If you have visited me often, you know that I love to teach and I love to share my knowledge with anyone interested to listen. Lately, I have carried out my wish for “sharing” by guest posting on other blogs, where readers can try out my recipes, read about different techniques in baking or just enjoying getting exposed to desserts they may not have seen before.
My Hungarian heritage is constantly reminding me the desserts I grew up with; it seems as if they were implanted into my brain forever. Not that anything is wrong with that; on the contrary. Most of my dessert-associated memories are pleasant; I either envision myself painted with chocolate all over my face , or licking pastry creams off my fingers or helping my Mother roll out a flakey dough for cheese pockets. One dessert that invades my dreams the most is “Rigo Jancsi”, a double chocolate sponge cake with a thick layer of chocolate mousse filling (and if this is not enough chocolate), glazed with chocolate ganache. Now you know why I am a chocolate addict.
My addiction is actually inherited from my Father. He is the one that loved to take my sister and me to the best cafe houses in Budapest, where we would stare at the huge counters and display cabinets with amazement and dilemma. “I need to select one dessert from these choices?” – I was thinking. I found this a nearly impossible task. There were rows of small cakes with lots of chocolate, pastry creams with all kinds of colors, cute marzipan figures (I love those), fruit tarts, large torts, small torts, Napoleons, strudel, beiglies and I can go on and on to the end of this page and still would not mention everything. The only thing that calmed me down is my Father’s voice: “Do not worry, we will back many more times and you will have the opportunity to taste everything multiple times.”
Rigo Jancsi was my choice in many other visits. Every time I walked into one of these first class bakeries, I could not resist not selecting this cake. Why, because as I glanced at it, it all came back – the melting-in-your-mouth chocolate mousse, the apricot jam-soaked double chocolate sponge cake and the crunchy bittersweet chocolate topping. I get this excessive moistness in my mouth, just by writing about it.
I provided here one variation of the recipe; out of at least ten others. A cake that survives for that many years (and centuries) must gain the input of creative pastry chefs, ambitious home bakers and artistic recipe developers. The original recipe is provided to the following blog, http://www.sarahmelamed.com, where my article is posted. It also includes a brief story about the birth of this cake; so please click on the link and enjoy the reading, as well as the other recipe. The title of Sarah’s blog is: Food Bridge – Food, Culture, and Family – is so appropriate. Just think about what keeps a family together? Where we share the daily events in our lives, if not at the dinner table. How did we arrive to name a group of food items, or dishes, as Mediterranean? How did Sarah adjust to her new life in Israel when she was transplanted from the US? Just look around her blog and you will feel the strong bond she developed between her family life, the abundance of fruits and vegetables that Israel produces and the culture of her background.
And now I must stop talking, because you are ready to bake.
(Double Chocolate Sponge Cake with Mile High Chocolate Mousse and Sweet Whipped Cream, with Chocolate Ganache Glaze)
The recipe is taken from “Buttery Books”. They adapted it from “The Lost Art of Baking with Yeast: Delicious Hungarian Cakes & Pastries” by Baba Schwartz
- 3/4 cup cake flour, sifted
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 6 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 12 ounces bitter-sweet chocolate (about 2 cups), chopped into 1 inch pieces (not stronger than 70%)
- 1 3/4 cups heavy cream
- 1/4 cup butter
- 2 teaspoon vanilla
Heavy Cream Filling
- 2 cups of heavy cream
- ½ cup confectioner’s sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla
Glaze (It is actually a chocolate ganache)
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (about 1 1/2 cups), chopped into 1-inch pieces (not stronger than 70%)
- ¼ cup light corn syrup
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
Instructions for Preparation
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a jelly roll pan (10-1/2 x 15-1/2 inch pan; also called half-sheet pan) and line it with wax or parchment paper that is sprayed with baking spray.
- In a medium bowl, combine the cake flour, salt, cinnamon, powdered espresso and cocoa powder. Set this aside.
- In a bowl of a standing mixer, beat the eggs for 10 minutes on high-speed. The eggs will have the consistency of soft whipped cream. Continue beating on high-speed while slowly adding the granulated sugar, one tablespoon at a time. The resulting mixture will have the appearance and consistency of a batter ready to be baked to create a sponge cake. When you lift the wire-whip from the egg mixture, the mixture should fall back to the bowl, as if it was a ribbon. That is why pastry chefs state that “beat the egg mixture to a ribbon stage”. Finally, add the vanilla.
- Set the standing mixer speed to its lowest setting and add the dry ingredients very slowly (i.e. like about one tablespoon at a time). Use a rubber spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl periodically and beat until just all the dry ingredients are incorporated. Caution: over mixing will cause the eggs to deflate.
- Spread the cake batter in the prepared jelly roll pan and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cake starts to pull away from the sides of the pan. Do not over bake.
- Cool for a few minutes on a wire rack, then invert the cake onto a rack. Carefully remove the parchment (or wax) paper and allow the cake to cool completely.
- Place the chocolate pieces in a bowl.
- Bring the heavy cream to a boil on the stove top and pour over the chocolate pieces.
- Let the mixture stand for 5 minutes.
- Add the rum and vanilla and stir the mixture, starting in the middle and slowly moving outward with the circular motion until you obtain a smooth, shiny chocolate ganahe.
- Refrigerate this mixture for 2 hours
- With a hand-held electric mixer, whip the chilled chocolate ganache filling, scrapping the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, until the volume has doubled and becomes to a mousse consistency
Whipped Cream Filling
Place the heavy cream in a cold bowl and with a hand-held electric mixer, whip up the cream to soft peaks, and then slowly add the sugar, 1 tablespoon at time without stopping the electric mixer.
Fold in the vanilla and refrigerate.
Note: It is also called: Chantilly Cream
- Cut the cake in half and place one half on a large serving dish. (Try to match the shape of the serving plate with that of the chocolate cake; in other words, do not use a circular shape serving plate, when the cake is square)
- Spread the whipped chocolate mousse over the top of one half cake.
- Refrigerate for one hour.
- Spread the whipped cream over the chocolate mousse evenly and let it set for one hour in the refrigerator.
- Place a parchment paper that is cut 1 inch larger than the cake itself, under the cake to catch the chocolate drips.
- Pour the chocolate ganache glaze over this half of the plain cake (see directions for preparation below), let it run down the sides of the cake and let it set at room temperature. (Note: if the ganache is too heavy, just warm it up either in a microwave, or with a hair dryer, blowing hot air over the surface of the ganache and it will thin-out). Prior to placing it in the refrigerator, remove the excess ganache from the sides of the cake. Place it in the refrigerator for a faster and more “solid” setting.
- Once the glaze is set, cut this half cake into a cube shape, measuring either 2 X 2 or 3 X 3 inches and place it evenly on the whipped cream.
- Let it set for one hour in the refrigerator.
- Take the cake out of the refrigerator and slice it through, in accordance with the top slices and the cake is ready to be served.
Note: Use the serrated knife that is dipped into hot water; dip the knife as many times needed into hot water, to get even, smooth slices.
- Place the chocolate pieces in a medium bowl. Bring the heavy cream to boil on the stove top and pour the cream over the chocolate.
- Let it stand for 5 minutes.
- Start to mix the chocolate and cream in a circular motion, starting in the middle and slowly moving outward. When you obtain a smooth, shiny chocolate ganache, add the butter and the vanilla and stir until smooth.
- Refrigerate until ready o be used.
I trust you will make this delightful cake and will let me know what you, and/or your guest thought about it? Any question, just drop an e-mail to me. The main thing I’d like to tell you is this: Always buy top quality ingredients for top quality results.