Dark chocolate sponge with Italian meringue buttercream - by Arhana Arshad

For chocolate sponge cake 
170g Callebaut chocolate 58% dark
113g unsalted butter
4 egg yolks

150g caster sugar
130g cake flour
11/4 tsp (7g) baking powder
1/2 tsp (5g) baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (120ml) milk
1 tsp (5ml) vanilla essence
2 egg whites In a heavy medium saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate and butter. Remove from heat to cool.

In a mixing bowl, beat egg yolks until thick and lemon color; gradually beat in 75g cup sugar. Continue beating until very thick.

Into a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add dry ingredients to egg mixture alternately with the milk; beat until smooth.

Add chocolate mixture and vanilla. Beat egg whites until stiff; gradually beat remaining 75g sugar cup sugar into egg whites. Fold egg white mixture into batter. Pour batter into two greased and floured 8-inch round layer cake pans.

Bake chocolate cake at 180 deg for about 35 minutes, or until chocolate cake springs back when lightly touched with finger. Cool on racks then spread chocolate cake with frosting.

For Italian Meringue Buttercream
5 large egg whites
11/4 cup (250g) caster sugar

pinch (2.5g) cream of tartar
1 pound (500g) unsalted butter
1 tsp (5ml) vanilla essence In a small saucepan over medium heat, bring sugar and 2/3 cup (160ml) water to a boil. Continue boiling until syrup reaches 238 degrees on a candy thermometer (soft-ball stage).
Meanwhile, place egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on low speed until foamy. Add cream of tartar, and beat on medium-high speed until stiff but not dry; do not overbeat.
With mixer running, add syrup to whites in a stream, beating on high speed until no longer steaming, about 3 minutes. Add butter bit by bit, beating until spreadable, 3 to 5 minutes; beat in vanilla. If icing curdles, keep beating until smooth.

Remember use only large egg whites. I usually get them from selected NTUC or Giant. They come in 6 per carton. Otherwise, you need to use 7 egg whites of usual sized eggs. Italian meringue buttercream is a bit tricky, for first timers you may need to try more than once. I managed to do it successfully on my 2nd try...not too shabby..;P It doesn't hold well in our SG temp so you need to refrigerate it, but don't worry it will be worth your efforts cause they taste ooolala! It's like biting into cloud!

Fiona Lau

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