Saturday, April 30, 2011
9/99: Chocolate Tomato Cake with Mystery Ganache
The Chocolate Tomato Cake has become one of my favorite cakes in the book because it is so incredibly easy to make, easy to impress, and because it creates excellent dinner conversation as everyone tries to guess the mystery ingredient.
Tonight was one of my good friend's birthdays so I brought this cake along to the party and the group spent minimum of15-20 minutes trying to figure out what was in it.
Rum? Vodka? Citrus flavored liquor? Mayonnaise? Mustard? Cumin? Tarragon? Roasted Red Peppers? Paprika? Cream Cheese? It drove them crazy.
After awhile (with a few hints in the right direction) one of the girls finally got it. Everyone was shocked and honestly I'm kind of glad that they were. The secret ingredient, folks, is Campbell's Tomato Soup:
There were actually two cans of it-- one for the cake and one for the icing.
The cake, as I mentioned, was very simple and took me under an hour to prepare. The ingredients were also pretty basic so there was no need for the grocery store (a huge bonus). The batter turned out to be very thick, so thick that you had to press it against the edges of the pan to make it keep it's form.
I really liked that because smoothing the top of the batter out in the pan with an offset spatula really affected how smooth the cake was when it came out of the oven. I honestly don't think i've ever baked a cake that had a more perfect form. You can't tell perfectly in the picture but the cakes were flawless.
Then to the ganache. The ganache turned out to be a little too bitter for us though I think I would have liked it better if I hadn't have known the secret ingredient. I think my favorite part was getting to use my new food processor! It called for 12 oz of 60-62% cacao.
Then you combine heavy cream and tomato soup, bring it to a boil, and then put it in the food processor with the chocolate. The problem here is that my heavy cream had gone bad so in the middle of baking I had to drive down to the grocery store to buy more (15 minute drive). But once I got back, I finished the ganache in about 10 minutes. Seriously, it was a super easy cake.
The longest part of the cake was waiting on the ganache to thicken into icing consistency. I had to wait several hours and by the time I iced it, I was supposed to wait even longer to do the decorations so it could harden onto the cake. Sadly, I didn't have time to do that so the decorations weren't perfect. In the end it worked out just fine though. I even ran into the owner of the local bakery here in Chattanooga who complimented me on my cake! He was really impressed with the design. Way to go, Rose.
Responses: People seemed to love it. Most people agreed that they liked the cake better than the icing, but overall it was a great cake. The soup added so much to the moisture in the cake that it was really unbeatable. There were several comments that it was different than any other cake they've ever tried but in a great way. People rated it 7, 8.5, and 9 on a scale of 10. I was a little psyched out by the fact that I was eating two cans of tomato soup so it was hard for me to finish my piece but when I didn't think about it, I really did enjoy the cake.