Another month, another Daring Baker's instalment:
The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. They have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.
What this specimen lacks in the usual aesthetics of a cake, it definately makes up for in character and flavour. While photographing it, I thought it resembled a rather large chocolate Yorkshire pudding, puffed up around the edges and collapsed in the middle. I assure you though, the texture is anything but Yorky-ish. It's more like your favourite dark chocolate mousse but with more body, structure and depth. Perhaps it sounds excessively poetic, but imagine a baked chocolate cloud that completely surrenders to the warmth of your mouth.
A little departure I took from the recipe was the addition of a generous slug of brandy and a half teaspoon of almond extract to the melted chocolate. Also, because I absolutely adore walnuts in dark chocolate, I scattered the base of my baking tin with finely chopped toasted walnuts which added a pleasant textural dimension to the end product. I suspect this will work well with any nut you favour and I might be inclined to try the cake again in future with Brazil nuts and Cointreau liquer.
Although the challenge included making an ice-cream of choice, I absolutely failed to do so for you see, although it was met with much enthusiasm, the emotion dissipated quickly replaced only with irritated disappointment when I discovered a little piece (the integral part) of my ice-cream maker was missing and after much searching, I was too exhausted to even contemplate making the ice-cream manually (although I had this fleeting thought of making a parfait instead). Of course getting some store-bought ice-cream like this and claiming I made it was oh-so-tempting, but that is just cheating, isn't it? Instead. I made do eating generous wedges of the cake with luscious pure cream by Barambah Organics and patted myself on the back for preserving a clear conscience and making a not-so-poor choice with the cream.
So there you have it Daring Baker's February Challenge: Chocolate Valentino hosted by Wendy and Dharm (thanks for hosting!). The recipe and method for preparing this delicious cake and vanilla ice-cream can also be found on their blog.