Saturday, 7 September 2013

Best Chocolate Cake Quest


I got a request for a birthday cake for the end of the month and how she put it was "please make the same chocolate cake [from last year] as everybody loved it".  

Gleep. 

I tried to move her on to trying something a little new... Oreo buttercream maybe? But I knew she really didn't want it.

 "heavenly" as she described the cake last year. 

Gleep two. 

Admission time. It took me two days to remember(ish) what her cake was. I did a ninky nonk. That was known. But all I remember was that I thought the cake was dry. Very dry. So I sandwiched it with extra layers of ganache. Three in fact. I am now (post searching online and realising it wasn't there) that I used Rose Levy Beranbaum's cake recipe from her book the Cake Bible. (How bad is that I forgot I actually used my hundred odd books sometimes?!) After wandering the shops I realised I used Galaxy in the ganache rather than dark which is quite bitter and grown up. Afterall, this was a cake for two year olds. So I can't QUITE remember if I did it with dark in the middle and galaxy on the sides, or vice versa, or just pure milk chocolate ganache. 

GLLLLLLLLLLLLLLEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP.

Oh to be fabulous and say "Oh darling... I never look backwards, only forwards."

Anywho... I am now on a quest for the BEST chocolate cake. By which I mean, fudgy, moist and non-crumbly. I definitely have best brownie recipes but not chocolate cake. Heck I could be close to making plain old victoria with the replace a scoop of flour with cocoa soon. You never know, it could be the best. The woman at work is in love with Betty Crocker mix... if you missed my trial with that. It bounced. Cakes do not bounce. Reject.

So, to run down the list: Rose Levy Beranbaum. Assumed dry but if I don't find a better one I will do for her again. 

My current go to courtesy of the BBC although I didn't like it the first time. It has an annoying crumble effect when you slice it so you don't get a slice, you get a pile with frosting.

And today's trial courtesy of the Guardian who I definitely loved for the lemon drizzle cake I previously did from them, although that might be because I finally got a microplane that it turned out better than the rest.

Recipe repeated below in case I love it and they pull it...(Note I only used the choc ganache but I have value pack bourbon biscuits to make a rip off/cheapskate Oreo buttercream one day)

50g dark chocolate, melted and allowed to cool slightly
250g butter, at room temperature
250g light muscovado sugar
½ tsp salt
100g cocoa powder
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 large eggs
250ml milk
50g chocolate chips


For the buttercream:
140g butter, softened
50g cocoa powder
200g icing sugar
Pinch of salt
2 tbsp milk
5 Oreo cookies

1. Grease and line the bases of 2 x 20cm springform cake tins with greaseproof paper. Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) 350F / gas 4. Cream together the butter and sugar with ½ tsp salt until light and fluffy.

2. Sift together the cocoa, flour and baking powder. Add the eggs to the butter mixture one at a time and beat until well combined, then fold in half the dry ingredients followed by the melted chocolate. Fold in the rest, followed by enough milk to give a soft dropping consistency, and then the chocolate chips. Divide between the two tins and bake for about 25–30 minutes until firm in the centre.

3. Allow to cool completely on a rack, then make the buttercream. Beat the butter until fluffy, then add the cocoa, icing sugar and salt and, if necessary, a little milk to loosen the mixture. Put one of the cakes on a serving plate and spread a third of the icing on top. Place the second on top, then spread the rest of the icing over it.

4. Blitz the biscuits to a fine crumb in a food processor and sprinkle them over the cake.

I'll let you know after dinner whether this one's a hit or not. Whether she'd notice that this year's might have chocolate chips in the mix. Whether I put some in last year just to try and moisten it. GLEEEEEEEEEEPPPPPPPPPP
For bespoke but remarkably cheaply priced (love, costs and the odd floral arrangements) cake I do a lot of research and obsess.

EDIT: I love this cake. I really do. It went down well at dinner with the only edit being it may be TOO rich which limits the amount you can eat. It was chocolatey and the hit of the smell when the box opened really did it. It was fluffy. It sliced well. I'm going to try my "too dry" Rose Levy again just to see what exactly about it that the lady might have liked and then adapt this one. Maybe it doesn't need the 50g of melted chocolate. Maybe it could do with a little less cocoa because 100g did seem a lot to me. We'll see. But this one for me was a bit of a winner :) Two more recipes to try I think before I call it a day. I looked up something called Weddingcake project and she uses my go-to Sky High vanilla for the vanilla cake, so I have to try her chocolate choices as well. Fatty colleagues here we come!