A special someone is very much into chocolate. Every year I bake a different small chocolate cake for his birthday. We usually eat it at midnight - accompanied by a bottle of champagne. These cakes are for grown ups only because there is some / lots of booze involved.
Marron - brandy -cream
200 g cooked and peeled marrons
1 cup water (250 ml)
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup bourbon
1 vanilla pod (split open, seeds scraped off)
250 ml whipping cream
1 bag cream stabilizer (optional - stabilizer=1 teaspoon modified starch )
Cook sugar and 1/2 cup water together with the vanilla pod and -seeds until sugar is dissolved. Add marrons and cook on medium heat until water is nearly evaporated and the liquid turned light amber - get rid of the vanilla pod. Quickly puree marrons with an immersion blender (be careful, it is very hot). Reheat the compact purree (if there are still some little marron pieces left, don't care) and roast on small heat while stirring for another 2 minutes - don't burn it. It will stick to the pot so scrape the pot bottom occasionally. Add 1/2 cup of water and the bourbon and stir while still heating until you get a smooth soft and hot paste. Fill in a small bowl. Cover with cling film and let cool.
Chocolate sponge cake layers
100 g dark chocolate
80 g butter, very soft
100 g flour
140 g sugar
4 extra large eggs (separeted in whites and yolks)
1 pinch salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
5 tablespoons bourbon
Chocolate sponge cake :
Chop chocolate into small chunks and melt over hot water.
Beat egg whites with salt until soft peaks form. Set aside.
Beat yolks and sugar until a light and fluffy cream forms, add butter and melted lukewarm chocolate and beat until well mixed.
Fold in egg whites. Sift flour and baking powder and add in 4 batches. Fold in carefully.
Fill batter in a small (diameter 18 cm) springform tin and bake at 170 Celsius about 45 minutes. Check the cake after 40 minutes with a wooden tooth pick, the tooth pick should come out clean, if not give it 5 more minutes and check again. Unmold and let cool on a baking rack upside down.
Divide cake in 3 layers and sprinkle each layer with bourbon.
100 g quince jelly (or apricot marmelade or orange marmelade)
150 g dark chocolate glaze
Heat chocolate glaze over warm water until melted.
Whip 250 ml whipping cream while adding stabilizer until stiff. Mix in the marron puree in 4 batches until the marron-brandy-cream is well blended.
Fill cream between the layers. Therefor stack the layers in the springform rin.
Heat the marmelade or jelly and brush cake top and sides with the liquid. Let cool for a few minutes.
Glaze with the chocolate glaze.
Decorate the cake with chocolate ornaments and keep in fridge until ready to be served.
This year I am not really happy with the ornaments. I thought the chocolate hearts would be a little smaller and prettier. But there was no time to buy other ones, because I was a little late. Summer vacations are finished, the work load is piling up again and I have quite a few projects running. The last meeting took longer than planned and you should never answer the phone when you are on the run. So I merely managed to bake a cake. And he got me. Usually I am finished with the cake before he arrives home. It was no surprise of cause.