The first time I tried the Chocolate Coffee Volcano from How to Be a Domestic Goddess by Nigella Lawson I had my work cut out for me. You have to start with the custard which I had never made before. I suspect most Americans have never made a custard before, even those who do a of baking. It’s not something we really have in America. Pudding yes; custard not so much.
This involved many eggs separated into whites and yolks which is not something we spend a lot of time doing here in the U.S. The first time my custard came out too runny, the second time it was much closer to icing than pudding but I did stop cooking it before it became scrambled eggs. While there is no way I would have won the challenge, I might have avoided going home that week depending on how well I did in the technical.
That’s a Great British Baking Show reference. Watching it is how I got into this baking thing in the first place.
Once the custard is done you can start on the cake which has two parts. One is all the dry ingredients mixed in a bowl plus egg yolks, the other is all the egg whites whipped into a fluffy merengue which took two tries the first time around. I ended up using nearly all of the 18 eggs in my carton before I got it right.
Fold the meringue into the batter. Fold? What do you mean “fold”? I did my best, slowing turning the batter over the meringue using a folding motion. The cake came out quite nice in the end.
Pour chopped walnuts into the center of the bundt cake after it has cooled. Pour the custard on top of the walnuts until it runs over the top and down the sides. Sprinkle with sugar. Brown the sugar into a hard creme-brulee crust using a blow torch.
A blow torch!!!!
You couldn’t have maybe mentioned that sooner, Nigella?
If your kitchen is like most kitchens in America, you do not have a blow torch in your utensil drawer. I tried putting it all under the broiler instead, but this didn’t really work.
The cake was still good, even with the runny custard which forced C.J. and I to eat it in bowls instead of on plates.
Good enough to give it another go, but first we’ll need a blow torch.
To be honest, I was very excited to have an excuse to get a blow torch. I suspect a large percentage of American men really want, in their heart of hearts, to own their own blow torch. There is a kitchen model you can get for not too much on Amazon, of course. I was very excited when it came, nearly as excited as I was the year my mother-in-law got me a chain saw for my birthday, but that is a story for another day.
As I said, this time the custard came out too much like icing, not enough like pudding, but that was an improvement. Once it was all in, I lit the blow torch and went at it.
It was fun. I’m going to use it on more things from now on.
The cake was delicious, but be warned it is very rich. C.J. and I both thought it was better the next day, maybe because it has longer to absorb the Kahlua I poured over it, maybe because the custard/icing had really set. I don’t know.
Maybe next time, I’ll finally get the custard right.