Vanilla Pound Cake
1/2 lb unsalted butter
2 1/2 c cake flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c granulated white sugar
3 large eggs
1/3 c whole milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 9*5*3" loaf pan and line the bottom with waxed paper or parchment paper, then grease the paper.
Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing each in thoroughly. Add vanilla, mix. Add salt and baking soda, mix well. At this point, everything should be Fluffy!! Mix in flour and milk by alternating thirds. Put batter into loaf pan, level the top, and bake until the skewer comes out clean. This took my oven about 1:40, the recipe states 1:15-1:20. Let the cake rest in the pan 15 minutes then loosen the edges and turn the cake onto a cooling rack. Remove the paper and re-invert the cake so it cools topside-up. Wash the pan and dry it; you need it for the next phase.
When the cake is cool, it is time to cut off the top, sides, bottom, whatever. You are making a hollow-core for the chocolate cream to fill, so it is ultimately Your Choice! about how much filling to cake you want in the final product. You could even slice it horizontally and fill the cake in a more standard fashion.
10 oz tasty semisweet chocolate. I used El Rey 61%, a Venezuelan chocolate (bulk at Whole Foods)
1 1/2 c heavy cream
1/4 c sugar
Chop the chocolate and put in a bowl that gives you an inch of headspace. In a small pot on the stove, bring 3/4 c cream to a near-boil. Pour hot cream over chocolate to melt the chocolate. Stir well to blend. This is what I rolled in cocoa for truffles; it is a soft ganache.
When the ganache is cool...
Take a medium mixing bowl and a whisk. Whisk together the remaining 3/4 cream with the granulated sugar until it gets fairly stiff. Add the ganache, whipping to blend (I had a helper with the pouring bowl--helpers prevent whipping-cream-collapse). Fill the gap in the cake, assemble the cake, and refrigerate three hours to firm up the center. An initial hour in the freezer works well to speed up that process.
So you've got a cake and a knife. Get your clean cake pan. Line it with waxed paper to hang over the sides so you'll be able to lift the finished cake out of the pan without it falling apart on you. This is a good thing.
I cut off the top, then ends, then sides, then carved the bottom off the center block. Reassemble bottom, sides, and ends into the cake pan. Fill that gap with tasty filling, then put the top on.
One Could: Add clean, dry fresh raspberries or fruit zest into the chocolate cream during the filling; it's puddingy when freshly mixed up but will firm to a sliceable-yet-meltaway texture. Or add some quantity of liqueur to the ganache by substituting a tablespoon of booze for cream. Do not substitute the structural cream.
One Could Also: Let the chocolate cream firm up in a bowl until it is thick enough to hold together. Then one could slice the pound cake into horizontal layers and fill the cake with firm ganache. This would make the ganache obvious but give the cake a more stable presentation.
Alternatively One Could: Skip making the cake, and instead pour the chocolate cream into small ramekins on top of (or garnish with) fresh berries or lemon zest. Figure 1/4-1/3 c per person, so easily you could serve a dozen people from a single batch. Use less chocolate to soften the texture. Call it "chocolate mousse" and serve coffee alongside.
Five-minute Cheater Version:
If this is too much prep-work, get a frozen poundcake and chocolate Cool Whip. Take the top off the cake, hollow out the center by cutting a frame straight down, remove the bottom from that core and put it back in the cake. Fill the cake with Cool Whip, chill and serve. Just don't credit me for this
monstrosity semi-homemade time-saver.