Now that's a tunnel I wouldn't mind going through!
What with Easter and everything, and family coming around, one had to bake a cake - oh drats!;-)
I'm not one to let an opportunity like that pass me by, so out came the books (I'm doing a lot of things by the book, I don't know if you've noticed... One day I guess I'll feel confident dabbling around baking recipes, but for now, I'll stick to messing up my dinners and lunches - the savory part anyways)
My collection of cookbooks is an evergrowing project (YAY!) but there are, to my shame, a lot of them that I've never cooked from. Shame on me, shame on me. And you know what - one of those was entitled Chocolate American Style. C'mon, a cookbook named something with chocolate and I hadn't cooked from it?!? Well, that's just - wrong. I had to do something!
The book is divided into chapters: The Candy Store - Chocolate for Breakfast (Lora Brody - I like you!) - Comfort me with Chocolate - Celebrations, Holidays, and Other Special Occasions for Eating Chocolate - Soda-Fountain Favorites - Old World-New World - I'd like That to Go - Kids in the Kitchen - Some like it hot and, last, but not least, Isn't it Romantic? The pictures are divine (a lot of them brown, goes with the territory I suppose) and the print is kept white on chocolate-colored pages, and chocolate-colored on white pages. There are actually quite a few recipes I'd like to try, but for this occasion, I wanted something I could bake in my new, recently brought home from Berlin cake pan with hearts. Therefore, when I saw the Tunnel of Fudge Cake, my search ended.
According to Lora Brody (the author), Tunnel of Fudge Cake is a classic dessert. I never heard of it, but I'm not American, so that wasn't a surprise! What you do is make a ring of fudge/ganache first, that you then freeze - you make the batter, fill your pan halfways, put in the ring of fudge, then spoon in the rest of the batter. And bake, of course. It looks fantastic and it do that, even if you don't have as neat a cake pan as I do, I'm sure!;-)
Tunnel of Fudge Cake - from Lora Brody's Chocolate American Style
For the fudge filling:
½ cup heavy cream
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
For the cake:
Unsalted butter and flour for preparing the pan
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch-processed
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 extra-large eggs
1½ cups buttermilk
Confectioners' sugar for garnish
- I substituted the buttermilk for regular milk with a teaspoon of lemon juice - I was all out of buttermilk, and the stores were closed - hey, it's Easter! As for the chocolate, I just used a total of 170 g. for the cake. In Denmark we don't really have categories of bittersweet, semisweet, unsweetened and so forth, but merely a percentage of cocoa solids. I used half 70 % chocolate, and half milk chocolate - I have to make that man of mine happy, don't I? I actually think I'll try to use milk chocolate for the fudge filling next time too, would make for a nice contrast in colors. Anyways, you have to combine everything too, don't ya?
Preheat the oven to 350 F/180 C. Prepare the cake pan.
To make the fudge filling "ring", place the heavy cream in a saucepan. Gently heat the cream until almost boiling, then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate. Stir until melted and smooth. Let it cool in the pan to room temperature. Draw a circle on a piece of wax paper, a little smaller than the size of your cake pan - Lora Brody suggests using a salad plate for measure, which fitted with my cake pan, but check before you go ahead! Place the wax paper on a flat pan that can fit in the freezer - I was stupid enough to just use the salad plate and the ring ended up more like a puddle in the middle of the plate than a ring. No worries, I just cut it to fit, but there must be a smarter way of doing this! Like having a smaller cakepan, lining it with film, and just pouring in the chocolate, letting in set, then remove it? I don't know, but you'll figure something out!
Anyway, flat pan, wax paper - scoop the chocolate mixture onto the paper, using the drawn circle to form a ring of chocolate, approximately 1½ inches wide. Place in the freezer while you make the batter for the cake.
Melt the chocolate, melting them together is fine. I use the microwave, but otherwise a bowl on top of barely simmering water is the way to go. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Place the butter in a large mixing bowl (the one of your Kitchen Aid if your lucky enough to have one of those!) Beat the butter with an electric mixer (or the KA) until light and fluffy, about 1 minute. With the mixer still running, add the granulated sugar, little by little. Add the eggs one at the time, beating well after each addition. Adjust the speed of the mixer to low, then add a third of the flour mixture, followed by a third of the buttermilk, continuing until you've used all of both flour-mixture and buttermilk. Add the melted chocolate - it'll look like this:
Now, scrape about two cups worth of batter into your prepared pan. Take out the fudge ring of the freezer, peel it of the waxed paper, and gently place it on top of the batter, cutting it to fit if it needs it. You don't want the ring to touch the sides of the pan, it has to be completely surrounded by batter. Scrape in the rest of the batter. Bake for about 45 minutes or until the cake has risen, the surface is cracked and the cake has just begun to pull away from the sides of the pan. I found this to be the hardest part - I usually go by the "no crumbs on the toothpick"-method, but that won't work here - you've got a gooey chocolate trail in the middle that'll mess up your idea of what's crumb and what's melted chocolate. So keep an eye on it.
When you believe the cake is done, leave to cool - IN THE PAN! - on a cooling rack. It has to be in the pan, because the filling has to set a little before you turn it out. Turning it out, use a serving plate placed over the cake pan, then invert the cake onto the pan. I wouldn't mind leaving it for longer, the recipe says 20 minutes, but when I took mine out after that amount of time, it sank a little - not a lot, but a little, and enough to start me thinking OH NO, stop, getup, get. back. up!
That's it. Sift confectioners' sugar on top if you like. Lora suggest you serve it warm, but I think it's just a wee bit too much when warm. I planned the making of it so I could serve it warm, but actually thought it was better on the second day - it goes a little brownie-like in it's sticky-ness and you can still tell there was a fudge ring present at one time.
And wouldn't want to cheat you - here it is when cut (and still warm):
And DON'T FORGET! Derrick just announced the next Sugar High Friday - it's getting sticky again, with molasses!