Monday, November 22, 2010

RHC: Chocolate Génoise with Whipped Peanut Butter Ganache

Chocolate Génoise/PB GanacheThis should be an easy cake, at least now that I'm fairly comfortable with génoise. However, things just didn't go my way with this week's cake-of-the-week. The génoise was not too bad, the main flaw being that as usual, my batter didn't have the full expected volume. I think I've got a two-fold problem. First is that I need to continue to work on my folding technique so I don't lose the lovely volume from the beaten eggs. Second is speed--I think I'm folding too long (see #1), then also being too compulsive about scraping all the batter into the pan and otherwise dallying while getting the cake into the oven. I need to work on that TV chef style where utensils and pans with lots of the ingredients covering them are tossed willy-nilly into the sink, while the chef moves on in the recipe.

All that aside, I did get the chocolate génoise baked, and prepared the syrup with Chambord. (Unlike several Heavenly Cake Bakers, I had a dusty bottle in my liquor cabinet from some long-ago baking endeavor so didn't have to break the bank to get a new bottle.) Then it was on to the peanut butter whipped ganache. This should also have been simple--ganache has no terrors for me, and this recipe is just ganache with some peanut butter added, then whipped. Well, it was the whipping part that did for me. I carefully checked the temperature, but nonetheless when I started to whisk the mixture it seemed impossible to get soft peaks. I continued whisking and ended up with a grainy ganache. Rose says such a ganache can be rescued by re-melting it then beating it again, and indeed when I remelted it and got it to the right temperature it looked just like it had when I started. Unfortunately, it also once again never produced anything like soft peaks and quickly turned grainy. I gave up and frosted my syruped génoise with it anyway. It did have a nice light texture, so all that was affected (as far as I could tell) was the appearance.

Chocolate Génoise/PB GanacheTasting results: not many opinions from the home front this week. Personally I thought it was good, with a nice light texture and well-balanced flavors. Peanut butter can be very "in your face", but this one is nicely balanced with the chocolate. However, it's still a génoise, and I strongly prefer butter cakes, especially the dense pound-cake styles. As far as the folks next door--sister-in-law and older niece dislike peanut butter and declined to taste (SIL did try a nibble, and found the PB to be at a very objectionable level). Younger niece tasted and declined any more. Nephew, a PB fan, presumably ate the piece I sent over to him but I didn't get a report. My brother didn't ask for any (and I forgot to offer it)--actually, I'm not sure how he feels about PB.

Office opinions: a big hit. My supervisor called it the best cake-of-the-week he'd had. (He does have a limited sample size, as his office isn't on my regular Cake Distribution Route. <g>) P, who hadn't had a cake-of-the-week before, loved it (he started out asking if it was a mix, and the concept of frosting not from a can seemed rather foreign to him), as did B and V. C, like me, prefers the butter cakes and gave it an "OK". Still, I think we'll call it a success.


  1. LOL! Love reading your blog post. Your post always brightens my day..and makes me laugh! :D Your comment about the opinions or lack of from your family cracks me up. :) I love how 'stable' your ganache is..mine was so soft..maybe i should overwhipped mine the next time!

  2. Office tasters are so appreciative! A gal at my daughter's office claimed she wanted this for her wedding cake! As far as I know, she's not even dating anyone.

  3. Nicola, hilarious post, especially the bit about genoise. Genoise can be tricky, and I agree you need to practice your skills of just tossing dirty dishes now and go clean it later.

    If you dislike the peanut butter, you can omit it next time and add a couple of Tbsp of Chambord instead. It is divine this way :)

  4. I'm with you on the genoise vs. butter cakes. I definitely prefer the butter cakes.