Friday, January 28, 2011

Chocolate cake

Made one today, and it was STUPENDOUS!

I'm going to share, and it's from a cookbook.  Home Baking by Jeffery Alford and Naomi Duguid, they are, I think, my favourite cookbook authors of all time, though MFK Fisher is totally astonishing, but a very different kind of cookbook.

Anyway, they, or rather Naomi, has given me permission to post one of their recipes before, and so I am hoping to do it again, that sounds almost like I know them, which I totally don't, just emailed a request.  Well twice.  They were very nice when I explained that my cook books were stranded on a boat in the middle of a cow field in central Florida and could they please send me a copy of two of their recipies that I was desperate to make, and they did!  Very kind and considerate in every way.

Anyway, after that extremely long and rambling intro, here is Duguid and Alford's recipe for "Eva's Chocolate Flavoured Cake"

2 c packed light brown sugar
1c veg shortening or unsalted butter, softened.  That is 230 grams
2 oz (56g more or less) melted chocolate, cooled to room temp (my room temp is about 10, so I didn't get quite that silly)
4 extra large eggs, separated
2 c sifted all purpose flour (if you want it chocolate-i-er, substitute 2 tbls of cocoa for that much of the flour)
1 cup milk
1/2 c sliced almonds or chopped walnuts (didn't have this, we survived)

I wildly modified their icing recipe so I'm calling it my own.

Place the rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 / 175.  Lightly grease two 8 inch round cake pans. (or whatever you have that will suit, like a 9 inch springform and a 9 inch glass pie pan like I had)

To make the cake, cream together the butter and sugar (without a mixer in a 10 degree house with very large-crystal brown sugar this took three people and a solid 5+ min, my respect for our grandparents, well, really our grandmothers goes up every time I bake).

When it is creamed. (or you can't take it any more)  Add the cooled chocolate to the mix. (if your sugar has really big crystals like mine did, add it a little warmer!)

Add the yolks and salt and beat till smooth.  (or close enough that your happy with it.)

Add 1/2 c of flour, and stir with a wooden spoon till integrated, add 1/3 c milk and stir (splashy!  Milk in the slipper.) repeat till all the flour and milk has been mixed in.  Add the nuts next. (if you have them, if not, nuts to you.)  (I am taking liberties with their beautiful and utterly accurate recipe, I imagine you can see my interjections.)  Really, honestly, they write the clearest recipies with well thought out descriptions of how things should look of feel at critical moments.  Delightful.

Use a mixer (or a handy child) to beat the egg whites to soft but sturdy peaks. (or as close as your going to get with just your and said child's aching arm.  Peaks?  Who needs peaks.  It's foamy and light, we're good to GO!)

Scoop about a quarter of the whites into the batter and stir in.  Fold in the rest...gently.

Pour into the pans and cook about 25 min (praying that they fit into the TINY European ovens, thank goodness, they DID!) or until a skewer (knife) poked into the center comes out clean.  Turn onto a fine meshed cake rack to cool. (or leave them on the counter in their pans while you run to work and pray the dog doesn't get at it all.)

You can serve dusted with confectioner's sugar or you can make the icing I invented or theirs if that's what toasts your toesies.

Their recipe calls for 4 oz of bittersweet chocolate and about 1/4 cup of sour cream, melt the chocolate, let it cool, blend with the sour cream for a good texture and ice.

Well mine's a wee bit different.  I got the chocolate they use for melting into Spanish hot chocolate, which is outstanding.  1 bar is 275 grams.  I took about 75 grams of that for the cake, and used the rest for the icing, 26 g is 1 oz, so I had about 8 oz.  I melted this in a pan (right in a saucepan on high, stirring a lot, if your careful, it's easy), then mixed in cream cheese while it was still warm (piping hot).  I cannot get sour cream here, but the cream cheese is DIVINE, so I was off. Also it is firmer than the sour cream especially in my icebox house, and so I needed the warmth from the chocolate to make the whole thing blend without busting my arm again. 

It spread beautifully and easily and tasted fabulous, honestly the best icing I've ever tasted.  None of that uncooked cornstarch taste of some, and not too sweet at all.  No raw eggs either, which I really like.  Not the least bit fussy, and only the one pan to wash.  Super chocolate-y (is that a word? It should be) and creamy and kind of tart from the cream cheese and a little bitter from the chocolate.  Goodness.


Very very very good cake.  My go to from now on it.

Oh, and I decorated with white chocolate malteezer kind of things and soft candy hearts.  Pretty too.


J.G. said...

What, no photo? This sounds tasty and beautiful, too.

Also, did not realize your boat was in Central Florida. How did I not know this?!

oreneta said...

JG, it's not there now, but was there for years!

Kim said...

Sounds easy enough (ha!), certainly is making my mouth water. My one conundrum is getting the house down to 10 degrees. I'm not sure I'm willing to sacrifice my comfort.

Trish said...

We must be on the same culinary wavelength. I'm getting all the ingredients together this weekend to make a chocolate cake from scratch from a Williams and Sonoma cookbook called 'Comfort Food'. It's more like Food Pr0n, I'd say. The pictures alone are outrageous.

*also* I put a couple more Bagel Making pointers in my comments section . . . if and when you get to making them too.

Anonymous said...

Sounds yummy :). Although I pretty much never do any other chocolate cake than the one for which I know the recipe by heart. Mostly because, well, I know the recipe by heart, and I don't want to bother learning another one :p

oreneta said...

Kim, if you have a beater thing-y it is easy enough, there wasn't much to it aside from the stirring!

Trish, ooooh bagel tips are very very good, thank you!

ElP, so....what's the recipe?