Saturday, February 28, 2009


The February 2009 challenge is hosted by Wendy of WMPE's blog and Dharm of Dad ~ Baker & Chef. They chose a Chocolate Valentino cake by Chef Wan; a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Dharm and a Vanilla Ice Cream recipe from Wendy as the challenge.

I chose to make strawberry ice cream. I bought some beautiful strawberries from our local farmers market and they were getting very ripe and needed to be used fast.
I followed Emily Luchetti's strawberry ice cream recipe from her book A Passion for Ice Cream. It is good but I had a heavy hand on the salt so next time I will use a small pinch instead of a large pinch as her recipe instructs.

The pansies in the picture are from my garden. Now that I am not working 14 hours a day at the Country Club I have time to garden and enjoy my beautiful flowers. Life is beautiful!!

The Valentino cake is very easy to make and only has 3 ingredients. It is a flourless chocolate cake without the addition of sugar. So the cake is only as sweet as the chocolate you use. I used Callebeaut 811 which is about 55% cocoa liquor.

Here are the recipes:

Preparation Time: 20 minutes

16 ounces (1 pound) (454 grams) of Semisweet Chocolate, roughly chopped
½ cup (1 stick) plus 2 tablespoons (146 grams total) of Unsalted Butter
5 large Eggs, separated

1. Put chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl and set over a pan of simmering water (the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water) and melt, stirring often.
2. While your chocolate butter mixture is cooling. Butter your pan and line with a parchment circle then butter the parchment.
3. Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites and put into two medium/large bowls.
4. Whip the egg whites in a medium/large grease free bowl until stiff peaks are formed (do not over-whip or the cake will be dry).
5. With the same beater beat the egg yolks together.
6. Add the egg yolks to the cooled chocolate.
7. Fold in 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and follow with remaining 2/3rds. Fold until no white remains without deflating the batter.
8. Pour batter into prepared pan, the batter should fill the pan 3/4 of the way full, and bake at 375F/190C
9. Bake for 25 minutes until an instant read thermometer reads 140F/60C. Note – If you do not have an instant read thermometer, the top of the cake will look similar to a brownie and a cake tester will appear wet.
10. Cool cake on a rack for 10 minutes then unmold.

Adapted from A Passion For Ice Cream by: Emily Luchetti

1 Pint Fresh Strawberries (hulled & quartered)
6 Tablespoons Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Juice
Pinch of Kosher Salt
2 Cups Heavy Cream
1 Cup Milk
1/4 Cup Sugar
1/8 Teaspoon Kosher Salt

In a medium saucepan cook the strawberries, sugar, lemon juice & salt over medium heat for about 20 minutes or until it reaches a jam like consistency. Stir often. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature before covering and putting in the refrigerator. Chill overnight.

In a medium saucepan bring the cream, milk, sugar, & salt to a simmer. Stir occasionally. Remove from the heat and chill over an ice bath. Cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.

When ready to make the ice cream, stir the strawberry mixture into the cream, milk mixture and churn in an ice cream machine for 20 minutes or follow manufacturer's instructions.

Place the ice cream in a freeze safe container and freeze for at least 4 hours.


Anonymous said...

Gorgeous pansies, gorgeous cake, and gorgeous ice cream. To kill two birds with one block of chocolate - what a knockout of a Black Forest cake below. Major kudos to all of your lovely creations and presentations!

Anonymous said...

Beaaauuutiful! Gotta love strawberries!!

Dewi said...

Gorgeous presentation! I like the strawberry ice cream too.

Cannelle Et Vanille said...

beautiful cake pam!

Lesley said...

Your blog should be more visited than it is, because you ALWAYS have the most stunning creations. I love what you did here!!

Honey Pickles said...

Your cake is beautiful. I love the strawberry ice cream!

Li said...

Love those pansies, Pam!
And I love your presentation too.

Junie Moon said...

The pansies are such a great decorative detail and I love that you made strawberry ice cream.

Sara said...

Yum, this looks really delicious! Beautiful photos. :) I can't wait for strawberry season here!

pixie said...

Stunning with the pansies! I'll try your strawberry ice cream looks intriguing!

Dragon said...

Great job on this month's challenge!

ice tea: sugar high said...

yumm.. love the flowers.. made the cake looked elegant

Vera said...

Gorgeous! These flowers are so pretty and delicate, perfect with the cake.

Jo said...

Great job on your challenge. Love the flowers as part of the decorations.

Y said...

Those pansies look wonderful on your cake. Your garden must be amazing! :)

Beth said...

Your cake looks beautiful. Its amazing how much a few fresh flowers can add in terms of presentation.