I’ve been a long time fan of eating and baking with Valrhona chocolate. This brand creates one of the world’s finest chocolate in the small village of Tain L’Hermitage, France since 1922. They are dedicated to creating unique, artisan quality chocolate with complex, balanced and consistent flavors. This mission of excellence continues as the gastronomic traditions of the renowned Rhone Valley find expression in every mouthwatering taste of Valrhona’s superb chocolate. Valrhona has created a range of unique and recognizable aromatic profiles by perfecting techniques for enhancing the flavor of rare cocoa beans, grown on land masterfully selected for its terroir. (The best way to taste the difference in chocolate, bake some brownies with Valhrona – it’s another level.)
I baked myself a cake that was simple but complex in flavors for me to appreciate what I’ve made without slaving away in the kitchen. I always love tropical flavors with chocolate and it certainly did not feel like autumn yet, so I created a chocolate cake with layered with flavors of mango and lemongrass. Together, it’s a wonderful cake. Moist, deep chocolate cake meets the right amount of sweet-spicy ginger and mango jam and the lemongrass white chocolate frosting added enough gentle sweetness and a little twang of lemongrass flavor to make your palate think about that haunting flavor.
Chocolate Cake, Mango Ginger Lime Jam*, White Chocolate Lemongrass Frosting
*The jam is store bought.
White chocolate frosting
6 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped (I used Valrhona’s Ivoire 35% white chocolate)
1 3/4 cups powdered sugar
4 stalks of lemongrass, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
1/4 cup heavy cream
4 ounces (8 tablespoons) butter
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
Make the frosting (preferred so you have time for the frosting to cool and firm up in the refrigerator)
1. In a small saucepan, heat up the heavy cream and lemongrass until the cream starts to simmer. Turn the flame on low and let it simmer for 5 minutes. Turn off the flame and cover the pan and let it set aside for 1 hour to let the cream infuse with the lemongrass.
2. After the hour is up, strain the lemongrass from the heavy cream into a small bowl. Grab a wooden spoon or a spatula and press squeeze the lemongrass of any cream. You want to make sure you have every precious drop of that wonderful lemongrass flavor. Set aside.
3. Melt white chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of water that is not quite simmering. Make sure the bottom of the bowl rests several inches above the surface of the water. Stir chocolate until smooth and let cool to room temperature on the countertop.
4. Sift the powdered sugar into a medium-sized bowl. Using a whisk, stir in the infused heavy cream until all of the sugar has dissolved and mixture is smooth. Add butter, vanilla extract, and salt and continue to beat until smooth and shiny. With a rubber spatula, stir in the cooled white chocolate.
5. Place frosting in the refrigerator until cool enough to frost the cake, about 30 minutes. (Frosting can be kept for a day in the refrigerator or at room temperature. Refrigerated frosting will need to soften at room temperature before spreading.)
Unsalted butter and flour for pans
2 cups granulated sugar
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Valrhona Cocoa Powder 100% (you may use any other brand’s cocoa powder)
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup canola oil or any flavorless oil like grapeseed
1 cup whole milk
1 cup hot strong coffee
To Make the Cake
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper, then butter and flour the parchment and the sides of the pans.
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, mixing on low speed. Mix in the eggs, oil, and milk. Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the water. The batter will be soupy.
3. Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
4. Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then turn the layers out onto the rack and cool completely.
Assemble the cake
1. Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread about 1 cup of mango ginger lime jam on the top of the first layer but leave about 1/2 inch from the edge of the cake so when you top your cake with the other layer, the jam will not ooze over the edge.
2. Top the cake with the second layer. Crumb coat the cake with the frosting with an offset spatula. Place the cake in the refrigerator and let it set for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Take out the cake from the refrigerator and frost the entire cake again until you obtain a smooth, even surface all over the cake. Do note, the frosting will set on the cake faster since the cake is cold. (The mango layer/drip topping is from mango puree set with sugar and gelatin.)
3. Slice, serve and enjoy!