Sunday, January 10, 2010

In My Opinon, the Best Chocolate Cake

I have been having cravings for chocolate cake lately. Instead of driving to any bakery or market to pick up some dry or over frosted cake, I have had a hankering for making my own. All I wanted to do was make chocolate cake for the past few weeks. I just had to find the time to do so. One day, I was so motivated, I did it! I was exhausted after I was finished and forgot to cover it after cooling. I came downstairs in the morning to a visually perfect cake, but very dry. Making the cut through the first few centimeters was like cutting cardboard. Penetration in the cake was a little softer, but I could tell that this was not the cake I wanted to make. I microwaved it for a few seconds, which helped, but it did not satisfy my desire. First attempt - FAIL

A couple days later, I tried again, this time with a different recipe. The flavor of the first cake was fine, but I wanted something a tad richer. This time, the cake was absolutely perfect! It was so incredibly moist and had just the right amount of chocolatey goodness. I paired it with a new frosting recipe - brown sugar buttercream. All my taste testers said the buttercream resembled just plain ol' butter, but I beg to differ. Once it reached room temperature, I was able to taste a hint of caramel in a very creamy texture. That's just my palate, though. I might add a little more sugar next time.

Anyone who loves chocolate must try this cake recipe and pair it with any kind of frosting you like. It is even delicious alone. With my left over batter, I made little bundt frost-less chocolate cakes that were perfect for my morning breakfast.

Mile-High Devil's Food Cake adapted from Sky High Irresistable Triple -Layer Cakes

This is the recipe exactly from the book. I made just a square one layer cake and used the left over batter for mini bundts. This recipe would be great in cupcake pans or round pans and used in a layer cake.

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, not Dutch process
1 1/4 cup hot water
3 cups packed light brown sugar
2 2/3 cups cake flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons (9 oz.) unsalted butter, room temperature
3 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3/4 cup cold water

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Butter the bottoms and sides of three 8-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with a round of parchment or waxed paper and grease the paper.

2. Place the cocoa powder in a medium bowl. Add the hot water and whisk until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.

3. In a large mixer bowl, combine the brown sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, blend to mix. Add the butter and dissolved cocoa and beat briefly to blend. Then raise the speed to medium and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes.

4. In a medium bowl, whisk the eggs with the vanilla and cold water until blended. Add this liquid to the batter in 3 additions, scraping down the sides well and mixing only to incorporate between additions. Divide the batter among the 3 prepared cake pans.

5. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a cake tester or wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out almost clean, with just a few crumbs sticking to the pick. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, carefully peel off the paper liner, and let cool completely.

6. Assemble cake as desired.

Brown Sugar Buttercream adapted from Sky High Irresistable Triple -Layer Cakes

5 egg whites
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1/4 cup water
1 pound (16 oz.) unsalted butter, at room temperature

1. Place the egg whites in a large mixer bowl and set aside.

2. In a heavy medium saucepan, combine the brown sugar and water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally to dissolve the sugar. Then bring to a boil and cook without stirring until the syrup reaches the soft-ball stage, 238 degrees F on a candy thermometer.

3. Begin beating the egg whites with the electric mixer set on medium-low speed. Gradually pour in the sugar syrup in a slow, steady stream, taking care not to hit the beaters. Increase the mixer speed to medium-high and beat until the meringue cools to body temperature.

4. With the mixer on medium-low, add the butter 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time. When all the butter has been added, raise the speed to medium and beat until the frosting almost appears to separate. Continue beating, and it will suddenly come together, looking like smooth whipped butter.