Chocolate Ganache, recipe follows

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray an 8-inch round spring form cake pan with nonstick butter spray and line bottom with parchment.
Put the chocolate, butter, vanilla and hazelnut liqueur in a large bowl on top of a double boiler. Stir the mixture frequently until combined and smooth. Remove the chocolate from heat and put the bowl into an "ice bath" to cool the chocolate. *Don't let the chocolate get hard, just cool enough.
Mix in the sugar and cocoa powder. Stir in the eggs and pour into the prepared cake pan. Put the cake pan on a sheet tray and bake for 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven and let cool completely.  Remove from spring form pan onto your serving tray and remove the parchment paper.  Pour the ganache over the cake. 

Chocolate Ganache:
Put the chocolate into a large bowl. Heat the cream in a small pot, over low heat, until hot to the touch. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Mix well with a rubber spatula until the chocolate melts.

The BEST Banana Bars EVER!

Today was a gorgeous day outside, perfect fall weather - sun shining, slight breeze, cool enough for a sweatshirt, just perfect.  Of course, to me, that meant I should bake something because I was in such a good mood.  Today was all about bananas ....

My mother brought home some over ripe bananas last week and I immediately put them in the freezer for a later baking date.  Her one request:  bake something for everyone at work.  OK, not a problem, I knew exactly what to make.  My grandmother's banana bars!  This is a no-fail, delicious, addictive recipe.

I grew up eating these bars and helping my grandmother make them is a very fond memory.  I can still picture them cut into bars and stacked on the oven, dusted with powdered sugar, waiting to be eaten ....

The aroma in the kitchen ... in the house ... is enough to get your taste buds watering.  There is nothing more homey then the smell of banana and vanilla wafting from the stove.  My kitchen still has that intoxicating smell from hours ago.  It has taken me all my strength to not eat it all!

These are traditionally dusted with powdered sugar.  However, for my mom's coworkers, I decided that a very thin cream cheese frosting layer would be a perfect mid-morning treat.

Without further yapping, here is the best banana bars recipe.

My Grandma's Best Banana Bars
1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
2 cup scant flour
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp baking soda
2-3 mashed bananas (over ripe the better)

Preheat oven to 350*F and prepare a cookie sheet.  Cream the butter and sugar.  Add eggs, sour cream, and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda.  Add to the wet mixture until just combined.  Add in the mashed bananas.  

Bake on a cookie sheet for 30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Serve with either powdered sugar or cream cheese frosting*.

* Cream Cheese Frosting:
3/4 stick of Neufchatel cheese
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup confectioners' sugar

Cream together the cream cheese and vanilla with a hand mixer.  Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar 1/4 cup at a time.  Spread evenly on the banana bars.