Monday, November 5, 2012

My First Decadent Chocolate Cake: The Queen of Sheba

I couldn't wait to watch my newest Craftsy class and I was home by myself on Saturday night. At first I thought there would be no way I could watch enough of the class to accomplish anything this weekend, but it took about 1 hour to watch from the beginning through the first cake and I knew I would be able to do it. I went out immediately and bought some chocolate :)

My sister came home with my nephew yesterday and my mom and I wanted to have a nice family dinner. We had planned to make Suprêmes de Volaille à Blanc by Julia Child (seriously the most delicious chicken breasts you will ever have) and I knew that this cake would go great with our fancy French meal. 
And here is my very first 'project' from the class - The Queen of Sheba Chocolate Torte :) Doesn't it look delicious? Because it was. I'm really surprised at how many little tips I've learned so far in the class and I've only watch 5 episodes! For example - I had no idea how much temperature affects the way chocolate performs. I mean, I had some idea just from cooking with chocolate before and of course eating it :) But allowing chocolate to cool at room temp verses refrigerating it will produce a completely different outcome and taste. Crazy huh? There are all kinds of tips about handling the chocolate, melting the chocolate, and just generally getting it to do what you want. I've baked with chocolate before and I enjoy a challenging recipe so I'm certainly no beginner, but the class still has taught me so much. And just look at the result!
Here is a picture that's more focused on the marbling pattern. I love that I was able to make such a smooth and pretty cake at home. I won't lie - it did take some patience and a lot of time, but the result was well worth it. Everyone commented on how beautiful it looked and how good it tasted. If you are thinking about taking this class, just know that you may have to go out and buy some supplies. Since I bake a lot, I already had most of the things I would need, but I did go out to Marshall's and buy an angled icing spreader and an 8" round pan with a removable bottom (I had a spring form pan already but it was way too big - like 10" or something like that). Also, I was able to buy my chocolate at Aldi of all places, so it was really inexpensive and still tasted great. I used the Moser Roth 70% Cacao chocolate bars and they were $1.97 each (compared to something like Godiva or Lindt at Target that were around $3 each).
Just after doing the marbling, just before adding almonds to the sides.
So, what's the verdict on this class? I may have only done one cake, but I feel like I've already learned a ton and I can't wait to make the next one! Alice Medrich is a great teacher and shares so many useful tips that really make this process very simple. Also my husband (who requested that I take this class) was very pleased with my cake, so everyone's happy! I would definitely recommend taking this class to anyone interested in baking and working with chocolate. Chocolate has always been a bit of a mystery to me and it's nice to get advice from someone who has worked in a successful shop for 30 years plus written many award winning cookbooks AND even cooked with Julia Child on her show back in the day :) I can't stress enough how happy I am with this class. It definitely is out of my usual Craftsy realm of knitting and crocheting and sewing, but I'm so glad I chose to take it. It has taught me skills that I will be able to use for the rest of my life and bring enjoyment to everyone who gets to try one :) And I've only just begun!

Go here to get more information about the Decadent Chocolate Cakes class on Craftsy. You can see cakes that others have made and even watch clips from some of the lessons to get a better idea of how the class works. And maybe you can pick up this class for yourself while you're there :)

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