Project Chocolate Cake – Cake no 1August 21, 2011
Project Chocolate Cake begins. I have 41 days until my Dad’s 80th Birthday party for which he has asked me to make the cake(s). There will be 40 or so guests and the party is being catered, so I’m aiming for 2 – 3 large bunts which should allow for enough cake to go round and room for all those candles.
He’s helpfully requested a chocolate cake saying ‘You remember that one you made me once? That was lovely‘. Not the most helpful of descriptions for someone with a three cake a week baking habit, I was also fairly sure he would want a ginger or fruit cake, so the chocolate request has thrown me somewhat.
The party is on a Sunday afternoon and with family and friends arriving over the weekend the cakes will have to be baked on the Friday – keepability is going to be an important factor. A moist and dense cake, something ‘fudgy’ to allow for good slicing might be needed. But then again after the food that will be on offer during the afternoon, perhaps something lighter? There could be additions, nuts, chocolate chips, a hint of orange perhaps or even a touch of alcohol but at the moment it’s the texture and taste of the base mixture I’m interested in.
Project Chocolate Cake started with a selection of my baking books and some sticky labels spread out before me, the cake below was chosen as cake no 1 simply becuse I had all the ingredients in stock and wanted to start early the next morning and coming from Cake Keeper Cakes, a book I’ve found highly reliable it seemed like a good place to start. I have recruited several friends and neighbours as official testers and reviewers, a task they seem quite eager to engage in, it will be interesting to see if it is possible to tire of chocolate cake.
The batter was easy to mix and a lovely light and moussy consistency. It raised to just above the height of the tin and although I turned the cake halfway through I neglected to check early enough for browning, it needs to be covered at about that point with a piece of foil.
The cake sunk and cracked quite a bit in the ten minutes that it was cooling in the pan. I didn’t add the suggested chocolate chips so I wonder if that changed the structure of the cake, it stuck a little bit, and the outside looked dry and unappealing.
I thought, that considering the amount of chocolate and cocoa used, the finished cake should have had a deeper flavour, the texture was lovely and light though, it sliced fairly well but I can’t say that I thought it was special enough. Comments from the official testers are at odds with my initial assessment though – it was greatly enjoyed. After baking I thought I had one to discount immediately, but it’s still in the running
Double Chocolate Bundt Cake
(messed around with from an original Triple Chocolate Cake by Lauren Chattman in Cake Keeper Cakes)
114g dark chocolate (I used 70% Green and Blacks)
250ml boiling water
250ml buttermilk (milk suggested in original recipe)
3 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon instant coffee (my addition)
337.5g plain flour
2 Tsp baking powder
1 Tsp bicarb
1/4 Tsp salt
220g unsalted butter – room temp/softened
450g caster sugar
(original recipe also had the addition of 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips)
Preheat your oven to 170C, grease and flour 12 cup bundt tin.
Place chocolate, cocoa and coffee in a bowl, pour in the boiling water and mix until smooth. Set to oneside to cool slightly.
In a large bowl sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
In a large jug whisk the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla extract.
Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (they should change colour becoming very pale) add the chocolate mixture and mix until incorporated.
With mixer in low add 1/3 of the flour mix, followed by 1/2 the buttermilk and repeat. Mixing between each addition and scraping the sides as necessary. If you are adding the chocolate chips do so at this point.
Pour the batter into the pan and smooth the top. Bake for 50 – 60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean, rotating half way through baking and covering loosely with a piece of foil if needed. Allow to cool in the pan for 10 mins before turning out to cool completely.