White chocolate stars in cake

Published 12:00am Wednesday, October 27, 2010

I received a lot of e-mails with questions about my white chocolate cake recipe that ran a few weeks ago.

Most wanted clarification on white chocolate. The FDA says that chocolate must contain chocolate liquor, which is made up of cocoa butter and nonfat dry cocoa solids. Even when white chocolate has cocoa butter it doesn’t have nonfat dry cocoa solids and that means the FDA will not consider it chocolate.

Its real name is white confectionary coating. But believe me they are not all alike. Good ones should be made with cocoa butter, but if you read the ingredients carefully you will find palm, soy and other oils. And this affects the taste tremendously. My favorite brands are Callebaut, Valrhona, Lindt and Guittard.

The soft velvety taste of white chocolate is easily overwhelmed by strong flavors. The almond and lemon in this cake are perfect compliments. I prefer the cake with only the powdered sugar but for a really special occasion you might want to try the glaze.

White Chocolate

Almond Cake

6 ounces white chocolate, finely chopped

4 ounces unsalted butter, melted

1 cup blanched almonds

1/4 cup almond paste

1/2 cup milk

1 teaspoon grated lemon zest

1/8 teaspoon salt

4 large eggs separated

3/4 cups sugar

1 cup all purpose flour

Powdered sugar for garnish

Lightly grease a 9-inch springform pan and very lightly dust with flour, and tap out all of the excess. In mixing bowl set over simmering water melt your chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally. Transfer to a large bowl and set aside to cool.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. In a food processor grind the almonds with a pulsing motion until ground into a powder. Transfer the ground almonds to a mixing bowl.

In the same processor bowl, blend the almond paste until smooth and then with the machine running, drizzle in the milk to form a smooth paste. With a whisk blend together the almond paste and milk mixture with the chocolate and butter mixture. Add the lemon zest, salt, ground almonds, egg yolks and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Sift the flour over the ingredients and blend thoroughly.

With an electric mixer whip the egg whites with a pinch of salt until semi-stiff. Then slowly add the remaining 1/2 cup of sugar and whip until the egg whites are stiff and glossy. In three separate additions add the egg whites to the cake mixture and fold together.

Scrape the batter into the prepared cake and and set on a baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until the cake just begins to shrink from the sides.

Cool the cake in the pan at least 10 minutes and them unlock the sides and remove the cake and let cool completely.

Dust with powdered sugar. Or glaze with the white chocolate glaze.

White chocolate glaze

5 ounces white chocolate finely chopped

1/4 cup heavy cream

1 teaspoon corn syrup

Place the chocolate in a mixing bowl. Bring the cream and corn syrup to simmer in a small saucepan over low heat.

Pour it over the chocolate and stir, then return the mixture the saucepan and heat very gently until the chocolate is almost melted. Remove the saucepan from the heat and stir until the chocolate is thoroughly melted.

Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl and cool it to room temperature before using.

Christina Hall writes a weekly column for The Natchez Democrat. She can be reached at christina.hall@natchezdemocrat.com.