Photo: ThinkstockBy Lynn Andriani
Godiva executive chef chocolatier Thierry Muret spends his days tinkering with double chocolate raspberry truffles and cherry cordials (it's a tough job, but somebody has to do it). And with Godiva's collection of baked goods, which will have a new line on sale in the fall, Muret learned to master the art of mixing, baking and frosting. Among the most valuable lessons he picked up: freeze a cake after baking it. It keeps the cake incredibly moist and, as a bonus for frazzled cake decorators, makes it a lot easier to cut--and, in turn, frost.
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After mixing the cake batter (and at Godiva, all cake batters are chocolate--go figure), pouring it into the pan and baking it completely through, Muret pulls the cake out of the oven and lets it cool on a wire rack until it is lukewarm enough that he can handle it. He removes it from the pan and then wraps the entire cake with cellophane wrap--and this is crucial--twice. You must wrap the cake tightly, he says. Then he puts it in the freezer overnight or for eight hours.
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When Muret is ready to frost the cake, he removes it from the freezer and allows it to thaw. For a large cake, this takes 20 to 30 minutes. The goal is for the cake to be cool and firm, but not completely frozen. Since Muret's a pro, he puts the cake on a Lazy Susan and, using a sharp, serrated knife, slices off the uneven, rounded top of the cake by keeping the knife in one place and spinning the cake around for a clean, straight cut, giving him a smooth surface for icing. The Lazy Susan isn't necessary, of course, though it does make the job easier. He repeats this technique with however many layers of cake he has. Finally, Muret lets them come to room temperature before frosting them. Follow his lead and your cake will be as beautiful to look at as it is to eat.
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