Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake

After two baptisms and a birthday party, I thought I had finally started to get the hang of this catering-for-a-huge-group-of-people-thing (at least to the point where I might, possibly, be able to leave the kitchen for half an hour) when the birthday cake flopped. Suddenly, my carefully made plans, which involved an easy to prepare menu, were sabotaged by a new chocolate cake recipe which produced, well, not chocolate cake. More like a dark brown, stodgy... mess. Suddenly I was faced with having to make the cake from scratch (including the decorating) before the guests arrived at noon. All I can say is, thank you Julie Goodwin!

Chocolate Cake

Luckily I had enough butter and eggs leftover to hastily put together the chocolate cake recipe I found in Julie's Our Family Table cookbook. Apparently it was her mother-in-law's go-to cake recipe when her husband was growing up and, after tasting it, it's now mine too. This cake is super moist without the density of a mud cake, and is oh so chocolatey. Plus everyone LOVED it.

Chocolate Cake

For the party I ended up covering it in lashings of chocolate buttercream frosting and Smarties, but most recently I used chocolate ganache, white chocolate piped on top in a fairly amateur attempt at a pattern, and covered the sides in Oreo crumbs. Both were fantastic, but next time I think I'll do a milk chocolate ganache instead, only because I prefer it to dark. Also, the white chocolate piping didn't sink into the ganache like I wanted, so next time I'll frost the cake with a thick ganache, and then cover that with a ganache glaze which should prevent the white chocolate from cooling too quickly (for an example of this piping technique go here). Plus, I'll hopefully do a much better job on the piping.

What is your favourite go-to cake recipe?

Chocolate Cake
Oreo crumbs are awesome

Mum Goodwin's Chocolate Cake
by Julie Goodwin from Our Family Table
Makes one huge cake

chocolate cake ingredients
You will need...
1 1/4 cups (125g) cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups (375ml) boiling water
180g unsalted butter, cubed
2 1/2 cups (550g) caster sugar
3 eggs
3/4 cup (185ml) milk
2 tsp white vinegar
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups (450g) self-raising flour, sifted

Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan forced), and lightly grease and line your cake pan (I used a square tin, 23 x 23 x 7cm). Sift the cocoa powder into a bowl and add the boiling water gradually, whisking continuously until all the water is added and the mixture is smooth. Set aside to cool.

Chocolate cake collage 1
Cake tin lined / Cocoa ready to go
Butter and sugar creamed, although I think it should be fluffier? / Ready for the cocoa

Cream the butter and sugar in a stand mixer or with electric beaters until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Combine the milk and vinegar in a jug.

Add the salt. Add the flour and milk in three batches, stirring to combine after each addition. Stir in the cocoa mixture and transfer to the prepared cake tin.

chocolate cake collage2
Adding the cocoa mixture / Don't do what I did and fail to mix properly - you don't want non-choc batter at the bottom of the bowl. Work that spatula, baby!

The recipe says to cook the cake for 35-40 minutes, but I had to cook mine for 70 minutes. It really depends on the size and depth of your tin. Check it at 35 minutes - if it is still really liquid leave it for another 20 minutes. Once the cake is starting to firm up check it every 5 minutes and remove it once a skewer inserted comes out clean. Cool in the tin for five minutes, then remove it and place it on a cooling rack.

by Joy Of Baking
227g dark (semi-sweet) chocoloate, chopped
180ml pouring/pure cream
28g unsalted butter

Place chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream and butter in a saucepan on the stove until just boiling. Pour over chocolate and allow to stand for a couple of minutes. Stir until mixture is smooth and glossy.

Allow to cool and thicken for a thick frosting, or use straight away for a glaze. You will need one batch for one coat, or two batches if using a ganache frosting as well as a glaze.

small handful white chocolate melts
half packet of Oreos, pulsed in a food processor to create crumbs

For my cake above I used only one batch of ganache, but if you are going to pipe with the white chocolate I would suggest trying the following method (and let me know how it goes!). Otherwise, you can just use the ganache as a frosting and decorate it however you like. Fresh strawberries would be awesome!

Chocolate cake frosting collage
Fresh from the oven / Ready to frost
Crumb coat / Applying the ganache

Place the cake on cooling rack and allow to cool completely. Using a serrated knife, carefully cut the top of the cake off so it is level.

Apply a crumb coat of ganache (this is basically a very thin coat of frosting, which is allowed to dry before adding the proper, thicker coat. It seals in the crumbs, preventing them from getting in the frosting).

Frost the cake with a thick layer of the cooled ganache, using a spatula to apply and smooth it.

Chocolate cake piping collage
Ready to snip and pipe / Dodgy, dodgy piping

Melt the white chocolate melts (I used the microwave - slow and steady is the way) and place in a piping bag or snaplock bag with the corner snipped off (the hole needs to be very small). Cover the cake with the ganache glaze, using the spatula to encourage the glaze over the sides of the cake. Move the cake to your serving platter.

Pipe straight, horizontal lines of white chocolate on the top of the cake. Using the tip of a knife, drag the knife lightly through the glaze in vertical lines, alternating up and down.

Using your hands, and careful to avoid the top of the cake, apply the Oreo crumbs to the side of your cake. They will stick to the glaze. Allow to set. Enjoy!

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