Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Chocolate Orange Tea Cakes

I'm so excited about these chocolate orange tea cakes!  For a while now, I'd been keeping things relatively simple by baking things that don't take a lot of time, which has been great when you don't have a lot of time! But I've kind of exhausted everything I had on my list and I wanted to step things up a notch so I turned to William Curley's Couture Chocolate book for inspiration.
William Curley clearly had the McVitie jaffa cakes in mind when he came up with these chocolate orange tea cakes.  Fun fact - McVitie had a ruling in the UK that their jaffa cakes are cakes, not biscuits.  HM Revenue Customs argued that their jaffa cakes were biscuits and should therefore be subject to tax which is imposed on all chocolate coated biscuits.  However McVitie successfully established that they were not biscuits, rather cakes and in doing so, went into all sorts of wonderful technical details to distinguish cakes from biscuits such as describing the texture of cakes and how cakes start out soft and then harden when stale whereas biscuits start out hard and then soften.
Anyway, I digress! So it took me two days to make these cakes (recipe adapted) (and a stark reminder why I kept to simple baking).  It shouldn't have taken two days (having said that it would be one long day in the kitchen otherwise), except that I kept buggering up the two components that I thought would be the easiest, the ganache!

I started off by creating chocolate discs by tempering the chocolate.  Tempering chocolate and I have had a shady past.  It all started after my first attempt which as a result of being successful, I started scoffing at all the Masterchef contestants who had difficulty tempering.  After that, my attempts at tempering would sometimes end in me merely melting chocolate! That showed me didn't it!

I then created the orange dust which is achieved by finely grating orange zest and roasting it in the oven on a very low temperature for around 2 hours.  The end result is an orange zest which turns to powder when you rub it between your fingers.

I then hand squeezed about a dozen oranges to get fresh orange juice so that once reduced I could combine it with chocolate to form my orange chocolate ganache.  
So you can see the various components that make up these little cakes.  The bottom layer comprises of a genoise sponge which I decided to coat in a simple orange syrup (given genoise sponges are quite dry and are great for flavouring by soaking up syrups).  A ring of orange ganache is then piped on top of the sponge and the centre of the ring is filled with an orange marmalade.  A chocolate disc is placed on top and the cake is then ready to be drizzled with dark chocolate ganache (or tempered chocolate as the recipe calls for, although this would require a special chocolate tempering machine to maintain the temperature at 31 degrees).
I absolutely love these cakes! I love chocolate orange and the orange ganache is to die for!  Given that there is so much chocolate, the orange flavour can easily be lost, however by ensuring the sponge is drenched in orange syrup and a good amount of orange marmalade is incorporated, the cake is wonderfully balanced.  And the tempered chocolate gives a nice crunch when you bite into the cake!

Despite being so time consuming, I would definitely want to make these again, particularly as the McVitie jaffa cakes are not readily available here!

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