If this isn’t the most romantic looking cake, I don’t know what is. All those ruffles and sex appeal. And that’s just the outside. Slice into it and you’ll find layers upon layers of chocolate genoise, fresh raspberries, and tangy vanilla creme fraiche.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
Chocolate Ruffle Cake Assembly and Instructions:
1 eight-inch chocolate cake, baked and divided into three even layers (Genoise has a nice, light texture, but any chocolate cake will do. You can’t really go wrong, so just use your favorite recipe.)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon Frangelico (hazelnut liqueur) or other liqueur of your choice
2 cups creme fraiche (cold)
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 pints fresh raspberries
1 pound good-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped into 1-inch pieces.
One 6-inch cardboard round
One sheet of .005 Mylar (available at art supply stores.)
One 18-by-13-inch jelly roll pan, washed and dried. Do not use nonstick.
Make the simple syrup: Combine the sugar and water in a small sauce pan and bring to a simmer, stirring just until the sugar is dissolved. Stir in the liqueur, remove from the heat, and set aside.
Prepare the creme fraiche filling: In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the creme fraiche, sugar, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until the creme fraiche is stiff.
Assemble the cake: Brush the bottom of the bottom layer of cake with simple syrup, using a pastry brush. Set the cake layer onto the cardboard round, syrup-side down. Brush the top of the same layer with more simple syrup, then spread about 1/2 cup of the whipped creme fraiche over the top. Arrange 8-10 raspberries over the layer, then push them down gently into the creme fraiche. Spread another 1/4 cup of whipped creme fraiche over the tops of the berries. Repeat with the remaining cake layers, filling, and raspberries, ending with a layer of creme fraiche over the top cake layer. Chill the cake in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before proceeding.
Make the chocolate band: Trim a band of Mylar to the exact circumference and about 1/2 inch higher than the assembled cake. Melt 1/4 of the chocolate in a bowl suspended over an inch of simmering water (or in the microwave in 10-second intervals on high) until the chocolate is smooth and spreadable. It should feel warm to the touch, but not hot, so be sure to remove it from the heat just as soon as the last bit of chocolate is melted. Lay the Mylar strip flat on a piece of wax paper and then, working with an offset spatula in one hand and the bowl of melted chocolate in the other, pour and spread the chocolate over the Mylar band, covering it completely and spreading the chocolate all the way over the edges. The layer of melted chocolate should be about 1/8 of an inch thick. Allow it to stiffen ever so slightly while you remove the cake from the refrigerator. Slip your fingers under the band, grip it at either end, and then affix the band to the cake by pressing the chocolate-coated side against the cake all the way around. Transfer the cake to the refrigerator (leaving the Mylar strip intact) once again and refrigerate for another 30 minutes while you make the ruffles.
Make the ruffles: Melt the remaining chocolate in the same fashion (using a bowl suspended over an inch of simmering water or in the microwave) and pour it over the back of the jelly roll pan, spreading with an offset spatula to a thickness of about 1/16 inch thick. Transfer the jelly roll pan to the refrigerator for at least 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the refrigerator and slowly bring the chocolate back to room temperature. (The room should be cool and dry, about 68F is ideal.) At the point where the chocolate is malleable but not too soft, fashion ruffles with an offset spatula. Holding the spatula by the handle with one hand and gripping the tip in the other, push the edge of the spatula against the pan, starting at one edge and moving the spatula in an arcing motion. Transfer finished ruffles to a chilled plate or pan, moving them to the refrigerator in batches so they hold their shape.
Create the ruffle top:Remove the cake from the refrigerator and carefully peel away the Mylar strip. You should have a glossy, solid band of chocolate encasing the entire cake. Arrange the ruffles in concentric circles over the top of the cake starting at the outside edge, setting them into the creme fraiche at a slight angle so they are sticking up and jutting out in all directions. Finish the cake with one perfect raspberry in the center of the ruffles.
Final step (and this is essential): Eat it with someone you love.