This week's cake-of-the-week for the Heavenly Cake Bakers is the cover recipe, the Bernachon Palet d'Or. My writeup will be brief, for the same reason my cake took the quicker road when possible--it was a busy week, and I left town Saturday to join my brothers at a work session towards clearing our father's house, leaving the available time for baking rather short. That meant primarily skipping the signature lacquer glaze that gives a mirror finish to the cake. We've done one cake already with the glaze, though, the Chocolate Apricot Roll, so I'd already attempted the glaze itself. That removed a couple of motivations on making the glaze: a major reason I'm participating in the bake-along is to push myself to try these new things, and I also felt that the glaze wouldn't add much in terms of taste as opposed to presentation.
Removing the glaze, then, my cake-of-the-week was a single-layer chocolate butter cake using cocoa as the chocolate, frosted with a ganache made with creme fraiche. The cake was easy to mix up, though not quite a one-bowl cake. Mine baked up nicely with just a little bit of curling of the top edges of the cake, despite the cake strip on the pan. A little strip of the bottom edge of the cake fell off as I turned it out onto a rack after the 10-minute cool-down--don't know why that happened, but I just glued the little pieces back on with ganache before frosting the cake.
The ganache is a food processor version using 62% chocolate, and that's what I did. I skipped the creme de cassis after opening my old bottle and remembering that the smell always reminds me of cough syrup. <g> No issues there, and the ganache set up to a great consistency for frosting in a couple of hours. I did a quick crumb-coat, refrigerated the cake for a few minutes, then finished the frosting and did a spiral pattern on the top for a little decor since I wasn't going to do the glaze.
Tasting results: I really like this one. The cake is even-textured and reminds me of a pound-cake style chocolate cake that was the staple of my high-school-age baking, one made with Hershey bars and chocolate syrup. (This is a positive comment--I really liked that cake, though I haven't made it in years. <g>) It is just on the edge of dry, but the ganache compensates for that.
Younger niece, pressed for a report by phone (I brought some slices with me for me and my brothers to have, and left the rest in Atlanta for the nieces and nephew) liked the ganache, but was rather 'meh' about the cake. No bad comments, she just felt it was an unremarkable chocolate cake. My brothers both like it, as well.