Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Perfect All-American Chocolate Cake

For Leigh, Lydia and Francesca

Imagine if a brownie and a chocolate cake had a baby. This would be it...

This cake is from  Rose Levy Beranbaum's authoritative Cake Bible. I made this today for my 3-year-old's birthday. The description in the Bible was pretty grand. I read it to my guests before we ate it. Partly to scoff... but, after trying it, we all agreed it was spot on - and not at all immodest.

"This cake has a full chocolate flavour and exceptionally soft, fine texture for a chocolate butter cake...Ross Horovitz, after photographing this cake of Chocolatier magazine, said "when you bite into this cake," he rhapsodised, " its seems light; then it becomes fudgy and chocolaty; then jist when you begin to think you have something, it simply vanishes so you want to take another bite!" My mother was more succinct: "It tastes like a chocolate bar but softer." And that was my goal."

So you have to try it really, don't you? (And if you love baking I cannot recommend this book highly enough. The woman is a baking goddess - scientific in the extreme in her approach and consistently perfect in her recipes.

I have adapted the recipe very slightly...

Preheat oven to 170C
2 x 9 inch cake tins greased and bases lined with baking parchment

60g good quality unsweetened cocoa powder Green and Black (UK and Ireland) Dutch processed (US)
235g boiling water (yes, it is weighed in grams!!!)
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
300g caster sugar
200g plain flour
30g cornflour (cornstarch)
1 tbsp baking powder
225g softened butter

In a measuring jug or medium bowl  weigh out the cocoa, add the boiling water by weight, and whisk with a hand whisk until combined and smooth. Leave to cool for at least 10 mins...

Combine eggs and vanilla, whisk by hand.

Combine dry ingredients.  Mix by hand to combine. Add butter and 1/2 cocoa mixture, whisk with an electric whisk on low until combined, then on high for 2 mins to aerate the mix. Add the rest of the cocoa and the eggs in a couple of batches, scraping down the sides with a spatula.

Divide into tins. Bake for 25 mins until firm and springy.

Cool in tins for 10 mins before turning out.

Vanilla icing
100g very soft unsalted butter
300g icing sugar
1 1/2 tbsp full fat milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Whisk butter and icing sugar with electric whisk till well combined. Add vanilla and milk and whisk for 3-4 mins on high until very light and fluffy.

Do not ice cake until completely cool. Then sandwich them together using half and the other half spread on top. Decorate with grate chocolate, chocolate Flake bars or smarties!

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