They taste good, they look good, and they’re made by good people — talented bakers from around the world. Today, pastry chef Karen Krasne behind San Diego’s gourmet dessert shop Extraordinary Desserts shares a passion fruit cake to beat your winter blues from her cookbook, Extraordinary Cakes.
Passion fruit caribe cake. (Photo: Karen Krasne)
Makes one 8-inch dome cake
Serves 12 to 14
Passion fruit has a delicious flavor that is surprisingly harmonious with many other ingredients. Slightly tangy with a hint of citrus yet naturally sweet, passion fruit blends quite well with robust dark chocolate. I first experienced this while on a culinary trip to Paris, where I took a class with renowned pastry chef Christophe Felder at Bellouet Conseil. This cake is my tribute to this stunning combination of flavors.
While passion fruit purée is preferable for this recipe, passion fruit juice may be substituted, but will give a slightly sweeter flavor profile to the finished dessert.
You will also need an 8-inch dome-shaped mold to assemble this cake.
Dark Chocolate Cake
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus 2 teaspoons, melted but not hot, for greasing pan
1 ounce (1/8 cup) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 large egg
6 large egg yolks
¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tablespoon honey
4 large egg whites
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Grease the bottom and sides of an 8x3-inch round cake pan with removable bottom with the 2 teaspoons melted butter and line the bottom with an 8-inch-diameter parchment paper round.
Combine the chocolate and 2 tablespoons butter in microwave-safe mixing bowl and heat in the microwave until melted and smooth, or melt together in small, heavy saucepan over very low heat, stirring continuously. The chocolate mixture should be warm but not hot.
Sift together the flour and the cocoa powder and set aside.
Combine the whole egg, egg yolks, ¼ cup sugar, and honey in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whip on medium-high speed until light in color and thick in volume, about 7 minutes. Add the melted chocolate and butter, whipping until fully combined. Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in the sifted ingredients until combined. Transfer to a clean bowl large enough to mix in the meringue (see step 7).
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip the egg whites on medium speed for 2 minutes. When the egg whites are frothy, begin to slowly add the remaining 3 tablespoons sugar and increase the mixer speed to medium-high. Whip until the egg whites are stiff with a creamy texture, about 3 minutes. Remove the bowl from the mixer.
Using a rubber spatula, carefully fold the meringue into the batter in 3 additions.
Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and place on a rack in the center of the oven. Bake until the cake is firm to the touch yet still appears moist, about 30 minutes.
Remove the cake from the oven and cool completely. Once cooled, remove the cake from the pan and peel the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake. Wrap the cake tightly in plastic wrap until ready to use. The Dark Chocolate Cake can be stored for up to 1 day at room temperature.
Passion Fruit Simple Syrup
¼ cup granulated sugar
½ cup passion fruit purée
Combine the sugar with 2 tablespoons water in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, pour into a clean bowl, and let cool.
Once fully cooled, stir in the passion fruit purée until well combined. Passion Fruit Simple Syrup will keep for up to 2 days in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
Semisweet Chocolate Ganache
18 ounces (3 cups) semisweet chocolate chips
1 ½ cups heavy cream
2 teaspoons Myer’s dark rum
Place the chocolate chips in a medium heatproof mixing bowl.
Bring the cream to a boil in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit for 5 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, stir slowly and gently in a circular motion until mixture is fully combined and homogenous.
Transfer the chocolate mixture to a food processor; add the rum and process to blend (or, using an immersion blender, add the rum to the bowl with the chocolate mixture and blend to emulsify). The mixture should be thick and shiny.
Pour the ganache into a clean bowl and allow to cool and firm to the consistency of pudding. The Semisweet Chocolate Ganache can be made up to 5 days in advance and kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator, but may need to be gently re-heated before using.
Chocolate Passion Fruit Mousse
2 ½ cups heavy cream
7 ounces (1 1/3 cup) 64% bittersweet chocolate, chopped
4 ounces (2/3 cup) 33% to 40% milk chocolate, chopped
1/3 cup granulated sugar
4 large egg yolks
½ cup (1 small to medium) sliced ripe banana
1/3 cup passion fruit purée
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into ¼-inch cubes
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whip 2 cups heavy cream until soft peaks form, 2 to 3 minutes. Hold in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Melt together both chocolates in a large heatproof mixing bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water (do not allow the bowl to touch the water), stirring occasionally. The melted chocolate should be warm but not hot. Remove the bowl from over the water and set aside.
Combine the sugar and ¼ cup water in a small, heavy saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Insert a candy thermometer and cook to 230° to 240°F, the soft-ball stage.
While the sugar is cooking, place the egg yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip at medium-high speed until thick and light, about 3 minutes. Carefully pour the hot sugar syrup into the whipping yolks in a continuous stream, being careful to avoid pouring the syrup directly onto the moving whisk. Increase the mixer speed to high and whisk until mixture has cooled down and has tripled in volume, 7 to 10 minutes.
While the yolk mixture is cooling, blend together the banana and passion fruit purée in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment until liquid. Pour into a clean mixing bowl.
Combine the remaining ½ cup heavy cream with the butter in a small, heavy saucepan over medium heat and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally. Pour about one-third of the hot cream mixture into the puréed fruit and immediately whisk to combine. Whisk in the remaining hot cream until well incorporated. Slowly strain the hot mixture through a fine-mesh sieve into the melted chocolate in several additions, whisking continuously. Stir vigorously until fully combined, smooth, and homogenous. The chocolate should look shiny and glossy.
Remove the cooled egg mixture from the mixer. Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg mixture into the chocolate in several additions until fully combined. Then fold in the whipped cream until well blended. The Chocolate Passion Fruit Mousse should be made when ready to assemble the cake.
Dark Chocolate Cake, baked and cooled
1 recipe Semisweet Chocolate Ganache
5 cups Chocolate Passion Fruit Mousse
1 recipe Passion Fruit Simple Syrup
Place the unwrapped cake on a flat work surface. Using a long serrated knife, slice cake horizontally into 2 even layers. Trim one layer down to a 4-inch-diameter circle.
Measure out 1 ¾ cups Semisweet Chocolate Ganache and set aside to be used in the Décor portion. Gently warm the remaining ganache until soft enough to spread easily.
Pour 1 cup of Semisweet Chocolate Ganache into the dome mold and use a pastry brush, the back of a spoon, or clean hands to spread the ganache evenly around the inside of the mold until completely coated with chocolate. Place the mold in the freezer to allow the ganache to set, about 30 minutes. When firm, coat with another ½ cup of ganache to create a solid ganache shell. Return the mold to the freezer to firm, about 30 minutes. When the ganache is firm, remove the mold from the freezer and place 2 ½ cups Chocolate Passion Fruit Mousse into the center of the mold.
Using a pastry brush, lightly moisten the cut side of the trimmed 4-inch cake layer with approximately 2 tablespoons Passion Fruit Simple Syrup.
Using an offset spatula, spread approximately ¼ cup of warmed ganache onto the moistened cake layer. Place this ganache-covered cake layer over the mousse layer in the dome mold, ganache-side down, and press gently. Top with the remaining 2 ½ cups Chocolate Passion Fruit Mousse.
Moisten the cut side of the remaining 8-inch cake layer with remaining Passion Fruit Simple Syrup and spread with remaining Semisweet Chocolate Ganache. Place the cake layer ganache-side down over mousse and press down firmly. It should now be even with the top edge of the dome mold. Tightly wrap the cake in the pan in plastic wrap and place in the freezer overnight.
Reserved 1¾ cups Semisweet Chocolate Ganache
¼ cup cocoa powder
2 ripe medium bananas, sliced into 40 (¼-inch) slices
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
Caramel, Mango, or Passion Fruit Sauce (optional)
Remove the assembled cake from the freezer, remove the plastic wrap, and unmold the cake from the mold. Transfer the frozen cake to an 8-inch round cake board and place the cake with the cake board on a wire cooling rack set over a baking sheet.
Fit a pastry bag with a ¼-inch round decorating tip and fill with 2 tablespoons of Semisweet Chocolate Ganache; hold at room temperature until ready to use. Gently warm the remaining ganache until liquid and thick. Pour the warmed, liquid ganache directly over the top of cake to completely cover. Place in the refrigerator for 6 to 8 hours to allow the ganache to firm and the cake to fully defrost.
One hour before serving, remove the cake from the refrigerator. Using a fine-mesh sieve, dust the surface of the cake generously with cocoa powder to completely cover. Place the cake on a serving plate.
Brush the banana slices lightly with lemon juice. Using the Semisweet Chocolate Ganache-filled pastry bag, dot each banana slice with ganache and adhere the slices to the bottom edge of the cake, working in a clockwise direction and overlapping the slices to create a border.
Allow the decorated cake to sit at room temperature for 1 hour before serving. Serve slices with sauce, if desired.
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