#CookBlogShare, baking, Bourne End, cake baking, hot fudge glaze for cakes, hot fudge recipe, kitchen organization, overseas moving, Rose Levy Beranbaum, Rose Levy Beranbaum's luxury golden white chocolate cake, Thames Path, The Cake Bible, unpacking kitchen, white chocolate butter cake with fudge glaze, white chocolate cake, white chocolate cake recipe, white chocolate cake with chocolate and raspberries
As that inimitable creation of British literature, Bertie Wooster, was wont to observe: “What ho! What ho! What ho!”
Goodness, it has been a long time, hasn’t it? Or perhaps it only feels that way to me. In the course of ordinary life, two months does not usually signify a very great passage of time.
However, when you have, in those two months, moved your entire world across the pond, it stretches out into an age.
Such a move marks an epoch in one’s life. Everything that has happened before—all the blog posts, the culinary schools, the cookbook, the novel—is suddenly relegated to a remote past. They now belong to the former era, B. E. (before England), while everything that happens from here on out is dated I. E. (in England).
After a blissful seven days on the Atlantic (a bit more on that in a later post), where we could imagine that life on land and packing boxes did not exist, we arrived in Southampton and drove up to Gerrards Cross in Buckinghamshire, which we chose as our base for house hunting (also more on this in the future).
We were in a hotel there for about a month, before moving into our new home in Bourne End during the first week of September.
Bourne End is a delightful village—exactly what all romantic New Worlders like me dream about when they envision moving to Britain. We live right across from the rail station, and the Thames is less than a five-minute walk; so I have both trains and boats nearby, which is wonderful.
In the mornings when I run, I follow the train tracks over the bridge that crosses the river and then go along the Thames Path. It is all so beautiful and more than I could ever have hoped for.
Well, we’ve been in the house for about three weeks now, so all the boxes are unpacked, the pictures hung up, and the utilities in some sort of order. Unpacking the kitchen was of the utmost importance to me, naturally, and also, as it turned out, rather a challenge.
This kitchen is significantly smaller than the one I had in the States (which I admit I was expecting), and the absence of an island or a pantry put cabinet space at a premium. Thanks to an ingenious pull-out corner cabinet, we actually did find a space for everything at last, but adjustments still had to be made.
Since the kitchen only has one drawer for tools, I now keep most of my spoons and such corralled in a pitcher and a vase on either side of the range, and the glass shelf surrounding the hood has offered refuge to a few items as well. I am also using canisters for the first time in my life, so as to free up a little extra space in the pantry cabinet. To be perfectly frank, these have been changes for the better: it’s so convenient to just be able to grab a whisk without having to open up a drawer with your floury fingers.
Perhaps the most significant change to my kitchen’s organization is that the bottom shelves of my cookbook cabinet have been given over to towels and aprons, thus displacing a number of books. Some of these found a home in the hutch in the living room, but the rest ended up on an open shelf below our dining room sideboard—a shelf that had never before been used.
I rather like having all these things out on view. My brother remarked that it makes the kitchen look like something seen in a showroom—which I take as quite a compliment. Furthermore, it somehow happened that all the cookbooks that ended up on the shelf were the ones that I (shamefully) rarely use, but now that I see them peeping out reproachfully at me every time I sit down at the table, I feel compelled to open them up and try a recipe more often.
And so, as soon as life had begun to take on some semblance of a routine, I pulled out Beranbaum’s Cake Bible and made her luxury white chocolate cake, with a recipe of her hot fudge sauce to glaze it.
These were, I am ashamed to say, the first recipes I had ever made from this gorgeous book, and they were as devastatingly delicious as you would expect a book with such a title to provide.
I am doubly ashamed to admit that I have owned the book for five years and that it was a present from my parents on my final day of pastry school, which alone was enough reason to show its treasury of recipes more respect.
I decorated my cake with raspberries, simply because I happened to have them on hand, but now I am convinced that they are a necessary addition to the dessert. Their bright acidity tempers the decadent combination of thick, glistening fudge sauce and rich, moist golden cake perfectly.
And I plead with you to use Green and Black’s white chocolate in this cake: the perfume lent by the presence of vanilla bean flecks really is not to be missed.
I have a million things more to tell you, but this post is far too long, so good-bye for the present—but I can faithfully promise you that it won’t be another two months before you hear from me again.
I am linking this cake up with Cook, Blog, Share over at Supergolden Bakes.
Adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s The Cake Bible
Note: I have taken to using spelt flour almost exclusively in my baking, and I find that the white spelt can pretty much replace plain flour in any recipe. I also must note that the golden syrup and espresso powder in the hot fudge are my own additions—ingredients that no chocolate sauce in my kitchen may be considered complete without.For the white chocolate cake: 6 oz. (170 g.) white chocolate, chopped 6 egg yolks 1 cup (240 ml) whole milk 1 ½ teaspoons vanilla extract 2 ⅓ cups (300 g.) white spelt flour or plain/all-purpose flour 1 cup + 3 tablespoons (240 g.) caster (granulated) sugar 1 tablespoon + 1 ½ teaspoons (22 g.) baking powder ¼ teaspoon kosher salt 9 tablespoons (130 g.) unsalted butter, at room temperature For the hot fudge glaze: 2 ¼ oz. (65 g.) bittersweet chocolate, chopped 3 tablespoons (18 g.) cocoa powder ½ cup (120 ml) water 4 ½ tablespoons (65 g.) unsalted butter, diced ½ cup (100 g.) caster (granulated) sugar 3 tablespoons (45 ml) golden syrup ¾ teaspoon espresso powder ¾ teaspoon vanilla extract 1 dozen luscious, perfect raspberries, plus more for serving
- Preheat the oven to 175°C (350°F). Line two 9-inch round cake pans with parchment paper; then grease and flour the paper liners and sides of pans.
- Place the chopped white chocolate in a large bowl. Bring a pot of water to a simmer over medium heat.
- Turn off the heat and balance the bowl over the pan of steaming water. Let stand, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate is melted. Remove the bowl from the pan and set aside for the chocolate to cool.
- In a small bowl, whisk together the egg yolks, ¼ cup of the milk, and the vanilla extract.
- Sift the flour into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. On low speed, stir in the sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add the butter and continue to mix on low until only small flakes remain. Beat in the remaining ¾ cup of milk and increase the speed to medium.
- Mix for about a minute and then scrape down the sides of the bowl. Return speed to low and slowly pour in the egg yolk mixture. Scrape down bowl again.
- Raise speed back up to medium and mix until the batter is thick, smooth, and creamy, about 2 minutes. Beat in the melted chocolate.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans and smooth the tops with a spatula.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the centre of one of the layers comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. The cakes should not be pulling away from the sides of the pans yet.
- Remove pans to a wire rack and let cool 10 minutes. As the cake layers cool, they should now start pulling away from the sides of the pan. Their domed tops will also flatten.
- After 10 minutes, run a knife around the edge of each layer to make sure that it is completely separated from the pan, and then invert onto the bottom of a tray covered with parchment paper. Then re-invert back onto the wire rack to finish cooling.
- To make the glaze, combine the chocolate, cocoa powder, and water in a mediumish saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted, and then add the butter, sugar, golden syrup, and espresso powder. Bring up to a simmer, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
- Stop stirring and bring up to a boil. Continue to cook until the sauce thickly coats the back of a spoon, 8 to 10 minutes. You may swirl the pan occasionally to prevent the bottom from scorching, but don’t stir.
- Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Set aside to cool until the hot fudge is thickened but still pourable.
- Place one of the cake rounds on a serving platter and spread a thin layer of the hot fudge over it. Top with the second cake round and then pour the remaining hot fudge over the cake, letting it drip enticingly down the sides. Take 12 of the biggest, most beautiful raspberries you can find and space them equally around the circumference of the cake. This, by the way, does not merely look pretty: it makes portioning and slicing the cake much easier come serving time.
- Now you can either chill the cake before serving to set the glaze fully, or you can let it stand on the counter until the glaze is only partially set. Then when you cut the slices, the glaze will run down the sides of the pieces as well. This is purely an aesthetic choice; the cake tastes the same either way you decide to serve it. Whichever choice you make, serve up additional raspberries in a bowl alongside the slices and let people help themselves.
- This cake is absolutely addictive straight out of the freezer, if for some reason you cannot eat it all up on the first day.
Yield: 12 servings; 1 9-inch two-layer cake
Kate - gluten free alchemist said:
Welcome to the UK Alexandra. Hopefully it will soon feel very much like home! The cake is gorgeous and definitely fit for the celebration. I almost always use Green & Blacks chocolate in my cooking…. the white chocolate definitely has the best vanillary taste. Your fudge sauce looks amazing! Love the addition of the espresso powder.
Alexandra McDermott said:
Thank you, Kate! I must say that it already feels very much like home–I’m so happy to be here. The availability of Green & Blacks cooking chocolate contributes to my feelings of delight, of course . . .
I never make fudge sauce without espresso powder now. It makes all the difference in the world!
Wow – that’s not just a move it’s a whole new life! I hope you are feeling more settled with the kitchen unpacked even if it is a little smaller than you are used to. The cake looks very celebratory indeed! Here’s to you, to your new house and your new life. I can’t wait to read more about it. Lovely to see you back on #CookBlogShare : )
Alexandra McDermott said:
True, it is a whole new life, and I’m loving every moment of it! I actually prefer the smaller kitchen now that everything has got a place–less running around the room searching for tools. And I’m thrilled to be getting back to blogging once again.
Welcome to the UK and welcome back to blogging Alexandra! I’ve missed your creations like this delicious looking cake! I hope you are well settled and enjoy your new home =)
Alexandra McDermott said:
Thank you, Laura! I’ve certainly missed my blogging and joining in the round-ups . . . I’ll be back with Biscuit Barrel next month; looking forward to seeing the theme tomorrow.