|CHOCOLATE RUFFLE CAKE Alice Medrich
For the Cake
3 tablespoons hot clarified unsalted butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sifted all-purpose flour
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon sifted unsweetened cocoa powder
4 large eggs
2/3 cup sugar
For the Ruffles
1 pound bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
For the Syrup
1/3 cup water
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 to 1/3 cup eau-de-vie de framboise or white rum
For the Filling
3 cups creme fraiche
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoons sugar
5 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
3 tablespoons boiling water
Two 5-ounce containers fresh raspberries
For the wrap
3 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
Makes 12 to 16 servings
Preliminaries: Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350°F. Fit the bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan with parchment paper and set aside.
The Cake: Pour clarified butter into a 1-quart bowl and stir in vanilla. Sift or sieve flour and cocoa together three times, then set sifter on a plate and return the dry ingredients to the sifter. Whisk eggs and sugar together in a large heat-proof bowl. Set bowl over direct heat and warm the eggs. Remove bowl from heat and with a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment beat the eggs on high until cool, tripled in volume, and able to hold a ribbon when whisk is lifted. Sift one third of the dry ingredients over eggs and fold in gently but thoroughly. When the color of the batter is almost uniform, fold in remaining flour-cocoa mixture. Spoon 1 cup of batter into the hot clarified butter and fold together until well blended. Spoon this over the batter and, using the large rubber spatula, gently fold it in. Spoon batter into the pan. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top springs back when pressed gently. Transfer pan to a rack and cool cake in pan. When completely cool, run a knife around the sides to release cake and unmold it onto a rack; invert right side up onto parchment paper.
Preparing the Chocolate: Melt chocolate in heat-proof bowl set over simmering water. Stir chocolate until fully melted and smooth. Hold the bottom of one baking pan over a burner and, moving it back and forth, heat until warm but not hot. Put the baking pan upside down on a flat surface and pour on 1/3 cup of chocolate. Use an offset spatula to spread evenly over the pan. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Repeat with remaining chocolate and pans.
Shaping Ruffles: Remove a pan of chocolate from refrigerator and let warm to room temperature. Place baking pan in front of you, a short side braced against your body. Hold the end of the blade of a thin, flexible 8-inch metal icing spatula in one hand and, with the other hand, grab the blade close to the handle. Using the top left corner of the pan as a starting point and imagining that corner of the pan as 12 o'clock, position one hand in that corner, and the other at 2 o'clock. Press the edge of the blade against the chocolate at a very shallow angle. Slide the blade forward, moving your hand down to 5 o'clock and then pivoting the blade to the left, all the way to the edge of the pan. As you scrape and ruffle the chocolate against the blade and then make the pivot, the chocolate will gather against the blade. Pinch the chocolate so the ruffles form a fan and the pinched part is a handle. Place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate. Make two more ruffles across the top of the pan, using the previously scraped area as your guide. Make the next three ruffles just below, then turn the pan around to get to the chocolate on the bottom and make three more. You should get 9 from each tray.
The Filling: Beat creme fraiche and vanilla to soft peak, then add 2 tablespoons sugar, beating until thickened. Taste and add more sugar if needed, then continue beating until cream begins to stiffen. Cover and refrigerate.
Assembling the Cake: Cut cooled genoise into 3 even layers. Fit one layer into the bottom of an 8-inch round springform pan and brush the layer with framboise syrup. Put chopped chocolate in a bowl with the boiling water, whisking until the chocolate is fully melted and smooth. Using a rubber spatula, fold 1/4 cup creme fraiche into the chocolate. Fold in another 1/2 cup creme fraiche, then quickly spread the chocolate creme fraiche evenly over the gÈnoise layer in the pan. Moisten the second layer of gÈnoise with framboise syrup and set it, moistened side down, in the pan, pressing gently to level it. Moisten with the syrup and top with an even layer of fresh raspberries. (Keep 1 perfect berry in reserve). Beat remaining creme fraiche until it holds its shape. Spoon 1 1/2 to 2 cups creme fraiche over the berries and carefully smooth the creme fraiche over and between the berries. Moisten the remaining layer of genoise with framboise syrup and set it, moistened side down, into the pan, again pressing lightly to set it in place. Cover the cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
Assembly: Run a knife around the sides of the cake, then remove the ring of the springform pan. Put the cake, still on its pan bottom, on parchment paper and set on a decorating turntable. Using ridged plastic shelf liner (available in hardware and housewares stores), or freezer paper, cut a strip 26 inches long and 3/8 inch wider than the height of the finished cake, about 3 inches. Place a larger piece of wax paper on the counter and put the strip on the waxed paper. (If using ridged plastic, put smooth side facing up.) Melt chocolate in the top of a double boiler, stirring once or twice until melted and smooth. Pour the chocolate down the center of the plastic strip, spreading it with an offset spatula across the entire strip. Lift the strip and fit it neatly around the cake, positioning it so that the chocolate side is against the cake. Press one end against the cake and leave the other end standing away from the cake at the point where it would overlap. Slip a small piece of waxed paper into this spot to hold your place. Refrigerate the cake for at least 1 hour, until the chocolate hardens.Place the cake on the decorating turntable and spread the remaining creme fraiche over the top. Remove chocolate ruffles from refrigerator and, beginning at the outside edge, arrange ruffles in a circle. Continue to arrange the ruffles in slightly overlapping concentric circles until the creme fraiche is covered. Put the reserved perfect raspberry in the center of the cake and chill the cake for about 15 minutes, until firm. Remove the waxed paper place keeper and peel away an inch of the plastic from the end of the band attached to the cake. Put a dollop of melted chocolate on that end to act as glue and overlap the other end of the band, pressing lightly to seal it. Carefully remove the plastic. If the plastic sticks, put the cake back in the refrigerator for about 10 minutes, then try again.
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