I'm not sure if I've conveyed how much I've enjoyed this little ol' blog of mine. It's been a pleasure to share with whomever is reading my joy of baking, cooking and food in general. Today is my first challenge with The Daring Bakers, a group of bakers worldwide who get together once a month, bake something specific from the same recipe and blog about it on the same day. Its sorta like getting together with a few hundred of your favourite friends and baking up a storm. I'm sincerely honoured to join these super enthusiastic bakers and look forward to many more challenges to come.
The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef.
We have chosen a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.
The flourless chocolate cake is remarkable in its inclusion to the gluten free crowd, which so many desserts cannot claim. I love its ability to call itself a cake while really holding more similarities with fudge, truffles and brownies. Egg whites provide the structure that flour would normally, but once baked, set and refrigerated 24 hours the flavours mellow and meld together, while the texture changes from light to dense and fudgey. The refrigeration step is completely optional and if left at room temperature it will be soft and sorta spongy- a very different texture. But I think it help the chocolate develop and the texture is inviting. Its composition is a testament to quality ingredients and how to appreciate them fully as there is 3 simple ingredients in this dessert- butter, eggs and chocolate. Using a chocolate with flavours you adore is a must. And since the sweetness comes from the chocolate itself and no added sugar, you must use a good eating chocolate. The kind of chocolate you can see yourself munching on throughout the day. Using your deepest, darkest bittersweet 75% chocolate is likely not going to translate well here. However I do recommend mixing as well. I used half 70% bittersweet chocolate and half 55% semisweet, which still turned out a decidedly chocolate flavour with just the right balance of sweetness, while not being too sweet at all. This gives the ice cream room to shine with its creamy sweetness. The icing on the cake, pardon the pun, is that this is perhaps one of the easiest desserts there is AND few desserts will have the kind of crowd appeal that this one does. There's always something about chocolate...