Monday, November 30, 2009

My First Chocolate Cake

"What do you mean?" you ask. "It can't be your first chocolate cake. You have been making chocolate cakes for half your life and eating them for all of it."

This isn't the first chocolate cake that I have made, and certainly not the first one I have eaten. It is, however, MY first chocolate cake. This was my idea and my recipe.

I always liked baking because it was such an exact science. If you followed the recipe, you would get the right result. Cooking isn't always as exact, but then again, there is more room for error. That's why I do almost all of my baking with recipes, but play and experiment often with cooking.

Let's face it though. My "original" recipes for cooking are often made up of multiple recipes that already exist that I have cobbled together into something new. Sometimes I will use someone else's "base" recipe and simply change the bells and whistles. Why can't I do that with baking?
That still can make for an original baking recipe.

I have occasionally made up my own baked good recipes. Some have been better than others. My Tiramisu bars were the first flop ever recorded on TERP. My Orange Bourbon Pound Cake, on the other hand, was one of the best cakes I ever made (and it wasn't even chocolate!) I think I know enough about cakes and baking to come up with a cake.

Monday I had my last day off from Thanksgiving break before going back to work. I was broke, the weather was crappy, and I was stuck alone at home. It's days like these that just beg for baking. I had a decent number of supplies in the house. I had some squares of unsweetened chocolate, some milk that was getting close to expiration, butter, sugar, eggs, and flour. Why not make a chocolate cake? The real question was what chocolate cake would I make? I have endless chocolate cake recipes (as last summer proved). Why was one better than the other?

I decided to make a bold move. I would take a look at a bunch of my chocolate cake recipes, see which elements they had in common in terms of ingredient measurements, and then use those proporations to put together a cake of my own. I've baked enough cakes over the years to know the process of baking a cake. All I really needed was a good idea of the right ingredient measurements. With a little research I was able to come up with a recipe that I felt would succeed using flour, butter, eggs, milk, and, in Ina Garten fashion, a pinch of coffee powder.

The cake had a very nice deep chocolate flavor that wasn't cloyingly sweet. The texture was fluffy and almost had a melt-in-your-mouth quality. I think this may be my new recipe for whenever I need a go-to-chocolate cake. It's that good. It is a cake I have to handle with care though. That "fluffy" texture means it's very light and delicate. If I made this into a layer cake, I would have to be verrrrrry careful moving the layers around.

I might want to tinker with this from time to time though. Maybe I'll try different dairy ingredients, different types of flour (how might cake flour change the texture?), or different proportions of eggs and butter.

I didn't have anything to make a frosting. I had to eat it plain. Oh well. I could try to develop a new chocolate frosting recipe, but I don't think there is a chocolate frosting recipe out there that I like better than the one Emily uses on the chocolate peanut butter cake.

The Short (dis)Order Cook's Chocolate Cake

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
2 sticks unsalted butter
4 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 Tbl instant coffee powder
1 cup milk

Heat oven to 350. Grease and flour 9"x13" pan

In a bowl sift togther flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa. Set aside.

In a large bowl cream butter for about 2 minutes until you have a nice, soft, workable fluff. Add sugars and beat another 3 minutes until all is fluffy and beautiful.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing about 1 minute after each addition. Stir in vanilla, coffee, and melted chocolate. Blend well.

Stir in flour mixture and milk alternately in about 4 batches, ending with the flour. When all is absorbed into a happy cake batter, spread into prepared pan.

Bake 40 minutes or until it springs back when you lightly touch it and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Odds & Ends

I was cruel to not include the links for my Thanksgiving bread recipes. Forgive me. I lost them when I first typed up that blog. I found them again.

Cranberry Walnut Bread
Rosemary Rolls

I confess I have no clue how to use my Foodbuzz account and so I don't go to FB very often. I keep a Foodbuzz ad on my blog, but I don't have that big one that some of my friends do that beautifully displays the food of the day.

Lucky for me, my friends do display that nice big ad, because I found a great recipe on it. As soon as I saw these "Naked Ravioli" I knew I had to make them for dinner. After all that turkey, I needed something less meaty for dinner.

I made my own marinara recipe instead of the one listed here, but otherwise, followed the recipe and it was delicious. SPP liked it too.


Sue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sue said...

Sorry for deleting my comment, but I can't stand typos!!!

Wow, what a great cake recipe! How could you go wrong with cocoa AND unsweetened chocolate and sugar AND brown sugar?!!

But tell me the truth! Is that wacky frosting recipe of Em's really good? The idea of the flour is so weird, although I think it harkens back to a REALLY old-fashioned method, so maybe it is good. (Don't mention to anyone that I asked you about this. At least I'm not asking you to change a cellphone greeting.) ;-)

The Duo Dishes said...

Congrats on creating your own cake recipe. You're right about getting the measurements for baking correct. From there, it's just mixing and matching the flavors.

Emily said...

Thank you for posting the cranberry walnut bread recipe. I was wondering if you were going to.

Your cake looks incredible! Isn't chocolate cake the ultimate dessert? Thank you for the mention! :) Oh no! Sue is doubting it.

Bellini Valli said...

Chocolate cake is the ultimate in decadence...this has all the qualities of a great cake.

The Blonde Duck said...

That is so cool! I think it's such a talent to create a recipe!

noble pig said...

Can you pass me a slice?

CookiePie said...

What a fabulous-looking cake - I can't wait to try the recipe!

The Blonde Duck said...

What PB cake? Where? When!

The Short (dis)Order Cook said...

Emily and Sue - Yes, the frosting is excellent, flour and all. The flour just binds it and makes it custardy. You must trust.

DD - It's true, but I don't always trust myself.

Val and NP - Thanks.

Cookie - I'd be thrilled if you did!

Duckie - there is a link to the PB cake recipe. It's goooooood. Then agian, so are all of Em's recipes.

Maria said...

Lots of tasty things going on! The cake looks wonderful!

Jeff said...

The exact science is why I would never be good at making baking recipes. I prefer the throw and go method of cooking.

Awesome job!!

Peter M said...

Yay...and bravo! The cake looks moist. Tomorrow you'll make a 5-tiered wedding cake with fondant! ;0