rich and luscious dark chocolate cream-cheese frosting

10 Apr

rich luscious dark chocolate cream cheese frosting

The three year old son of one of my friends has an active imagination and a very gourmand palate. When asked, how was nursery school, he will say: “Today I built a coffee machine” or “I took the night train to Copenhagen.” And once: “I cooked polenta with tomatoes and parsley. And calamari.” Which sounds perfectly delicious.

Sometimes I am lucky enough to have that kind of free, three-year-old inspiration. This week I built a blanket fort and made a cake. On separate days. Both were even better than I imagined they would be: first I was cocooned in a warm glow of blankets with cups of tea and a kitten, no screens, it felt like an escape in my own flat. And then the idea for a cake just came to me in all its disparate elements. A British friend’s birthday prompted something with Earl Grey, something light and delicate. Then a student came for a macaron class and showed me a beautiful picture of a cake with a whole cheesecake between the two layers instead of frosting. The sheer audacity of this meant I had to try it. Luckily, I already had both an Earl Grey cake and a simple cheesecake in my archives. The former is a light genoise, with only a touch of butter. Thinking of Earl Grey and chocolate macarons, i wanted a frosting that would not overwhelm but complement the delicate citrus-tea layers. With real dark chocolate AND cocoa, and cream cheese for a creamy, slightly salty edge. Made in a food processor it was incredibly smooth and delicious – a substantial afternoon snack for the baker. Me. It was better than my imagination.

For an Earl Grey-citrus-chocolate cheesecake-cake you will need:

One Earl Grey cake, from Fanny Zanotti

One basic cheesecake recipe  no crust: whisk together 450g cream cheese, mascarpone or ricotta, 150g sugar, 4 eggs + zest of one lemon + tea from 2-4 Earl Grey teabags

One quantity rich and dark and luscious chocolate cream-cheese icing, see below

Simple syrup made of 100g water, 100g sugar and one teabag. Boil everything and let cool with the teabag still in.

For the tea: either cut the fine tea out of teabags or blend proper tealeaves in a food processor with the sugar in the recipe. Line two 22cm round tins with baking paper. Bake cake in one and cheesecake in the other, let cool. Slice the cake into two layers, evening up the top if not totally flat. I like to flip the cake over and use the bottom of the cake as the top layer since it is the most even. Lightly brush one layer of cake with syrup. Top with cheesecake, then second layer of cake. Brush with more syrup. (You won’t need to use it all. Save the rest for cocktails.) Ice with chocolate frosting. If you are very meticulous, start with a crumb layer: spread a very thin layer all over first, then refrigerate for 20 minutes. This is supposed to stop crumbs from getting into the final layer. Then carry on frosting. You can do it in an artfully messy way, a la Smitten Kitchen, or neat and smooth with piped rosettes on top.

Rich and luscious dark chocolate cream-cheese frosting

adapted from wickedgoodkitchen: I reduced the sugar and halved the original recipe. It still makes enough to ice and decorate the outside of a 22-24cm round cake – multiply by 1.5 if you want a thick layer of frosting between layers as well.

65g dark chocolate (60-70% cacao content)

115g unsalted butter

115g cream cheese

30g cocoa

180g icing sugar

Make sure the butter and cream cheese are both room temperature. Chop chocolate and melt over a bain-marie or in a microwave (careful not to let it get too hot or it will go grainy). Let it cool a little. Blend the soft butter in a food processor with a blade until smooth. Add the cream cheese and blend again. Sift the cocoa and icing sugar together. Add about half to the food processor, blend, add melted chocolate (cooled but still fluid), and blend again. Scrape the sides, tip in the rest of the icing sugar/cocoa and blend one last time. It should be beautifully smooth and shiny.

To ice the cake: smooth icing around the sides first, then over the top. Use any leftovers to pipe swirls on top. If you want contrasting swirls, mix a dollop of cream cheese with some remaining icing and alternate dark and light chocolate.

Icing refrigerated really well, staying nice and soft. No tests yet on how long it keeps. Cake was demolished in about ten minutes.

11 Responses to “rich and luscious dark chocolate cream-cheese frosting”

  1. intiisar April 10, 2015 at 10:36 am #

    Seems delicious

  2. Est April 10, 2015 at 6:12 pm #

    Recently, when my three year old cousins and twins were asked, “What did you do in school today?,” Their responses: “Time out!” While bright and beautiful, they are active and busy too! Lovely special and exciting blog! I will try to make some of your recipes over time. thank you!

    • Frances April 10, 2015 at 8:56 pm #

      “Time out!” I love it!

  3. kirizar April 11, 2015 at 3:48 am #

    1. I was only mildly disappointed that you didn’t make the blanket fort out of cake; and 2. the ingredients are not idiot-American friendly. We don’t know how to convert the metric system and I would likely bake a cake large enough to house a family of four. That said, it does sound delicious.

    • Frances April 11, 2015 at 11:15 am #

      1) I will certainly consider making a cake-fort (cake-castle?) next time! And 2) as a pastry chef, I highly recommend using digital scales – modern ones are very cheaply found online and normally have both oz and grams – since the results are much more accurate. Depending on how you fill a cup, it can vary wildly from person to person. If you do want to go ahead and convert the measurements, there are lots of websites that will convert all different ingredients for you very easily too.

    • Frances April 11, 2015 at 11:17 am #

      Hope that helps!

  4. le coyote April 15, 2015 at 1:33 pm #

    Thank you for sharing these bits of 3-year-old poetry. More of it to come, and hopefully, the feminine version soon 🙂
    This big cake seems delicious.

    • Frances April 15, 2015 at 4:58 pm #

      I cannot WAIT for the deep philosophical musings of Mademoiselle. I believe you tried another version of said cake in different clothes 🙂

  5. Jennifer April 19, 2015 at 9:05 am #

    Gah Frances sounds so delicious! Bravo!

  6. PJsandSpecs April 19, 2015 at 7:14 pm #

    Wow! It sounds delicious 🙂


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