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Chamomile Cake with Orange Chocolate Ganache

Have been a chef known for making amazing desserts, I simply could not go with the standard wedding cake for my own ceremony.  I wanted something different, something with that was unique.  I also wanted something that had a more Pagan feel to it as that is the nature of our ceremony.  So… after a lot of experimenting and tasty sampling, I’ve come up with what you just read in the title.  Yes.  A chamomile flavored cake.  Its warm, sort of gingery and has a hint of “earthiness” to it without tasting bitter.  The orange chocolate ganache is rich, sweet with warm tones and a subtle orange flavor.

A few hints on this cake before I give you the recipe…

  1. I’m working on a vegan version of this cake so if don’t worry if this sounded good and you were disappointed to find out it’s not vegan.  I should be making a test cake shortly on that and will post it’s results.
  2. I worked with chamomile powder.  You can do try processing the herbs in a food processor but it’s not quite the same.  I suggest finding actual chamomile powder or using a mortar and pestle to grind it into a fine dust.
  3. If you wish to tweak this recipe, please try to keep the dry/wet ingredients ratio as close as possible as this is a simple recipe to mess up.
  4. The ganache is thicker than normal ganache but still quite thin when warm.  It’s best to keep the cake in the fridge or in very cool temperatures.
  5. I am not adding the recipe for the cream cheese frosting I will be using on the final ceremony cake because honestly… it’s cream cheese, honey and food coloring.  If you need a recipe for that at this point, I think you have the wrong blog.
  6. I don’t grease my pans, especially if I am making a cake to be decorated.  Instead, I use parchment paper as it allows for a nice flat surface on the bottom of the pan and doesn’t break the cake.  This cake likes to cling to the pan so if you grease it, use something suitable.  No “winging it” with this recipe.  I’ll post more on using parchment paper in another entry.

Chamomile Cake

  • 1 cup of unsalted butter at room temperature (I use Earth Balance’s soy free buttery spread)
  • 1 cup of honey
  • 4 eggs, room temperature
  • ½ cup of chamomile powder(ground in mortar and pestle)
  • 1 & ¼ cups of unbleached all purpose flour (or 1 & ¼ self rising flour or cake flour with no baking powder)
  • 1 & ½ teaspoons baking powder (omitted if using self rising/cake flour)
  • 1 cup of milk (1 & ½ cup if using sugar instead of honey)
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda (omit if using sugar instead of honey)

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees (350 degrees if using sugar instead of honey).
  2. Line your pan with parchment paper, folding the corners into pleats.
  3. Cream the butter and honey until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each egg is fully incorporated before adding the next.
  5. In a separate bowl, mix all dry ingredients.
  6. Slowly mix in the dry ingredients and milk a little at a time, alternating the two. (To keep dry ingredients from creating plumbs of powder, fold into batter before turning your mixer on again.)
  7. Pour mixture into lined pan.
  8. Bake at 325 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Tips & Hints:

  • You can use sugar instead of honey by adjusting the milk to 1 cup, omitting the baking soda entirely and increasing the baking temperature to 350 degrees.
  • If using self-rising or cake flour, omit the baking powder.

Chocolate Orange Ganache

Ingredients:

  • 12 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • ½ cup half and half
  • ½ Tbsp honey
  • 1 Orange zest
  • 2 tsp arrowroot

Directions:

  1. Add zest, butter and half & half to a simmer in a small saucepan.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. Add honey, arrowroot and salt to mixture.  Stir thoroughly.
  4. Add chocolate chips to mixture allowing it to melt the chocolate (can semi-melt chocolate if desired).
  5. Wisk until lumps are gone and mixture is no longer separating.  Should appear glossy. (Remember you have zest in the mixture so tiny grains will be evident.)
  6. Pour over cake to coat.

Assembling the cake hints:

  • To use the ganache between cake layers, allow it to cool slightly to thicken.  Pour over the bottom layer of cake, spreading it with a knife.  Allow it to cool until it stiffens slightly (a few minutes in the fridge is fine for this) then add the top layer.
  • The ganache is NOT a good “frosting” as it will slide when warm and not always cling to the sides.  It’s best poured over individual cupcakes, pieces, as a fruit dip, extra.  It will become fudge-like when cold.
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