Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Lime White Chocolate Mud Cake

Lime White Chocolate Mud Cake
with Candied Lime Slices
Home Cooking

This cake matches my blog color scheme... no it wasn't intentional

I promise I'm not pulling your leg when I saw I've literally been dreaming about this cake for at least a week. The thing is, I don't even like lime-flavored things that much but somehow, got into my head that what I REALLY needed to do was make a mud-cake that wasn't chocolate, white chocolate or caramel. When I looked online, I couldn't find any recipes for fruity mud-cakes but I did find see that you could buy them from professional cake stores.

Now... that is VERY unfair and I convinced myself that surely it can't be that difficult. A bit of research lead me to understand that you need chocolate in mud cake to get the characteristic dense texture. Even caramel mud cake contains white chocolate. Another bonus about using white chocolate is that your batter is uncolored so you can do whatever you like with it.

I wanted to make a swirly mud cake with a plain white chocolate component and a lime-flavored component. Many sleepless nights were spend fantasizing about how I would set up the color layers.

The white chocolate base recipe is from The Australian Women's Weekly's "Best Food: desserts" cookbook. I divided the recipe by 4 (didn't want a whole cake) and also, modified a portion of that to get the lime cake batter. I wanted the cake to be whimsical in appearance and slightly eccentric so I made some candied lime slices to use for decoration. The procedure for candying these slices is inspired from "The Perfect Scoop".

Lime White Chocolate Mud Cake with Candied Lime Slices
Makes 1 mini-loaf sized cake

Ingredients:

For white chocolate base
  • 60g butter, chopped
  • 45g white eating chocolate, chopped coarsely (I used Cadbury Dream)
  • Bit more than 1/3 cup (80g) caster sugar
  • 45ml milk
  • 55g plain flour
  • 20g self-raising flour
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 egg, lightly beaten (beat 1 egg and use 1/2 the liquid)
For lime mud cake layer
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • zest of 1 small lime
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • green food dye [optional]
For candied lime slices
  • a few slices of lime (as thin as you can get it without compromising the shape) - you can do as many slices as fits in one layer in your frying pan
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup water
  • lime juice (from the small lime above)
  • green food dye [optional]
For white chocolate ganache
  • 130g white chocolate, chopped finely
  • 40ml thickened cream
  • green food dye [optional]
Procedure:

For white chocolate base
1. Grease and line a mini loaf pan. You might be able to use this recipe in a small cake tin or muffin tins too but I haven't tried that myself. If you do this, the cooking temperature and time will probably have to be adjusted so keep that in mind.
2. Combine butter, chocolate, sugar and milk in a medium saucepan; stir over low heat until melted. Transfer mixture to large bowl; cool for 15min.
3. Stir in sifted flours, vanilla extract and 1/2 egg until the batter is smooth and evenly combined.
4. Pour 2/3 of the mix into the prepared pan. This will be the plain white chocolate component. Obviously, if you want more lime and less white chocolate in the cake, you'll leave more batter behind (but the next few steps involving the lime flavoring may not be accurate so you'll have to alter the quantities accordingly).
5. The batter should be reasonably runny so the surface in the pan is nice and even. You put this in the freezer while you prepare the lime component so that the batter solidifies slightly and makes it easier for you to pour on the lime portion over the top without messing everything up.

For the lime mud cake layer
1. Preheat your oven to 150 degrees Celsius.
2. Get your 1/3 of white chocolate mud cake batter that wasn't poured into your pan. Add the lime juice and lime zest. You need more sugar to counter the sourness of the lime juice - put more or less in depending on your own taste.
3. For aesthetic reasons, I added 2 drops of green food die to make a pretty pastel green shade.4. When you've got this all ready, remove the cake pan from the freezer and very gently (trying not to disturb the lower layer), pour the lime batter on top. You don't want to go overboard smoothing things out because that may mix the 2 layers. Just be gentle.5. Bake in preheated oven for about 1 hr 15min. The surface of the cake should be evenly golden brown. The cake is ready when an inserted skewer or toothpick comes out clean. I was surprised to read the cooking time was so long but it really did take me that long. I lost track of time after a while which is why I gave you an estimate. You'll want to check on it after an hr by periodically sticking a skewer in (having said that, you don't do it ever 5 sec because that will lower the oven temperature too substantially).
6. Once all ready, remove from oven and let it cook in the pan for 10min. Remove from pan and let it cool on a rack until it's at room temperature. When it's cooled down, you can ice and decorate.While you're waiting impatiently for your cake to bake...

For the candied lime slices
Note: This is pretty time consuming so it's a good idea to tackle it before the ganache. You can use other citrus slices too in the same manner.
1. Put lime slices in your pan and add enough water to cover them by a few inches. Bring to a boil, turn down the heat to a low boil and cook for 15min, turning the slices occasionally.
2. Drain the lime, return them to the pan, add more water and blanch them again for 15min.
3. Drain the lime again. Return them to the pan and add 1/2 cup of water, sugar and lime juice. Bring to a boil and then, turn down the heat to reduce to a very low boil and cook for about 20min, or until the liquid is reduced to a thick syrup.
4. If you can't tell what's going on underneath all the froth, remove the pan from the heat for a few seconds and observe. When ready, the limes should be translucent and the syrup should be thick and shiny.
5. Remove from the heat and let lime slices cool in their syrup. I also dotted on a bit of food dye to stain them with a tie-dye effect. They slices were then transferred to non-stick paper and kept in the fridge.For the white chocolate ganache
1. Very easy here - bring the cream to the boil in a small saucepan and then, add the chocolate.
2. Lower the heat and constantly stir until chocolate has melted.
3. You can remove saucepan from heat and wait for it to cool to room temperature.
4. Cover and refrigerate until it's a nice spreadable consistency.
To assemble the cake
1. When I've made mud cake in the past, I trimmed the sides to make a nice, even cake. I didn't do that for this cake because I predicted that if I trimmed away the mound across the top, I'd be getting rid of the lime layer (which was, after all, the whole point of this cake).
2. I spread the ganache over the whole cake, trying to keep it as even as possible (wasn't easy - maybe because I was naughty and didn't measure out the quantities for my ganache or put it in the fridge... resulting in an overly translucent ganache).
3. Time to get creative... you don't have to follow what I did. I got a bit trigger-happy with the food dye and I know that's not up everyone's alley. If you are open to this style of decoration though, what I did was put aside one small portion of the ganache and added green dye (tiny bit at a time) till I got a soft, pastel green shade. The smallest amount of yellow was needed too to make it less HI I'M ARTIFICIAL.
4. Finally, I swirled the green onto the white and tried to make it pretty. This is what I had been thinking about non-stop for many nights but of course, when it came to actually doing it, the result was nothing like what I expected. I think these extravagent decorative techniques are better applied to cupcakes.
5. I topped the cake with a couple of my lime slices to finish it up.

VERY IMPORTANT ADVICE.
  • Mud cake ALWAYS tastes better the next day. You really need to let it get more dense overnight. After you've decorated your cake, put in a airtight container (be sure not to wreck your icing efforts!) and then, in the fridge.
  • When you're ready to serve, bring it back to room temperature. You'll find that the slices have a gorgeous split color effect (if you used the food dye) which looks a lot fancier than the effort it took to achieve it.
Pretty layers
Tasty close-up shot

I didn't think the white chocolate portion of the mud cake was as good as another white chocolate mud cake recipe I've tried but I can confidently claim success on my lime modification. It turned out much better than I expected and contrary to common instinct, a fruit mud cake really works. The lime zest gives an extra bite and the flavor, in combination with the white chocolate, is a definite winner. For someone who doesn't usually like lime products, this cake has really turned things around. Although the outcome wasn't visually the same as what I'd dreamt up, it tastes fantastic.

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