Saturday, February 18, 2012

Baking: Ultimate Chocolate Cake

I'm always trying to perfect recipes. Not just any recipe, mind you; but classic ones. And chocolate cake has always been on the top of the mountain of dishes I'm trying to figure out. I'm not looking to make a good chocolate cake. I'm looking to make an outstanding cake. One that makes your eyes roll back. One that may give you death by chocolate but in a good way. And so here I'm working on my triple chocolate or ultimate chocolate cake. Looks pretty, no?

The cake base has always been an issue for me. I found one that I really loved but ever since the move and the new pans, it hasn't come out the same ever again. Sigh, it's just too soft for a layer cake. And so I'm trying a new recipe this time. This is the "That Chocolate Cake" from Scharffen Berger. Below I mixed together the dry ingredients including: sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
With the stand up mixer on, I added the wet ingredients which was a mixture of eggs, oil, and milk. After it is mixed well, I added in the boiling water. Not sure why this step was necessary but maybe it was to bloom the chocolate which enhances the flavor.
Then I poured the loose batter in prepared pans for baking. I normally use a baking spray but I ran out halfway through. Instead, I went the traditional method of butter and flour. No parchment paper though. So into the oven at 350oF for about 30-35 minutes. Use a cake tester to be sure. Every oven and pan is different.
When the cake is fully baked, remove from oven and let cool on wire rack for about 5 minutes. Then remove from pans and let cool on rack until completely cool to the touch.
Once the cakes are cooled, I layered on the white chocolate frosting in the middle and then coated the outside with dark chocolate ganache. Lastly, I added white chocolate covered cereal on the outside. For the recipe and the steps to frosting the cake, please see my previous post here.
And this is what my cake looked this this time. Very eye appealing, yes. But flavor wise? Just okay. Sure it was chocolaty but it wasn't a chocolate bomb. I want it to be the ULTIMATE. Unfortunately, it fell short. The cake was very good but it wasn't decadent enough. The dark chocolate ganache was a little too dark. I'll switch to a lower percentage next time. However, the white chocolate frosting was much better this time. I made sure the proportions were right on this try so you didn't taste too much of the sour cream and cream cheese. Instead, it was sweet from the chocolate.
Alas, I'm still waiting to make the cake that satisfies me. I think at this point, it's down to the cake base. I need to find a recipe that really excites people's taste buds.

My Recipe is adapted from:

That Chocolate Cake  courtesy of Scharffen Berger

For the Cake

INGREDIENTS

Unsalted butter and flour for pans
2 cups granulated sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup SCHARFFEN BERGER unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup canola oil
1 cup whole milk
1 cup boiling water
For the Frosting

INGREDIENTS

1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
5 ounces SCHARFFEN BERGER 99% Cacao Unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
PREPARATION

For the Cake:

Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper, then butter and flour the parchment and the sides of the pans.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, mixing on low speed. Mix in the eggs, oil, and milk.

Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the water. The batter will be soupy.

Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then turn the layers out onto the rack and cool completely.

When the cakes have cooled, check the frosting. It should have the consistency of mayonnaise. If it is still too thin, allow it to cool longer.

For the Frosting:

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and cream and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer for 6 minutes. Add the chocolate and butter and stir until melted. Pour into a bowl and stir in the vanilla.

To Frost the Cake:

Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread the frosting with a hot palette knife or icing spatula to give the frosting a beautiful shine. Run the knife under hot tap water and dry with a towel. Spread about ¾ cup of the frosting over the top of the first layer. Top with the second layer. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake, heating the knife again as necessary.

Serves 8 to 10

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