Exciting times… Christ is Risen, Christos Anesti! Beautiful liturgy last night followed by feasting today!
Also, I had some Barnes and Noble credit and treated myself to a new cookbook which I love, The European Cake Cookbook by Tatyana Nesteruk from TatyanasEverydayFood.
It is full of classic European tortes and cakes which are my favorite because they entail so many essential patisserie techniques: meringues, sponges, European buttercreams, curds, etc. and there’s a recipe for Esterhazy Cake which is a Hungarian favorite. DH is Hungarian and we are going there this summer!
For our Easter picnic today I wanted to make the beautiful Chocolate Raspberry Zefir Cake. Per Tatyana’s recommendations I was able to make the zefir (marshmallow) a couple of days ahead of time and store at room temperature. I made and assembled the cake and stored it in the fridge wrapped in plastic wrap a day ahead of time. I also made the chocolate garnish a day ahead. So this morning, I just had to make the glaze and decorate the cake. I then let it come to room temp before the picnic.
I also made the Esterhazy Cake because I was afraid we wouldn’t have enough dessert at the picnic. I was able to squeeze that in today before the kids woke up and during the little one’s nap so it was super easy!
I also recently bought some new acrylic cake boards and scraper from Cake Safe that I loooove! I am so tired of having to trim my cakes in order to give me some frosting space on the traditional cake boards. I ordered cake boards from cake safe that are 1/4″ wider and I now have a little extra space for frosting my cakes. But I am in love with the scraper. I have been through so many scrapers looking for the ideal one. I even designed one myself and had an acrylic store make it for me but it wasn’t exactly perfect. I will have to review all my cake scrapers in a post one time. Anyway, this one is perfect.
My lovely daughter told me all about time lapse videos so this is my first go at it. And of course, my DH set up the tripod and the camera for me. Unfortunately, some of the clips were sideways. I don’t know why. I think it was his fault. He tried to apologize but no need…all sins are forgiven today.
Chocolate Raspberry Zefir Cake
For Raspberry Zefir:
- 3/4 (178ml) water, divided
- 2 tsp (16g) agar gelatin (powder)
- 1/4 cup (45g) raspberry-flavored gelatin powder*
- 2 cups (400g) sugar
- 3 egg whites
- 1 Tbsp (15ml) lemon juice
For Chocolate Sponge Cake:
- 6 large eggs
- 3/4 (150g) sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup (125g) AP flour
- 1/4 cup (25g) dark or dutch process cocoa powder
- 1 tsp baking powder
For Raspberry filling:
- 2 cups (250g) raspberries
- 1/4 cup (59ml) raspberry liqueur
For Chocolate Buttercream:**
- 2 cups (454g) unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup (90g) dark chocolate chips, melted
- 1/4 cup dark or dutch process cocoa powder
- 3 cups (375g) confectioner's sugar
- 1/2 cup (118ml) heavy cream
- 1 cup (180g) white chocolate chips
- Red food coloring, optional***
For the Chocolate Squares:
- 1 cup (180g) white chocolate melts
- 1/2 cup (90)g) pink chocolate melts (or white melts with pink food coloring)
- 1.Line two 8-inch cake pans with plastic wrap. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper and prepare a pastry bag tipped with star tip #4FT.
- 2. Combine 1/2 cup (118ml) of water and the agar gelatin in a saucepan. In a separate saucepan, combine the remaining 1/4 cup (60ml) of water and the raspberry gelatin.
- 3. Cook both the agar and raspberry gelatin (separately) mixtures over medium heat. Cook the raspberry gelatin until it has completely dissolved, then set aside. Continue cooking the agar until it thickens, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar gradually and bring the syrup up to a boil; allow to boil for 2 minutes.
- 4. In a stand mixer bowl, whisk the egg whites for 2 minutes to soft peaks, then slowly pour in the agar syrup, whisking on medium speed. Add the raspberry gelatin mixture and lemon juice last, then whisk on high speed for7-10 minute; the meringue will cool and thicken.
- 5. Place 2 cups (473ml) of the meringue into the pastry bag and pipe small dollops onto the parchment paper. Divide the remaining meringue evenly between the two cake pans and spread using an offset spatula. The zefir will set almost immediately at room temperature.
- 1. You can store the zefir for 3-4 days in an airtight container at room temperature. This is especially helpful if you don't have five 8" cake pans to use for the zefir and the cake.
- 2. I just used a wide star tip since I didn't have this particular tip.
For the cake:
- 1. Preheat the oven to 350F and line three 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper.
- 2. Place the eggs, sugar and vanilla into a mixer bowl. Whisk on high speed for 4 to 6 minutes, or until the mixture becomes voluminous and pale in color. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder. Sift the dry ingredients into the batter in small increments, folding gently after each addition.
- 3. Divide the batter evenly among the pans and bake for 18-20 minutes, until the tops are set. Allow the layers to cool completely , then use a sharp serrated knife to split each sponge cake in half.
- 1. In my video it looks as if I'm really whipping the dry ingredients into the batter. Actually, you want to do gentle folds in a "J" motion: going down the middle with your spatula, going underneath the batter and flipping over, then rotating the bowl and doing it again and again until it is just combined. You can also do a "figure 8" motion.
- 2. Do not grease your cake pans.
For the raspberry filling:
- Combine the raspberries and liqueur in a small bowl and crush with a fork.
For the frosting:
- Beat the softened butter in a large bowl until fluffy. Add the vanilla, salt, melted chocolate and cocoa powder. Mix until smooth, then add the confectioner's sugar and beat the frosting for several minutes until fluffy.
- Notes: You can also make the frosting ahead of time and store in the fridge. But bring to room temp before using and re-whip it.
- Assemble the cake, alternating the two layers of cake to one layer of zefir. Spread each cake layer with raspberry filling and frosting. Lift the set zefir out of the pan, discard the plastic and add to the cake. Smooth the frosting over the top and sides with a flat spatula.
- Notes: You will have six layers of cake after you are done slicing them in half. So the layers are assembled in the following order: cake, raspberry filing, cake, frosting, zefir, frosting, cake, raspberry filling, cake, frosting, zefir, frosting, cake, raspberry filling, cake, then frost the whole thing.
For the glaze:
- Heat the heavy cream in a large bowl until steaming hot, then add the chocolate. Allow it to sit for a few minutes, then stir until smooth. Add a few drops of red food coloring, if desired. Allow the glaze to cool and thicken slightly, then pour over the cake, using a spatula to spread it evenly. Garnish with zefir dollops and fresh raspberries. If desired, add an additional garnish of chocolate squares
- Notes: For me, 90F is an optimal temperature for pouring a glaze. It helps to chill the cake for an hour before glazing so as not to melt the frosting.
For the chocolate squares:
- Melt the chocolate melts in two separate bowls. Cut a 3x16-inch strip of acetate paper. Using a flat spatula, spread the white chocolate in a thin layer over the acetate, then create a wave pattern over the top and spread evenly. Let it set for a few minutes, then use a sharp knife to score the chocolate into triangles; peel away from the plastic when set.
- 1.Depending on the type of chocolate melts you have they may need to be thinned slightly with paramount crystals to give the chocolate more fluidity.
- 2.If you don't have acetate paper you can use parchment paper but the chocolate will not be shiny.
- Reprinted with permission of the author
* No need to buy expensive agar powder online. You can find it at your local Asian supermarket.
** For me, the Chocolate Buttercream was just barely enough to do thin layers between cake layers and cover the cake. Consider multiplying the recipe by one and a half.
***I used pink.