Project Chocolate Cake – Cake no 2August 22, 2011
Cake no 2 is the aptly named Black Chocolate Party Cake from Rose Levy Beranbaum’s ‘Rose’s Heavenly Cakes‘. A book I’ve had for some time but never actually baked from. The recipe can be viewed here in an extract from the book via Rose’s site. As you can see she lays out her recipes in a particular way and her instructions are very detailed. I think this has put me off as my recipe reading tends to be of the scanning variety (a habit for which I’ve paid dearly in the past) and my baking sessions tend to be a little last minute and taking place first thing in the morning I’m not always in the best frame of mind to follow such detail. I think I found the layout it intimidating and have discounted the recipes as being too complicated.
This one wasn’t complicated, it was very clear and concise and the inclusion of weights if ingredients as well as the American standard cups helped greatly. I have two more of Rose’s recipes bookmarked to try so I will be making up for lost time with this book.
The batter was quite different to the previous cake, thicker, more like a pound cake in texture, containing toasted walnuts that have been ground to a fine powder which I think contributes to the final moist texture of the cake. Another difference to the cakes I’m used to baking is that she adds all the butter, along with some liquid to the flour and sugar and beats from there, rather than beating the butter and sugar first. This is the first time I’ve baked like this, I’ve just checked the other two recipes and they follow the same procedure.
It baked evenly and needed 55 minutes. The cake has a cocoa syrup that I used and the result smelled heavenly indeed. As an example of the detailed instructions Rose suggests placing the cake on clingfilm before brushing the syrup over the cake in order to catch the drips, which can then be absorbed from the bottom of the cake as it cools completely.
So where does this cake stand in the competition so far …. well, with only one cake to compare with it seems to have come in second with the taste testers. It sliced far more cleanly, being denser with the syrup. It was sticky though and may not have been the cleanest of cakes to eat by hand. The addition of a ganache or buttercream may also push the richness too far. I would make the cake again, served with creme fraiche or ice cream even it would make a lovely desert, but it’s not going to be the one for the party.