Chocolate Cakes: Chocolate Kumquat Cake

Consider this cake for a wintertime wedding, when the tiny citrus fruit is in season. Tart kumquats are candied and served on the side. Their syrup is brushed on the oval tiers of chocolate cake, which are covered in whipped ganache, then surrounded by bands of tempered bittersweet chocolate. The bands are adorned with flowers cut from kumquat skins and with leaves and flourishes piped in dark and white chocolate.

  • Servings: 150

Photography: Dana Gallagher

Source: Martha Stewart Weddings, Fall 2001

Ingredients

  • 1 each 7 3/4-by-5 5/8-inch, 10 3/4-by-7 7/8- inch, 13 1/2-by-9 7/8-inch, and 16 1/2-by-12 3/8-inch oval cake layers, trimmed to 2 inches high, set on corresponding-size 3/16-inch-thick foam-board ovals
  • 1 recipe Candied Kumquats, including syrup
  • 2 recipes Whipped Chocolate Ganache
  • 1 pound bittersweet chocolate, tempered
  • Shiny Chocolate Glaze
  • Acetate bands
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips, melted
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 27 2 5/8-inch-long 1/4-inch-diameter wooden dowels
  • Glaze amounts for shiny chocolate glaze: 7 3/4-inch-long oval cake tier, 1 cup; 10 3/4-inch-long oval, 1 1/2 cups; 13 1/2-inch-long oval, 2 cups; 16 1/2- inch-long oval, 3 cups.

Directions

  1. Prepare the tiers: Set each cake layer on a cardboard round larger than the cake. Brush tiers with kumquat syrup from candied kumquats. Spread ganache over tiers; refrigerate them. Use remaining ganache to fill pastry bag fitted with Ateco number 8 plain round tip, and set aside.

  2. Make the kumquat blossoms: Cut approximately 12 candied kumquats in half lengthwise. Scoop away centers, and scrape off remaining pith with edge of knife. Smooth halves on hard surface, and use the largest blossom cutter to cut as many blossoms as possible from each kumquat half. Store blossoms in syrup in refrigerator until ready to use.

  3. Make the chocolate bands: Cut four strips of acetate 2 1/2 inches wide and 21 3/4, 30 1/2, 38 1/2, and 46 3/4 inches long, and lay them on parchment paper. Using a 1-ounce ladle, pour 2 ladlefuls (2 ounces) of tempered chocolate over the shortest strip. Use a small offset spatula to smooth chocolate to an even thickness. Remove the smallest tier from refrigerator. When the chocolate has just begun to set and has a dull appearance, lift acetate, and wrap it, chocolate side down, around the tier, carefully aligning bottom edge of chocolate band with bottom of tier. Overlap ends of strip, and cut off excess with scissors. Refrigerate for 7 to 8 minutes, or until chocolate is completely set. Remove from refrigerator; using one continuous motion, peel away acetate strip. Repeat process for each tier, using 3, 4, and 5 ounces of chocolate. Keep tiers in a cool place away from direct sunlight.

  4. Glaze the tops of tiers: Using the reserved ganache in the pastry bag, pipe a thin bead around top edge of each tier, filling in any open space between the cake and the chocolate band. This will prevent the glaze from getting between the side of the tier and the chocolate band and perhaps cracking the band. Pour glaze over the top of each tier (see above for amounts). If necessary, use a small offset spatula to coax the glaze to an even thickness.

  5. Decorate the tiers: For precise placement of decoration, which is piped onto side of each tier with tempered chocolate, use dressmaker's tape measure to mark where each swag will begin and end. Using parchment cone filled with tempered chocolate, outline swags. (We used a scalloped pattern for our swags.) Spacing them out, attach kumquat blossoms by using a dot of chocolate as glue. Mix melted white chocolate with oil; cool to room temperature. Use parchment- paper cone filled with the white-chocolate mixture to pipe centers in blossoms and add leaves and flourishes.

  6. Insert the dowels: In largest tier, place 10 dowels in an oval 3 inches from edge, then place 4 dowels within this pattern. In next smallest tier, place 6 dowels in an oval 2 1/2 inches from edge, then place 2 dowels within this oval. In the second smallest tier, place the remaining 5 dowels in an oval 3 inches from the edge.

  7. Because the cake with dowels inserted does not travel well, complete the assembly at reception site: Using offset spatula, remove largest tier from round; set on serving tray. Stack remaining tiers in graduating sizes, removing from rounds. Serve remaining kumquats, halved, alongside cake slices.

Cook's Notes

Use your favorite yellow, white, or chocolate cake recipe. For cake sides, you will need a Blossom Plunger Cutter Set and acetate sheets. For tips on tempering chocolate, see Tempered Chocolate Techniques.

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