Saturday, 7 July 2012

Playing with chocolate

Here I am, bright eyed and bushy tailed and feeling positive about the recipe testing. Well, mostly. It's Vegan Chocolate Cake Day and the first batter is in the oven.
I thought you might like to follow how it's all going. I converted the American recipe to metric for ease of use.

Joy The Baker's Cake (ish)

Dry -
380g plain flour
300g sugar
50g cocoa
1 tsp bicarb
1/2 tsp baking powder
Wet -
250ml warm strong coffee
125ml vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
Sift the dry ingredients together to thoroughly combine them. In a jug, mix the wet ingredients together and pour them into the dry ingredients. mix until combined. This is a very thick batter indeed - i kept re-reading it hoping for more liquid. 
Joy bakes hers in a bundt tin. I've gone for a deep 8"/20cm tin because the extra surface area of bundt cakes means they tend to dry out more quickly which is no good for a cafe, which needs cake to remain saleable for longer.
As it's a very deep cake it needs 50 minutes to bake. 180 degrees C, as usual.

On reflection, I would be better with two sandwich tins. It rose much higher than I expected and I was concerned that the outer bits were overdone by the time the centre was cooked.  It smelled good. I cut it horizontally (ish) and spread it with the third glaze (see below).

Oh, funny story - We have some friends who wanted to serve a raspberry sorbet and langue du chat biscuits for dessert at an event.  The recipe was American and asked that the biscuits be baked at 320 degrees. My friend didn't look at the oven dial and think "Mine only goes up to 250, so something must be wrong here." Nope. She thought "I can only get up to 250 so it might need a little longer."
She didn't notice that the American recipe was in Fahrenheit and her British oven was in Celsius.
The biscuits were charcoal. She decided raspberry sorbet on its own was dessert enough. Smart woman

Cake from AliciaK at Instructables (mostly)

180g plain flour
200g sugar
35g cocoa
1tsp bicarb
1/2tsp salt
250ml warm water or coffee
80ml vegetable oil
1tsp vanilla
1tsp cider vinegar

Sift the dry ingredients together. Beat the wet ingredients together in a jug and pour into the dry. This one's a very wet batter! Pour into a 9"/23cm square tin and bake for 30 mins.
This came out of the oven looking dark and moist. It is a low traybake, good for parties and multiple servings.

Glaze 1

50g Trex
50g sugar
100ml water
250g icing sugar
20g cocoa

Heat the fat, sugar and water together until dissolved. Sift in the icing sugar and cocoa, beat well and pour over the cake.
I started out with a straight substitution - vegetable fat for butter. I make this glaze a lot - it's runny and if left undisturbed will set with a lovely dark gloss.
Unfortunately, this was one of those moments when I am reminded that I am just a domestic chemist. The sugar crystalised immediately. I tried sieving out the chunks of sugar but it was still gritty.  Total failure as a glaze. On the plus side, I bet it would make a kick-ass beauty product.  Forcing it through the sieve left me with soft, silky hands.
Ho hum.

Glaze 2

200g dark chocolate (check no milk solids!)
80ml soy milk

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, stir in the milk, spread over the cake
Wow, soya milk much more yellow than i expected. Smells a little strange. However, melted with athe dark chocolate it seemed to work well.  A more bitter topping than I'd planned, and definitely a 'Grown up' icing rather than a kid's cake.

Glaze 3 - 

200g icing sugar
30g cocoa
splash of coffee

Sift the cocoa and icing sugar together, mix in the coffee until smooth.


Cake 1 was too dry as a deep cake. However, the mouthfeel was better overall, and it certainly looked the part. The dark chocolate with soya milk made the cake too bitter. 
Cake 2 was very moist and had too little substance to it. Miss B loved it, but all the adults found it too insubstantial and commercial for 'real' cake. Glaze 3 worked a treat, though. Although not overly rich in flavour it added moisture and sweetness to the cake.

Therefore, I am going to bake Cake 1 in two sandwich tins for 22 mins, and use Glaze 3 both between the layers and over the top of the cake.

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