When I think of music loaded with romance, that pulls at the molten ganache core of my soft, pliant heart, my internal radio dial immediately tunes itself to the Man in Black. Johnny Cash.
Volumes of love balladeers cater to schmaltz and treacly sentiments. Not Mr. Cash, he struck the bull's-eye of love. He walked the line.
In honor of the Man in Black, a modern day St. Valentine if there ever was one, I present to you the "Because You're Mine Cake" because Johnny Cash was a stand-up man. He walked the line when it came to the cause of true love. His memory deserves a cake that does the same.
Because You're Mine Cake
Makes One Cake
This cake requires five separate elements. A vanilla cake that acts as base and top. Ganache for sealant and decoration. Chocolate roulade for the vertical layers. Sweetened, vanilla whipped cream for the roulade filling. And vanilla bean buttercream to hold it all together.
Click "ganache" and "buttercream" for the links on this site for those recipes. (For the buttercream, instead of adding juices or purées, simply add a teaspoon of vanilla bean paste. You'll also make a smaller batch. Follow the procedure however you'll only need 5 egg whites, 1 cup sugar , 1/3 cup water and 10 ounces of unsalted butter).
For the Vanilla Cake
Do you know the Golden Egg Cake? Of course you do. This is a version of that lovely pastry, the ratio is smaller than what you'll be used to.
4 ounces (one stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
3 eggs (medium sized. Grab the smallest you can find)
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla bean extract
-Preheat oven to 350º.
-Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. This takes a few minutes. Patience, people.
-Add eggs, one at a time. Don't add another egg until the last is COMPLETELY incorporated. Wait a minute. At least. Add vanilla bean paste.
-Whisk together flour, salt and baking powder. Add 1/3 of the flour and then 1/2 buttermilk. Add another 1/3 of the flour mixture and then the remainder of the buttermilk and finish of with the remaining flour. Mix until just incorporated. Don't overmix!
-Spray a 10" cake pan or ring with non-stick cake spray and line the bottom with parchment. Fill the pan with batter and bake for 20 minutes, until done. Poke that cake and make sure it springs back to insure it's done.
-Allow to cool completely. Remove from pan and carefully cut the cake in half. Set aside.
For the Roulade
4 1/2 ounces bread flour
1 1/2 ounces cocoa powder (Dutch process. I use Callebaut Extra Brute)
6 ounces sugar
24 egg yolks (I KNOW! Don't even get me started. )
8 egg whites (I KNOW! So many more yolks than whites! But make meringues with the rest OR just freeze the whites for later use. I do.)
1 teaspoons vanilla bean extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons coffee extract (optional)
-preheat oven to 400º
-line two half sheet pans/jelly roll pans with parchment and spray with non-stick spray. I use a full sheetpan (see the picture) but I have a professional, gigantic oven. So you'll divide the batter evenly among the two half sheets.
-Whisk together the egg yolks, 1/2 the sugar and the vanilla bean extract and coffee extract until the mixtures lightens to a pale yellow
-Whip the egg whites with the salt until foamy and then slowly add the remaining sugar. Whip until stiff peaks form.
-Whisk together the flour and the cocoa powder.
-Stir 1/3 of the egg whites into the yolk mixture to lighten. Then gently fold in the remaining whites. Sift the cocoa/flour mixture over the eggs and continue to gently fold the until the flour/cocoa mixture is evenly distributed (pockets of cocoa/flour will stick around for a while so make sure to turn the bowl as you go to get into ever crevice where the flour may hide).
|This is my monster pan that can hold all the batter. You'll use two.|
-Divide the batter evenly among the pans and bake for 7 to 10 minutes, until the cake springs back when you poke it. Let it cool completely.
For the whipped cream:
1 pint (16 ounces) heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons mascarpone cheese (optional)
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
1 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
-whisk together until you achieve stiff peaks. Set aside in the fridge.
-Cut both roulades into long strips, 3" wide (you'll get 4 strips from each pan). I notch the top and the bottom of the cake at the 3" mark and then use a ruler to keep the strips even.
|Getting ready to make my first cut, using the ruler as a guide to keep it even.|
-Roll the first strip, the cream side in, into a tight roll. Move the strip over to the start of the next strip, and continue rolling, the end of the first roll touching the beginning of the second, and you'll keep add strips to make a big fat spiral of cake! A snowball effect but in cake! You may have more cake than you need. Stop when you're spiral is 10" wide.
|Thin layer of ganache. Only enough to cover the top of the yellow cake but just enough to adhere the giant spiral!|
-Schmear a thin layer of ganache over the top of the spiral cake and top with the remaining layer of yellow cake.
If you have a 10 inch cake ring, to keep protect the cake while it sets. Otherwise, wrap in plastic wrap. Put in the freezer for an hour to set.
|The ring keeps it all together.|
-When the cake has set, spread a thin layer of ganache (again, make sure that it's spreadable. If it has hardened, warm it gently over a water bath) over the top of the cake. If you aren't confident with your skills, attach a parchment strip to the sides of the cake to keep the ganache from flowing over onto the sides. Once the top is covered, remove the parchment if using and transfer the cake to the fridge to set.
-Place the remaining ganache in a pastry bag fit with a medium open tip. Place a piece of parchment on a sheetpan and pipe hearts onto the parchment paper. Freeze the hearts until set.
|If the hearts won't stick, add a little extra ganache to the back to make 'em stick.|
-When the ganache has hardened, both on the top of the cake and the individual hearts, remove the hearts with a small offset spatula and apply to the sides of the cake. If you're having trouble getting them to stick, add a little extra ganache to the back of the hearts as glue.
-Pipe your loving sentiment with the remaining buttercream on top.
Happy Valentine's Day! Now go listen to some Johnny Cash to set the mood.