Today I get to introduce you all to a brand new member of the Secret Recipe Club! Maxcie is the author of Why I Am Not Skinny where she shares her love of food and restaurant adventures. Maxcie is a South African currently living in Brussels, a truly beautiful city. It would be so fun to have her show me some of her favorite Belgian restaurants!
It is always fun to try out new recipes, especially when they require so many adjustments. Maxcie lives in Europe so most of her recipes are written with weights instead of volume measurements and metric temperatures. This isn’t an issue because since going gluten-free I am used to weighing my ingredients.
If you bake a lot, I recommend you consider transitioning to the metric system because it is much more accurate than our American Imperial measurement system. Kitchen scales are quite reasonably priced and take all the guesswork out of measuring and there are many online conversion sites that help you adjust any recipes you want.
I love looking at food through the eyes of people from other cultures and countries. Maxcie has so many intriguing recipes that I could spend weeks just working my way through them all. Here are few that caught my eye:
Flourless Cheese Bread (made with almond meal)
My Aunt Jules’ Infamous Lemon Meringue Pie
Cheese, Potato & Leek Pasties
Pea and Mint Risotto
Pesto & Mozzarella-Stuffed Chicken Breasts Wrapped in Prosciutto
Cheesy Polenta Cornbread
Today’s cake is absolutely lovely. I didn’t have smaller cake pans, so I used my 8-inch pans. I wound up with thinner layers, but they baked up perfectly flat. What a treat! There was no need to shave them to even them. I think they would be even better when baked in smaller pans, thicker and moister.
The Artist doesn’t really care for sweet desserts, so he was thrilled when I told him the filling was a simple whipped cream and everything was being covered with chocolate ganache. He planned his dinner around dessert, planning on something lightweight so he could have more cake!
The next time you are looking for an elegant, show stopping cake for a party or special occasion, look no further – this is the dessert for you! Make sure you check out all the recipes in the blog hop below. Thank you Maxcie for a wonderful new recipe, it’s a winner!!
Jane’s Tips and Hints:
When a recipe states “or as needed” next to an ingredient, it can be frustrating if it is the first time you are making the recipe. But think back to other similar recipes you have made in the past and use your best judgement. If it is a dry weather day, add a little more milk (about 1 tbsp). If it is a hot and muggy day, you probably will not need it.
My standard gluten-free recipe (found here) worked really well when used to make the self-rising flour blend. It takes just a minute to put the ingredients together. I did not have to make any other adjustments to the recipe. Make sure the chocolate you use is gluten-free as well as the baking powder.
- 175 gr (6 oz) self-rising flour, sifted (See Note on how to make gluten-free self-rising flour)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 3 tbsp cocoa powder
- 175 gr (6 oz; 1-1/2 sticks) butter, at room temperature
- 175 gr (6 oz) granulated sugar (slightly less than 1 cup)
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tbsp milk, plus more if needed
- 1 tsp pure vanilla
- Ganache Icing
- 100 gr (3-1/2 oz) butter, cubed (I used 1 stick)
- 100 gr (3-1/2 oz) dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 300 ml (1-1/4 cups) Double Cream or heavy whipping cream
- 3 tbsp powdered sugar, or to taste
- Chocolate Jimmies, Curls, or other decorations, optional
- Bake the Cake: Set a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 180°C (350°F). Butter 2 (6- to 7-inch) sandwich cake tins or cake pans. Set aside. (I used 8-inch pans because they were the smallest pans I own. The cake layers were thinner than normal, but still tasty.)
- In a medium mixing bowl, combine the self-rising flour, baking powder (yes you need it), and cocoa. Whisk together until blended.
- In the bowl of your standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until smooth and lightened in color, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, milk, and vanilla and beat until smooth. Turn of the mixer and thoroughly scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl. Add in the dry ingredients and beat for 1 to 2 minutes until the batter is creamy and smooth. If needed, add a touch more milk to thin the batter slightly. Again, stop the mixer and scrape the bowl, being careful to make sure there are no unincorporated ingredients in the center bottom. If there are, stir the batter until everything comes together.
- Divide mixture evenly between the prepared pans and use a small offset spatula to spread it out into an even layer. Place the can pans in the hot oven on the same rack. Bake, spinning them front to back halfway through baking, for 15 to 20 minutes or until the cakes start to pull away from the sides of the pans and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean with just a few crumbs on it. Remove pans from the oven and let cool about 5 minutes and then turn the cakes out onto a wire rack and cool completely.
- Cake layers can be baked a day in advance. Cool thoroughly and wrap tightly in plastic; store in the refrigerator. Return to room temperature before assembling the cake.
- Prepare Ganache: Place a heatproof bowl on top of a saucepan with about 2-inches of water in it. The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Bring the water to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to low and place the butter cubes and chopped chocolate in the bowl. Stir with a flexible spatula, mixing the butter and chocolate together until all the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth and glossy.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat; leave the bowl on the pan, stirring occasionally, to cool slightly.
- Make Filling: In the bowl of your standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the cream with the sugar to stiff peaks. It needs to be quite stiff so the layers won’t slide around as much. Set aside.
- Assemble Cake: Line a baking sheet with sides with parchment paper and set a cooling rack on the sheet. The rack will raise the cake, allowing excess ganache to drip down onto the parchment paper. Place one cooled cake layer, top-side-down on the rack. Pile the whipped cream into the center of the cake layer and smooth the top. Gently place the second cake layer, top-side-down on the whipped cream and press down slightly. This will spread the cream out to the edges and help make sure the top layer is level.
- Pour the ganache in the center of the top of the cake and nudge it, if needed, with an offset spatula toward the edges, allowing it to drizzle down over the sides. Make sure the entire top of the cake is covered with the ganache. You can also use the bottom of a ladle to push the ganache toward the edges - have you watched a pizza maker spread the pizza sauce on a crust? This is just like that only gentler. Work in concentric circles from the center out to the edges, carrying a little of the ganache with you as you move the ladle. Hard to describe, but easy to do!
- Use a serrated knife to cut each slice, using a sawing motion and trying to hold the top layer in place as you cut down. Use a cake or pie server to slip under the slice and very carefully transfer it to a plate.
- Transfer the entire cake on the baking sheet to the refrigerator and let rest until chocolate is set. Carefully use two offset spatulas to transfer the cake to a cake plate or round platter. Pile the chocolate curls (if using) in the center of the top of the cake.
- Store cake, covered, in the refrigerator.
- In a bowl, combine 2 cups all-purpose gluten-free flour blend, 3 tsp baking powder, and 1 tsp salt. Whisk together. Measure 6 oz of this mixture for use in this recipe. If it is under weight, add enough regular GF all-purpose flour to make 6 oz.
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