Monday, October 17, 2011

Chestnut Cake With Ganache Filling and Lacquer Glaze

This glaze has intrigued me since I borrowed Rose Levy Beranbaum’s newest book, “Rose’s Heavenly Cakes”, which received “Cookbook of The Year” award and was also the winner in the “Baking: Savory or Sweet” category at 2010 IACP Cookbook Awards. Very well deserved.   I finally had the opportunity to make it for Sandra's birthday.  I used this glaze to replace the chocolate glaze suggested in Dorie Greenspan's Chocolate Caramel Chestnut Cake from her book - Baking From My Home to Yours.  I made the cake following the cake recipe and baked the cake in Wilton's Fanci-Fill Cake Pan.  As suggested by Rose, the cake should have a Ganache Coating as the Glaze will show the slightest imperfection.  I would have loved to coat my cake with Ganache but had instead coated with Chocolate Buttercream cos i ran out of heavy cream and had enough heavy cream only to make the filling -  the Chocolate Caramel Ganache(i could only make 1/2  recipe) 

The Lacquer Glaze was so very shiny (you can see my reflection on the cake) and went well with the cake making it so stunning.  You might notice I left the top alone - I thought  it was starkly beautiful but i can't say the same of the sides to my cake. I had to decorate the sides with sugarpaste flowers.


Lacquer Glaze

Recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s “Rose’s Heavenly Cakes”.

Makes 1 1/2 cups
1/4 cup cold water
2 tsp gelatin
2/3 cups/133 gm sugar
1/3 cup water

1 tbsp plus 1 tsp corn syrup
3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp(sifted before measuring) unsweetened (alkalized)cocoa powder
1/3 cup/2.6 fl oz heavy cream

To make the lacquer glaze

Pour 1/4 cup cold water in a small mixing bowl, sprinkle gelatin over the top, give it a stir, cover tightly with plastic wrap to prevent evaporation and set aside.

In a small saucepan, whisk together sugar and 1/3 cup water over medium heat. When the sugar completely melts, take off heat and with the help of a wire whisk, stir in corn syrup, followed by the cocoa. You’ll have a smooth and glossy mixture.

Stir in heavy cream with a spatula and return pan to medium heat. Bring the mixture to the boiling point(190f/88c). Bubbles will just start to form around the edges. Remove the pan from the heat and strain the mixture into the metal bowl. Cool slightly for almost 15 mins. An instant read thermometer should register 122f to 140 f /50 - 60c 

With the silicone spatula, stir in the softened gelatin until it is dissolved completely and no longer streaky.

Strain the glaze into a bowl and let cool until an instant-read thermometer registers 80F/27C (best temperature to glaze the cake, This lacquer glaze really need to be at the right temperature/consistency, so have patience and heed the correct 80F/27C,  otherwise even at a slightly higher temp., the glaze will be too runny and will not glaze well)

The glaze can be covered and refrigerated for up to 1 week or in the freezer for several months. Reheat it in a double boiler over hot not simmering, water or very carefully in a microwave with 3 seconds bursts, stirring gently to ensure that it doesn't overheat or incorporate air.

For the Cake:

Recipe from Dorie Greespan - Baking From My Home to Yours

2 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 sticks/8 ozs unsalted butter - room temp.
1 1/4 cup light brown sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup store-bought sweetened chestnut spread with vanilla(i used 150 g of sweetened chestnuts and blended to a paste with 1/4 cup whole milk)
1/4 cup whole milk


Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350F.

Spray both Fanci-fill pans with vegetable pan spray. Dust the inside with flour, tap out the excess.

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Worlong with a stand mixer, with the paddle attachment, beat the butter at medium speed until smooth and light.  Add 1 cup of the brown sugar and cnntinue to beat until fluffy.

Add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating after every addition until well blended.

Beat in the vanilla extract, chestnut spread and milk.

Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the dry ingredients and gently mix them in.  Scrape the batter into a large bowl and thoroughly wash and dry the mixer bowl.

Whisk egg whites in the clean ,mixer howl until they form soft peaks.  Add in the remaining 1/4 cup brown sugar and beat until the peaks are stiff but not dry/

Using a large rubber spatula, fold in 1/3 of the egg whites to the chestnut batter until well blended.  Fold in gently the rest of the egg whites.

Scrape the batter into the prepared Fanci-fill pans in equal portions.

Bake for 25 - 30 minutes until cake is golden on the top and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.Transfer cakes to a cooling rack and run a knife around the cake to loosen it from the sides of the pan.  Let cool to room temp. in the pan.

For The Syrup:

2 tbsp (packed) brown sugar
1/4 cup brandy (i used warm water cos brandy is not kid friendly)


Atir brandy (if using) or warm water and brown sugar together  until sugar dissolves.

For The Ganache:

Should be enough to fill and coat 3 layers of 8 inch cake

9 ozs milk chocolate - finely chopped
3 ozs bittersweet chocolate - finely chopped
6 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp water
1 cinnamon stick
1 cup plus 2 tbsp heavy cream
1/3 tsp salt
2 1/2 sticks/10 ozs unsalted butter - room temp.


Put milk and bittersweet chocolates in  a heatproof bowl.

Put the sugar, water and cinnamon stick in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, stir, place over medium-low heat and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves.  Increase the heat, bring to boil and boil, without stirring, until the caramel turns a deep amber color, brushing down the sides of the pan with a wet pastry brush to remove any sugar crystals and swirlingthe pan from time to time.(Depending on the size of your pan, it will take between 5 - 7 minutes for the caramel to color properly.)  Stand back. and add the cream and salt - the mixture will bubble furiously and it might seize, but it will smooth out as you heat it.  With the caramel at the boil.whisk it for another minute, or untiil it is smooth, then pull the pan from the heat and discard the cinnamon stick.

Pour the hot caramel over the chocolate and gently stir until then chocolate is melted and the ganache is smooth.  Let stand. stirring occasionally, until it is completely cool, about 1 hour.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter until smooth and fluffy.  Add the chocolate ganache to the butter in 4 additions, beating on low just until smooth.  Scrape the ganache into a container, cover, and refrigerate overnight.(The ganache can be made ahead and refrigerated for up to 3 days)

For The Buttercream:

2 sticks/1/2 pound),unsalted butter  softened
3 1/2 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/2 tsp table salt
2tsp vanilla extract
4 tablespoons milk or heavy cream


Cream butter for a few minutes in a mixer with the paddle attachment on medium speed. Turn off the mixer.

Sift 3 cups powdered sugar and cocoa into the mixing bowl. Cover  the stand mixer with a large piece of plastic wrap (this will prevent the powdered sugar from blowing everywhere). 

Turn your mixer on the lowest speed until the sugar and cocoa are absorbed by the butter.

Increase mixer speed to medium and add vanilla extract, salt, and milk/cream and beat for 3 minutes.

If your frosting needs a more stiff consistency, add a little more sugar. If your frosting needs to be thinned out, add additional milk 1 tablespoon at a time.

Cut a cardboard round which is the size of the cake and cover the cardboard round with foil.
Brush syrup all over the cooled cakes.
Fill cavities of cooled cakes with The Ganache.
Assemble cake by inverting top layer onto bottom layer.
Place cake onto foiled cardboard round.
Ice cake with Chocolate Buttercream and refrigerate until buttercream is firm and ready to glaze.
Put a cooling rack over a piece of wax paper(the drip catcher) and put the chilled cake on the rack.
Pour The Lacquer Glaze over the cake.  There is enough glaze to cover the cake in 'one shot' without having to touch up the sides. Should you happen to miss a spot, you can use a small metal spatula to add a small dab of glaze. This glaze is a lot more forgiving than the ganache glaze and will not show the touch up. You might have left over and it can be frozen for many months, thawed, reheated and poured perfectly.

You can  watch Rose Levy Beranbaum herself apply the glaze over a cake here.



ping said...

This is so pretty! Love the flowers along the sides! All those different textures right from the top to the middle ... totally amazing cake!

Anonymous said...

Thank you very much, Lily, for this recipe. I'm just as intrigued, and taken!, with the chocolate glaze. You've achieved the mirror-like glaze brilliantly! But, could you please clarify this? To re-heat the chocolate glaze in a microwave oven, you say to do so with 3-seconds bursts, but I'm wondering if you mean 30-seconds bursts? Look forward to your reply. Thanks very much again.


lilyng said...


microwaves differs in wattage amongst all the brands in the market. it can be 500 - 1500 and even higher for comercial kitchens. This time given is only a guide, for microwave it is saver to use lower timing and buzz a few more times rather to start high.

Aunt LoLo said...

This is gorgeous!! Good job!

And I JUST noticed your blog roll on the side. I think Cantonese Recipe Videos is my new favorite blog. Thank you!!!!!! (Hubs and I were both giggling, watching "High Master" (Gou SiFu). He is so funny.)

Cookie said...

Happy New Year, Auntie Lily.

The glaze is beautiful!!! Thanks for sharing this :-)

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