Black Pearl Layer Cake
bon appetit 
trend: exotically flavored chocolate 
who: katrina markoff, ceo of vosges haut-chocolat in chicago 
what: markoff, one of the first to infuse chocolate with unexpected 
ingredients, named this asian-tinged creation after one of her most 
popular truffles. its japanese flavors ginger, wasabi, and black 
sesame seeds are the building blocks for an inspired cake. 
  black pearl ganache
6 oz.  bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup  heavy whipping cream
1 tsp  ground ginger
1/2 tsp  wasabi powder*
2 Tbsp  black sesame seeds*
1 Tbsp  corn syrup
2 Tbsp  (1/4 stick) butter, room temperature
  ginger syrup
1 cup  water
1/2 cup  sugar
5 Tbsp  matchstick-size strips peeled fresh ginger
1   vanilla bean, split lengthwise
2 cup  boiling water
1 cup  unsweetened cocoa powder
2-3/4 cup  all purpose flour
2 tsp  baking soda
1/2 tsp  baking powder
1/2 tsp  salt
2-1/4 cup  sugar
1 cup  (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
4 large  eggs
1 Tbsp  vanilla extract
  whipped cream frosting
2 cup  chilled heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup  plus 2 tablespoons powdered sugar
1/2 tsp  vanilla extract
1/2 tsp  ground ginger
  additional black sesame seeds
for black pearl ganache: 
place chocolate in medium bowl. bring cream, ginger, and wasabi to boil 
in small pot. pour hot cream over chocolate; cover with plastic wrap and 
let stand 15 minutes. whisk cream and chocolate until smooth. mix sesame 
seeds and corn syrup in small bowl to coat; stir into chocolate mixture. 
let cool to lukewarm. stir in butter. cover and let stand at room 
temperature overnight to set. 
for ginger syrup: 
place 1 cup water, sugar, and ginger in small saucepan. scrape seeds 
from vanilla bean into pan; add bean. stir over medium heat until sugar 
dissolves. simmer 2 minutes; remove from heat. let stand at room 
temperature 1 hour for flavors to blend. 
strain syrup into small bowl. chop ginger. (can be prepared 1 day ahead. 
cover and refrigerate ginger and syrup separately.) 
for cake: 
preheat oven to 350f. butter and flour three 8-inch-diameter cake pans 
with 2-inch-high sides. line bottoms with parchment paper. 
whisk 2 cups boiling water, cocoa powder, and reserved chopped ginger in 
medium heatproof bowl. whisk flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt 
in large bowl. using electric mixer, beat sugar and butter in large bowl 
until fluffy, about 1 minute. add eggs 1 at a time, beating until 
incorporated after each addition. beat in vanilla extract. add flour 
mixture in 4 additions alternately with cocoa mixture in 3 additions, 
beginning and ending with flour mixture. divide batter among prepared 
cake pans; smooth tops. 
bake cakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 30 
minutes. cool in pans 5 minutes. turn cakes out onto racks; cool 
completely. (cakes can be prepared 1 day ahead. wrap with plastic wrap 
and store at room temperature.) 
for whipped cream frosting: 
beat cream in large bowl until soft peaks form. add sugar, vanilla, and 
ginger. beat until stiff peaks form. 
using long serrated knife, trim rounded tops off cakes to create flat 
surface. place 1 cake layer, cut side up, on plate. brush top with 1/3 
cup ginger syrup. spread half of ganache over top of cake. place second 
layer, cut side up, atop first layer. brush with 1/3 cup syrup; spread 
with remaining ganache. top with third cake layer. brush with remaining 
syrup. spread sides and top with whipped cream frosting. sprinkle top 
with black sesame seeds. refrigerate until ganache is set, about 4 
hours. let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving. (can be 
made 1 day ahead. keep refrigerated.) 
*available in the asian foods section of some supermarkets and at asian 
makes 10 to 12 servings. 
(ID: 3966) Mirror: Mon, Jan 17, 2005

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