As a slight deviation from my eggless baking spree, last week saw me having to bake birthday cakes for two occasions. And of course the requests were for “very very chocolately, the more the better”. Haha, is it just me or does everybody in the WORLD love chocolate cake? Even I used to be guilty of it, strolling into a bakery to order a birthday cake, deciding that ToDaY would be the day I tried something different. Perhaps the tiramisu, or chantilly sponge? But always, I’d get scared of how well-received it would be, and eventually go home with a box of any good ‘ol tried and tested chocolate cake they had on sale. I’ve kinda changed now though, forcing myself to try different things and I must say I’m glad I do that…I find that sometimes chocolate cakes have so much familiarity going for them that tasters forget all about what the cake ACTUALLY tastes like and just enjoy the fact that it’s chocolate. But with something new, like a fruit genoise or raspberry mousse cake, your taste buds have no prior bias –as it may to chocolate- and the cake has so much more to prove. And when it actually does so, it’s a glorious feeling, savoring a bite of cake that has all these nuances of flavor that have nothing to do with the familiar taste of cocoa that has become synonymous with birthday cake.
BUT, having said all that, chocolate cake is still one of my most frequently requested order and who am I to stand in the way of my friends’ and family’s preferences? Haha. But I do want to give them the best so instead of being bored with yet another chocolate cake order, I decided to do some research into discovering the best chocolate fudge cake out there. I went to the library and pulled out all the baking books I could find. What I discovered was that many chocolate fudge cakes have some standard ingredients… brown sugar, or more specifically muscavado sugar, which is unrefined and has a chewy, almost fudgy carameliness.
Muscavado sugar, I used Taiko for its convenient zip-lock feature which I think prevents the sugar from drying out after you’ve used it.
And then there is the fat-filled dairy component, either yoghurt or more commonly, sour cream, which I guess gives the cake all that requisite buttery richness. Another thing is most chocolate cakes….normal crumby cakes, not the dense tortes….use cocoa as opposed to pure chocolate. I couldn’t find premium cocoa in my Cold Storage, other than the usual Van Houten and Hersheys so I tried to find something that used real chocolate, since I had a bar of Varlhona sitting at home.
(Just on a sidenote, what brand of cocoa do ya’ll use? I’m quite bored with Hersheys ‘cos I think it gives a blah taste, almost like
Milo…and I haven’t used Van Houten much. Does anybody have any recommendations?)
Eventually I decided on a Chocolate Fudge Cake from Chocolate Temptations by Christine France. Of course I couldn’t taste it ‘cos of the eggs in the batter, but I’ve made it twice already and have gotten some great reviews. One of the girls even called me her official cake supplier from now on, so I’m thinking I may have done something right here. Haha. But as far as baking the cake, the batter is quite a dream to work with…almost fool-proof, as long as you keep on the ingredients at room temperature. I made two 8” discs, sandwiched both with chocolate frosting and iced the whole thing with more chocolate. And topped it off with hazelnut-filled chocolates. Hmmm, it’s a mystery why everybody liked it, don’t you think? *grin*
Christine France’s Chocolate Fudge Cake
2oz bittersweet chocolate (I used Varlhona Manjari)
2oz semisweet chocolate (I used Phoon Huat’s coverture dark)
6oz butter, softened
7oz light muscavado sugar
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs, beaten
150ml/ 2/3 cup Greek yoghurt
5oz self raising flour, sifted
- Grease and line the bottom of 2 8” cake tins. Preheat oven to 375 degree F.
- Melt chocolates over a double boiler or in the microwave. Cool slightly.
- Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Beat in vanilla, yoghurt and melted chocolate.
- Fold in flour.
- Pour batter into tin and bake for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
- Cool for 10 minutes in the tin, turn out onto a wire rack and after completely cool, sandwich and frost with desired icing. (I don’t wana give the chocolate frosting recipe ‘cos I don’t think it was particularly fantastic. I’m still looking for a kick-ass frosting recipe and when I do, I’ll definitely post it up)
The cake cooling in the tin…looks how the sides sightly shrink from the edges? I love it when my cakes do this, shows that everything has been baked through to perfection.