BRISBANE (CBS SF) – After years of busting his knuckles and abusing his back while working on crashed-commuters and vintage vehicles in auto-body shops, Kevin Turnbeaugh decided, in 2010, to stop talking about attending culinary school and finally start attending culinary school.
His love for the sweeter side of food production can be traced back to his younger years when he would assist his mother while she baked birthday cakes and Christmas cookies, taking note and appreciation to the precision required to make them taste “just right.”
Though confident with cakes, Kevin enrolled in classes at Sacramento, California’s Le Cordon Bleu Academy of Culinary Arts in 2010. The intention was to round-out his existing comfort-zone in the kitchen from just baking to the understanding of food production from a more savory angle. This was achieved, but the sweet tooth never left him.
Upon completion of culinary school, Kevin spent a block of time externing in California’s sunny San Diego, baking cakes and learning the trickiness of properly tempering chocolate at The Elegant Truffle from head chef/Chocolatier, Jennifer Marie Muratore.
Tempering chocolate properly requires a vast attention to subtle time and temperature nuances. Learning to navigate and understand those slight differences has been a key component for the precision necessary to produce high-quality chocolate confections.
It’s in that child-rooted love for an attention-to-detail that keeps Kevin happily working with chocolate to this day.
We met at the Philip Marks Chocolates kitchen in Brisbane, California. We talked, we tasted and I left with a story and a sweet tooth satisfied. Enjoy the sweet talk and the delish chocolate cake recipe below.
Chocolate Triple-Strike Combo
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar
- 3/4 Cup whole milk (room temp.)
- 2 tsp. vanilla extract
- 3 oz. unsweetened baker’s chocolate (coarsely chopped)
- 3/4 Cup boiling water
- 3/4 Cup butter (room temp.)
- 2 Cups granulated sugar
- 3 eggs (room temp.)
- 2 1/4 Cups AP flour
- 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 3/4 tsp. baking powder
- Preheat oven to 350, butter and flour two 8″ round cake pans (I also line the pans with parchment paper for added assurance that the cake wont stick to the pans)
- Combine the 3 wet ingredients, set aside
- Bring the water to a boil and add the chopped chocolate, mixing until all chocolate is melted…set aside to cool
- Cream the butter in a mixer until pale and smooth. Gradually add the sugar and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing until just incorporated…scrape the sides with a spatula with each addition of the eggs to insure it is all mixed. Add the melted chocolate and mix.
- Sift all of the dry ingredients together (I do this in triplicate with a double-mesh sifter to thoroughly mix the ingredients and encourage a lighter finished cake)
- Beginning and ending with the dry ingredients, add in thirds to the chocolate mixture alternately with the wet ingredients (also in thirds) , making sure to scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with each addition.
- Pour the cake mix into the prepared pans and bake for 20-25 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean) I rotate my pans midway through the baking process.
- Allow the cake to cool slightly on a wire rack. Remove from pans and let cool completely.
Chocolate Cream Cheese Filling Ingredients:
- 2 lbs. of cream cheese (room temp)
- 1 cup of butter (room temp)
- 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
- unsweetened cocoa powder (to taste)
- sifted powdered sugar (to taste)
- In a mixer, beat the room temp. cream cheese unforgivingly. Scrape the sides of the bowl and the paddle often, then beat the cream cheese some more.
- Once the cream cheese has been beaten until smooth, just for good measure, beat it some more
- Add the butter and (you guessed it!) beat more, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl often.
- Add the vanilla and beat the mixture
- Add the cocoa powder a little at a time until your desired level of chocolatey goodness is achieved. Then do the same with the sifted sugar to sweeten. I prefer my cream cheese icing more chocolate-cheesy and less sugary…but that’s just me…
- Trim the round mounding on the top of the cooled cakes so both are flat and level.
- Split and fill each layer of cake with the desired thickness of filling and slightly spread around the sides of the cake to fill any gaps and seal-in the crumbs of the cake. Set aside on a wire rack and place the rack on a parchment paper-lined sheet tray.
- 12 oz. coarsely chopped chocolate (I prefer chocolate at least 65% dark)
- 12 oz. cream
- liqueur (optional)
- Place the chocolate in a bowl
- Heat the cream until just before it boils. Ganache is commonly flavoured with liqueur. Add (if you choose) to the hot cream a Tbsp. at a time until your desired level of boozines is achieved.
- Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and gently mix with a spatula until it is completely mixed and shiny
- At this point the ganache is ready to pour over the cake. It may take a bit of pouring and spreading with a spatula to completely cover the cake, but with the cake on a rack over parchment paper any run-off can be collected and re-utillized.
- Carefully move the cake from the rack to its final landing field (cake board or plate) with two flat spatulas.
- There should be leftover ganache. If desired, it can be whipped with a wire whip in the mixer until it lightens in color and thickens. Then it can be put in a decorating bag and used to pipe-on boarders to your cake.
- Garnish with fresh berries, serve and enjoy!
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