Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Coffee, Frangelico, Chocolate Meringue Gateaux...

Coffee, Frangelico, Chocolate Meringue Gateaux 

For the sponge cake mixture
300g unsalted butter
300g caster (superfine) sugar
4 tsp instant coffee granules
1/2 cup boiling water
6 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp Frangelico 
2 tbsp milk
3 cups plain flour
2 tbsp baking powder
1 + 1/2 tbsp cocoa powder

For the chocolate buttercream
250g unsalted butter, softened
3 tbsp icing (confectioners) sugar
2 tbsp milk
75g chocolate
1 tbsp Frangelico liquer
For the chocolate hazelnut meringue ‘sand’ (optional) 
100g chocolate
1 tbsp Baileys Irish 
Cream liqueur
1 tbsp chocolate liqueur
60g cooked meringue (I used shop-bought pre-cooked meringue shells)
2/3 cup roasted hazelnuts

For the chocolate ganache
180g chocolate
1 cup cream
2 tbsp milk
1 tbsp Frangelico liqueur

To serve
3 cups roasted hazelnuts, medium–finely crushed

* * * * * * *

Preheat oven to 180˚C (350˚F)

Grease and line 3 x 20.5cm (8”) spring-form baking tins, set aside.

To make the sponge cake mixture
Into a cup add 4 tsp instant coffee granules and dissolve in 1/2 cup boiling water. Stir well to combine like you would with normal coffee and allow to cool. In the bowl of a stand mixer add the 300g butter and 300g caster sugar and beat/whip for about 15 minutes on a medium-high setting until very light, fluffy and creamy. The mixture will also become very pale in colour. In a small separate bowl add the 6 eggs and whisk together with a fork. Turn the mixer speed down to low and add the eggs in 4 or 5 individual additions to the butter/sugar mixture and beat over medium speed until incorporated. At this stage add in the Frangelico and milk and beat for a further minute or so then add in 3 tbsp of the pre-prepared cooled coffee and again beat over a low speed to combine. 

Sift flour, baking powder and cocoa into a medium-sized bowl, combine together and then add to the cake mixture tbsp by tbsp until all ingredients are incorporated together. Pour into prepared spring-form pans and bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes until cooked and tops golden. Perform a skewer test to ensure cakes are cooked through. Cool on wire racks.

To make the buttercream
Beat sugar and butter in a stand mixer together again - as above, over until light, fluffy and pale in colour (about 15-20 minutes). Whilst this butter and sugar are mixing, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (always be careful not to let the bowl touch the water below), when melted cool slightly (2 or 3 mins) and then pour into the butter/sugar mix. Stir to combine then add in the milk and Frangelico. Store all ingredients together then place in the fridge until required.

To make the chocolate hazelnut meringue ‘sand’
*Note this optional - you can omit if preferred...
Place roasted hazelnuts into a heavy-duty freezer bag. (*Note - to roast hazelnuts simply place them on a baking tray and roast in a medium oven for 15 minutes until golden brown. Keep an eye on them so they don’t burn as this can happen pretty quickly once they start to toast). Using a rolling pin bash the nuts up to a fine texture. Add the 60g pre-made/pre-bought meringue shells (I used a packet of pre-made gourmet mini meringue shells for ease) into the freezer bag and again, bash these up along with the nuts. Set aside. Using the same bowl you used to melt the chocolate for the buttercream, melt the 100g chocolate as before then pour over the nuts and meringue, distribute the chocolate through the hard ingredients using a spatula until evenly coated then place entire mixture into a food processor and blend to a fine powder.

To make the chocolate ganache
Chop chocolate into small pieces and place into a heat-proof bowl. Place cream into a small saucepan and bring to a slow boil, once boiling remove from heat and pour cream over chocolate, allow to sit for 1-2 mins then carefully stir to combine. The mixture may appear a little curdled but continue to mix and until you stir in the milk and Frangelico and set aside until required.

To assemble the cake
Spread a generous amount of buttercream on top of the bottom layer of cake them sprinkle over a layer of hazelnut/chocolate ‘sand’, add the second sponge layer and repeat with buttercream and choco/nut sand. Top with the final and third sponge layer. Using a palette knife, cover entire cake with a thin layer of buttercream and place in the freezer to chill. After approx. 15 mins remove from the fridge and cover with ganache mixture. Return to fridge then chill for a further 10 minutes then remove and sprinkle top and side of cake with crushed hazelnuts.

Serve with a small drizzle of chocolate liqueur if required.

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