Thursday, May 1, 2014

Me, my sister and Ina


I've been trying to get this recipe out and perfected for a while.  After many attempts to make the perfect looking cake I realized it's not always about the way it looks but really about the way it taste.  Right? I can't say how many times I've put a disclaimer on my baking.  Ok, I'm not the worst baker, (actually my dance students think I'm pretty amazing) and I can follow a good recipe.  However, my sister the baker would never call me to decorate or ice a cake and maybe not even a cookie for that matter.  So with a little help from my sister sharing her dark chocolate ganache recipe and one of our favorite chefs, Ina Garten's amazing chocolate cake, I was able to put my savory-sweet tooth balsamic strawberry compote recipe to good use.

Now, like I said I tried really hard to make this recipe look good so please don't judge my photos in this post.  I know my sister will be making this for Mother's Day so I'll be sure to post her masterpiece on my Instagram!

There are three different ways this dessert can be made; an 8-inch round layered cake, 4-inch round mini cakes or my favorite, layered parfaits.  I wish you luck and enjoy!


Dark Chocolate and Balsamic Strawberry Compote Cake


Chocolate Cake
Follow Ina's famous recipe here for the cake.



Balsamic Strawberry Compote

Ingredients
2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons high quality balsamic vinegar
Dash of sea salt


Combine all ingredients in a medium sauce pan over medium high-heat and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes, occasionally stirring.  The compote should be syrup like.  Transfer the compote to a bowl and allow to cool. Refrigerate and store for up to two weeks.  Makes about 1-1/2 cups.


Dark Chocolate Ganache 

Ingredients
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
3 teaspoons light corn syrup
1-1/3 cups dark chocolate chips

Place all ingredients into a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Whisk until the chocolate chips are melted and the heavy cream is mixed in.  Pour over the dessert immediately.









Assembling 8-inch Round Layered Cake

Ingredients
Ina's Chocolate Cake
Balsamic Strawberry Compote
Dark Chocolate Ganache
1 cup sliced fresh strawberries

Follow Ina's directions for baking the cake mixture into two 8-inch round cakes.  Once the cakes are cooled place one cake onto a pedestal.  Carefully slice off the top part of the cake to make it level if needed.  Spread the fresh strawberries on top of the cake.  Pour the balsamic strawberry compote on top and spread evenly.  Place the second 8-inch round cake on top.  Pour the dark chocolate ganache over the cake.  Using a spatula spread the ganache evenly making sure to cover the sides.  Place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes allowing the ganache to set.  Makes about 8-10 servings.

Assembling 4-inch Round Mini Cakes

Ingredients
Ina's Chocolate Cake
Balsamic Strawberry Compote
Dark Chocolate Ganache
1-2 cups sliced fresh strawberries

Bake the chocolate cake in an 11x15 inch baking pan.  Allow the cake to cool completely.  

Using a 4-inch round cookie cutter, cut out about 6 round mini cakes.  Place the excess cake into a container and store in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze and store for up to 3 months if desired.

Using a sharp knife, carefully slice the mini cakes in half horizontally, creating a top and bottom.  Line each bottom half with fresh strawberries.  Spoon about 1-1/2 tablespoons of the balsamic strawberry compote on top and spread evenly.  Place the top half of the mini cakes on top.  Trim any excess cake along the sides to make the cakes more round if necessary.  Carefully pour about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the dark chocolate ganache over each mini cake.  Using a small spatula spread the ganache evenly over each cake making sure to cover the sides.  Place the cakes in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes allowing the ganache to set.  Each mini cake serves 2.

Assembling the Parfaits

Ingredients
Ina's Chocolate Cake
Balsamic Strawberry Compote, double recipe
Dark Chocolate Ganache, double recipe 
2-3 cups chopped fresh strawberries

Bake the chocolate cake in an 11x15 inch baking pan.  Allow the cake to cool completely.  Once cooled cut the cake into small 1-1/2 inch cubes.  

Using 6 ounce jars, place 3-4 cubes of cake into the bottom of each jar.  Next pour in 1 tablespoon of the balsamic strawberry compote.  Place about 1 tablespoon of fresh strawberries on top of the compote.  Drizzle in 1-1/2 teaspoons of the dark chocolate ganache.  Repeat with all 4 layers.   Serve immediately or refrigerate for up to 3 days.  Makes 20-24 parfaits.