Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Supreme Gluten-Free Spiced and Earl Grey Tea Cake and Chocolate Unwrapped 2011

This year I heard for the first time about the national Chocolate Week (October 10-16) held in London and all thanks to twitter! For an enthusiast like me who likes to experiment with chocolate and ganache it was an event I did not want to miss.

sliced chocolate cake Earl grey ganache

Besides the large number of local and foreign chocolate producers, demonstrations, tasting and talks, the most interesting part for me was the Great Chocolate Cake Off which called for amateur home bakers to submit a chocolate cake which to be judged by a jury including chocolatier Paul A. Young among other people from the business - food journalists, pastry chefs and chocolate makers. And it was interesting because it was a chance to create a recipe especially for the show and present it to experts and hear what they think about it.

I was very pleased that my Spiced and Earl Grey Tea chocolate cake was honoured among the top five cakes and was judged original and using innovative techniques and generally praised by the jury!

The truth is this was my tweaked recipe after the first idea I had in mind did not go well at all and had to be scrapped. It was about spiced chocolate cake with spiced tea chocolate ganache. Too many things went wrong on that one, and I was not pleased tastewise, so decided to keep spices in the sponge and introduce Earl Grey to the ganache which with its delicate bergamot aroma is a total winner moreover with chocolate.

Actually I was very happy with the final cake, but I admit the sponge might have been more moist. A trick I learned from judges was to spray liquid into the cake before icing with the buttercream and after that immediately after cutting and before serving it. And I am definitely applying this next time.

So here is the recipe:

Earl Grey truffles

For the cake:

(Makes one 7" cake)

2/3 cup sugar

5 tbsp gluten free flour

3 even tbsp Black and Green's cocoa powder

1/4 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp vanilla extract

a pinch of nutmeg

5 medium eggs separated

1/2 tsp baking powder

For the ganache:

400 gr double cream

4 tbsp loose leaf Earl Grey tea

270 gr Black and Green's 72% chocolate

For the butter cream:

150 g butter

250 g icing sugar

1 tbsp milk

30 g Back and Green's 72% chocolate (melted)

For the truffles:

100 ml double cream

1 tbsp loose leaf Earl Grey tea

50 gr Green and Black's 72% chocolate

pearlised chocolate crispy balls

For the chocolate transfer sheet:

200 gr 68% Valrhona dark chocolate


Start with the ganache:

Heat the milk and add the tea leaves. Cover and leave for 1.5 hours. Strain and reserve the liquid.

Heat the liquid again on bain marie and when warm cover the previously chopped chocolate with it. Mix with a spatula until the chocolate dissolves beautifully. If there are some lumps, place over hot water for a while more until everything is dissolved and smooth.

Store in the fridge for some 2 hours.

Bake the cake:

Separate the eggs and add the sugar to the yolks. Beat the eggwhites to a firm snow. Beat the yolks with the sugar until fluffy. Add the spices and vanilla carefully to the yolks and mix well. Blend the baking powder with the flour and sift.

Carefully start to fold in one by one 1 tbsp of the eggwhites and 1 tbsp of the flour and baking powder to the yolks. Proceed until everything is folded in smoothly.

Line a rectangular roll pan with a baking paper and bake at 180 C for 8 minutes. Check with a toothpick if the cake is baked well and remove from the oven.

Place on a tea towel covered with baking paper. Cover the cake's upper side with another layer of baking paper and roll. Leave it rolled for 15 minutes. The n unroll and wait until it cools down completely.

In the meantime remove the ganache from the fridge and wait for a whole to become pliable. Mix with a fork.

Cut along the cake into three even strips. Spread the ganache over the cake strips.

In the middle of a cake board start rolling the first trip with the ganache. Proceed with the rest of the strips.

Wrap with plastic wrap and leave in the fridge for 24 hours.

the great chocolate cake off

Make the butter cream:

Beat the butter, milk and the sugar with a mixer until smooth. Blend the melted chocolate and mix until ready.

Remove the cake from the fridge. Unwrap and cover with the butter cream. Place bak in the fridge for at least 12 hours.

To finish the cake:

Make ganache for the truffles: Heat the double cream and infuse with the tea leaves for 1.5 hours. Strain and heat the liquid. Place in the fridge for 2 hours.

Remove from the fridge and make balls. Roll them into the crispy chocolate pearls. Place in the fridge.

ready cake

To make the transfer sheet:

Temper the chocolate. Place the required amount of transfer sheet into a baking foil. Secure it. Brush with the tempered chocolate evenly and wait until it starts to harden but is still pliable.

Wrap around the cake and set in the fridge for 10 minutes until everything is set. Remove from the fridge and store at room temperature.

Decorate with the ready truffles.

Chocolate Unwrapped was the two-day event that concluded the national chocolate week and was held in Vinopolis, a venue located literally 10 minutes walk from London Bridge station. Which on the other hand did not spare me some half an hour of wandering around staring into the iPhone maps and not having very kind thoughts about the almost constant compass interference! After going the longest possible way around the venue, I finally found the entrance with help from friends i met in the way, phew! So was happy to depose my cake in the kitchen and feel free to roam the chocolate makers' stalls!

What abundance in chocolate! Most of the brands were speciality and artisan chocolates and I was surprised to find Lindt which although exclusive quality still can be found in the supermarkets.

Participants ranked from small boutique chocolate producers to larger boutique producers like Hotel Chocolat. Other participants included British companies Paul A Young, Thorntons, Sir Hans Sloane, Lucky's, Auberge du Chocolat, Paul Wayne Gregory and seventypercent among others There were international exhibitors from some ten countries including Valrhona, Oialla, Original beans, Abanico and Amedei. I was really surprised to discover some Hungarian high class artisan chocolates like Chocome and Rozsavolgy!
The top attraction were the guys from Ecuador, one of the world's largest producers of high-quality cocoa (it actually accounts for 75% of the world's finest cocoa beans producers). They were offering a rose to all ladies and a chocolate fountain with fresh red rose petals to dunk into the chocolate and indulge.

The edible roses were special organic petals for edible purposes the Ecuadorian guys said. Although I hadn't seen fresh flowers and chocolate in the same time I was not too surprised knowing that Ecuador is one of the world's largest cut flowers exporter and one of the world's finest cocoa beans producers. If anybody is to combine fresh roses with chocolates that would be them!

After walking around every single stall and tasting so many chocolates, truffles and cocoa beans, I reached the talks area just in time for the presentation of Ecuadorian guys on how to make chocolate ice cream in a paella pan.

The talk of Hotel Chocolat's co-founder Angus Thirlwell on how the company decided to become coca producer and establish a plantation in St Lucia was one of the most interesting talks. I should mention Valrhona's presentation on how to taste chocolate. Valrhona is a French company from the Rhone valley, a renown wine producing region. The vocabulary for describing the qualities of dark chocolates is similar to the one used for wine tasting because both cocoa and wine are made from fermented products. Clever, huh?

Oh and I need to mention Charbonnel et Walker Pink Champagne truffles!

It was a great day, probably a bit more chocolate than I needed, but I had to make a research on those chocolates, right?!

Well, see you next year, Chocolate week, hopefully!


Working london mummy said...

stunning! what a composition of flavours.

Anonymous said...

It is BEAUTIFUL!!! :)

Zita said...

Wow, this is an amazing cake! You need time to make it! :) Congratulations on being in the TOP 5!!! Well done!

Regula said...

Beautiful! and congrats to you :)

Karen S Booth said...

Absolutely stunning and I am not surprised you made the top 5 too!

Milena Pavlova said...


Choclette said...

Oh gosh, well done. The flavours you've used are great and Earl Grey works so well in ganache. The whole thing looks absolutely superb, no wonder the judges were impressed.

Sneige said...

Thank you very much, girls!

Juls said...

Well done on getting such a high acclaim! You must be proper chuffed! The spices you use - the cardamom especially - are some of my favourite so this is so inviting! (I'm allergic to bergomot though so, sadly, earl grey desserts I have to avoid - which is annoying because there are more and more of them and they all sound and smell so good!)

Sneige said...

Oh I'm sorry to hear that!
They really smell divine, but you can always use other smells as well!

Bety said...

It is great!!! :) Flavours and colors!Congratulations!

Rachel said...

Oh my goodness—this is absolutely beautiful...and such STUNNING photography.
Great to meet you lastnight for a spot of Spanish cooking—I said I'd definitely been on your blog before...! Take care, and hope we meet again soon x

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on an absolutely stunning cake! Just discovered your blog this week and am loving your recipes - beautiful photos too :-)

stephanie said...

bonne journée stephanie

Lola Lobato said...

What a beautiful and original cake!!!

Cristina, from Buenos Aires to Paris said...

Woww!! Magnificent!!

Bety said...

Здравей Sneige,
Твоята торта ме вдъхнови да направя виж какво: http://vkusnosbety.blogspot.com/2011/10/blog-post_28.html

Пожелавам ти още много награди и шоколадови приключения!


Sneige said...

Бети, много се радвам, че тортата ми е послужила за вдъхновение!
Благодаря ти за пожеланията и ти пожелавам усмихната и вкусна седмица на теб и цялото ти семейство!

jas - the gluten free scallywag said...

WOW! I was wondering how you got the vertical stripes and that photo explains it. Gorgeous flavour combo - can't wait to try it.

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