Month: May 2019

Simple chocolate cake (black and white)

Simple chocolate cake (black and white)

This basic chocolate cake recipe has been around for years. Our simplifications are in using a scale and chilling the icing skim coat. As we have said before, you really don’t need to sift and measure the cake flour: just weigh it.  And before you start mixing up the batter, weigh the mixing bowl. This will make it easier to divide the batter into two pans.

The cake

  • 2 8-inch round cake pans
  • buttered parchment paper
  • 3 1-oz squares baking chocolate (unsweetened)
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 beaten egg
  • ½ cup shortening (or unsalted butter)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups sifted cake flour (224 g)
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2/3 cup milk

cake pans

  1. Preheat the oven to 350˚ F
  2. Butter the cake pans and line them with parchment as we show here. Butter the tops of the parchment, too.

melt chocolate

  1. Put the chocolate, 2/3 cup sugar, ½ cup milk and beaten egg in a saucepan. Cook slowly over medium heat until the mixture thickens and the chocolate melts. Set aside to cool.
  2. Put the shortening in a mixing bowl and stir to soften. Beat in the 1 cup sugar. Add the 2 eggs one at a time and beat until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla.
  1. Weigh out the flour and add the soda and salt and stir briefly.
  2. Add the flour mixture to the creamed mixture, alternating with the 2/3 cup milk.
  3. Blend in the chocolate mixture.
  4. Weigh the mixing bowl and the batter, subtract the weight of the empty mixing bowl, and divide by two.
  1. Put one cake pan on the scale, set the tare to zero and add half the weight of the batter. IN our case the total batter weight 1146 g, so we put slightly under 573g in each cake pan. (Some batter will stick to the sides and the spoon, so allow for that. We went for about 560 g each.)
  2. Bake in the 350˚ F oven for 25-30 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
  3. Let the pans cool on the stove or on a rack, and then release the cakes from the pans and let them cool.

layers

Simple buttercream icing

  • 2 lb confectioners sugar
  • ½ pound (2 sticks) butter
  • 2-3 Tb milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 squares unsweetened chocolate
  1. Place the powdered sugar in a food processor
  2. Add the butter cut into 1 Tb pieces
  3. Pulse until smooth
  4. Add enough milk to mix until smooth and spreadable
  5. Add the vanilla
  6. Take out about a quarter of the icing to a separate bowl
  7. Melt the unsweetened chocolate at 50% power in a microwave for 1-2 minutes
  8. Mix the chocolate into the quarter of the icing.
  9. Place one cake layer on the cake pan or on a cake spinner platform.
  10. Ice the top of that layer with the chocolate icing.
  11. If the top layer is flared out, trim it with a knife do the sides are straight, and set it on top of the chocolate icing.
  12. Mix about 2 Tb of icing with about ¼ cup milk until uniform. This is the icing wash for the skim coat.

skim coat

  1. Spread the skim coat on the top and sides of the cake and chill it in the refrigerator for half an hour. This will make a smooth surface to ice that won’t crumble when you spread the white icing.
  2. After the cake is chilled, spread the white icing on the top and sides of the cake, using a spatula to make the sides smooth.
  3. Return the cake to the refrigerator while you make the ganache.

 

Chocolate ganache

  • 2 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 oz bittersweet chocolate (or use a little less baking chocolate and some semisweet)
  • ½ cup heavy cream
  • ½ Tb honey
  • ¼ tsp coarse salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  1. Put all the chocolate in a heatproof bowl
  2. Combine the cream, honey and salt in a saucepan.
  3. Bring the cream to a boil, and pour over the chocolate.
  4. Place the ganache in the refrigerator until it begins to firm up. If it gets too firm, you can remelt it in the microwave and start the chill again.
  5. When the ganache is still just pourable, dribble or pour it over the chilled cake to make any pattern you like.
  6. Serve with raspberries or strawberries.

ganache

 

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Red Rooster Pub opens in Wilton

Red Rooster Pub opens in Wilton

After a couple of months of downtime, the former Portofino restaurant has been transformed into a Red Rooster Pub. While the owner, Tony Ramadani, remains the same and the kitchen staff much the same, this is a new restaurant with a new, somewhat more informal menu.

Ramadani owns two other Red Rooster Pubs, one in Ridgefield and one in Newtown. While the menus are much the same among the 3 restaurants, the Wilton pub adds an extra page of Portofino Classics, including Chicken Parmesan, Rigatoni Con, Capellini Piedmontese, Mushroom Ravioli, Jalapeno Chicken, Shrimp Papardelle and Seared Salmon, priced from $20 to $24, and a kid’s menu.

Their main menu is simpler than in the Portofino days, with appetizers including wings, tacos, chili, 8 salads (plus make your own from a checklist). The Mains section is just Fish and Chips, Mac and Cheese, Baby Back Ribs, New York Strip Steak and Fried Clam (strips) Platter with only the steak over $20.

Completely new is the In Hand menu of grilled chicken, veggies, steak, pulled pork, Reuben, DLT (duck bacon, lettuce and tomato), turkey wrap, French Dip, two Chicken Wraps all reasonably priced and mostly under $15.  They also have 16 different “burgers” on the menu, several of which we have to try soon. All come with fries or onion rings.

The popular Portofino pizzas haven’t gone away either: there are still a whole page of pizza choices available.

beveragesTheir beer list includes 8 on draft an about that many more bottled craft beers, and their wine lists includes about 10 red and white choices by the glass.  Their dessert menu is simple but just what you want to go with this menu.

room shot

The Wilton pub opened last Thursday, and we understand it was packed all weekend, so we went Monday evening. At 5:45 there were plenty of tables, but by the time we left, almost all of them were full, which would seem to indicate that they have a success on their hands.

salad

For our first meal there (but not the last) we ordered an excellent Mediterranean Salad ($12.95), which would seem to be more or less a Greek Salad with Baby Mixed Greens, Pickled Red Onion, Tomatoes, Cucumber, Feta Cheese, Olives, and Balsamic dressing. It was sizable and there was plenty for us to share. If you just want a little salad, you can get a “Sub Side Salad” for $2 with any of the In Hand menu items.

shrimp

Then, one of us ordered the Shrimp Papardelle ($23.95) which was almost enough for two in itself. That night it was served with linguini, as they ran out of the wider papardelle noodles. Its served with shrimp, tomatoes, shiitake mushrooms, and pesto sauce. The shrimp were tender and flavorful and the pesto plentiful.

french burger

 

friesBut we had to try out one of their new burgers, so we ordered the French Burger ($15.95) with mushrooms, caramelized onion, Brie, lettuce and tomato, and served with piping hot French Fries. Onion Rings and Sweet Potato Fries were also available, but these French fries were outstanding. And the Brie and caramelized onion worked very well on this enormous burger. We finally had to resort to a knife and fork to finish it, but every bite was worth it.

We didn’t have room for desserts, but we will sometime in the future.

This restaurant looks like a winner for Wilton and for Ramadani and we wish them well.  Oh, and they take credit cards!

bar area

facade