Sunday, April 22, 2012

Chocolatey chocolate cake

Just over a week ago, we concluded Mr Bite's birthday celebrations with a birthday dinner with his family. His 'main' birthday cake was reserved for this occasion, and he requested the exact same chocolate cake that I made him last year.

I was delighted that he liked last year's cake enough to want it again. It should, in theory, also be easier to make the same cake one has made before rather than to make a new variety.

The only problem with this is that I rarely make the exact same dish twice. I make a concerted effort to write down measurements when I know I'll be blogging about a recipe or meal, but I don't even follow my own recipes exactly when I re-make them, never mind ones I get from elsewhere. I approximate, substitute, swap, and generally modify things to taste, mood, or circumstance.


Given this, the task of making the exact same birthday cake became a source of some anxiety. I knew the cake recipe had come from Taste.com.au, and I knew I had printed it out and thrown it into carefully stored it in my disorganised recipe drawer. I also knew that I had tried to follow the recipe closely last year, but couldn't remember if that meant exactly or just close to exactly. I also couldn't remember what chocolate I had used in the cake. All in all, I was reminded of why blogging recipes is so useful, and desperately wished that I had blogged about this cake in 2011!

My anxiety about the cake escalated when I couldn't find the recipe print out in my recipe drawer. There were some tense minutes spent sitting on the kitchen floor surrounded by papers, asking myself yet again why I can't organise my non-blogged recipes in a sensible manner.


In the end, I located the print out, made some decisions about chocolate, and dived in. It smelt the same as last year. It looked the same as last year. In the end, I am pleased to say, it was pretty well the same as last year.

The cake is very rich, and Mr Bite compares it to the densest chocolate mud cakes. I am not one for dense chocolate mud cakes and so it is much more his sort of cake than mine - fitting, of course, on his birthday. It is one of life's minor mysteries that I could eat chocolate almost endlessly, but chocolate cake is inevitably either too rich and slightly nauseating, or too dry and just not exciting. This cake is definitely in the former category, so if you like rich and dense and fudgy, this may be a cake for you.


My version of the cake is only slightly adapted from the original Taste.com.au recipe, and so I wouldn't usually re-post it here. However, I am keen to have it safely recorded for next year if it is requested! I also found the recommended cooking time to be too short, both last year and this year, and the original recipe doesn't give recommended chocolate brands or cocoa percentages. I have noted what I used below.

Chocolatey chocolate cake

Rich, chocolatey, and fudgy - a cake for special occasions
Lightly adapted from the classic chocolate cake on Taste.com.au
Makes 1 large round cake

For a printable version, see the original recipe


Ingredients

For the cake
200g good quality dark chocolate - I used 100g of Lindt 70% cocoa and 100g of Cadbury 'premium baking chocolate' 45% cocoa
1 1/3 cups plain flour
2 tbsp good quality cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
225g butter
1 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk

For the ganache icing
150g good-quality dark chocolate - I used 60g Lindt Lindor 60% cocoa and 90g Cadbury 'premium chocolate' melts with 45% cocoa
125ml pure cream
20g butter, margarine or non-dairy spread


Method

For the cake
Preheat the oven to 160'C and grease and line a 24cm or larger round cake tin.

Mix the flour, cocoa, baking powder and baking soda in a medium bowl and set aside.

Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over the stove top, or in the microwave on low power, stirring regularly. Set aside.

Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Add the vanilla and eggs gradually, continuing to beat. Pour in the slightly cooled chocolate and beat well. 

Add ~1/3 of the dry ingredients and ~1/3 of the milk to the butter mixture, and beat until incorporated. Repeat until the dry ingredients and milk have all been added and mixed through. The batter will be almost mousse-like.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake for 58 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. (58 minutes seems very precise, I know. The recommended baking time was 45 - 55 minutes, but my cake was not even close to ready at 45 minutes. It was just set at 58 minutes.)

Cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then allow to cool completely on a wire rack.


For the icing
Melt the chocolate, cream and butter in a heatproof bowl over the stove top, or in the microwave on low power, stirring regularly. 

When melted, stir to combine and then allow to cool at room temperature or in the fridge for 30 minutes or until thick. 

To make chocolate curls, run a sharp knife or a vegetable peeler down the back or edges of a block of chocolate.


Without icing, this cake doesn't look particularly exciting. The icing, in contrast, is thick and creamy, spreads easily, and allows for a smooth and polished finish. I guess that is what cream does! It is certainly an easy cake to decorate.




For comparison, here is last year's version...


And a final shot of this year's...


I think that's as close to 'exactly the same' as I will ever get!

Do you have a 'go to' chocolate cake recipe? And are you a chocolate cake sort of person?

37 comments:

  1. I'm really, really trying hard to find a 'go to' chocolate cake. Mr Chocolate's birthday cake was ok, but amazing no... so maybe I should give your one a go. It certainly looks lovely.
    Am I a chocolate cake person? hell no, I would rather eat 50 other types of sweet things...(errr, but I have been known to suffer for the cause.)

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    1. I'm with you - 50 other things come to mind above chocolate cake :) Still, they are quite fun to make, and I'm always happy to eat the chocolate components before they're baked! I hope you like this if you do try it, amazing chocolate cakes can be a bit elusive.

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  2. I love chocolate cakes and have a few favourite chocolate cake recipes - it is hard because I love so many - but probably favourites are the chocolate mud cake that I have made heaps and also jill dupleix's flourless chocolate cake recipe that gets quite a bit of action. I love the sound of this one - but when I see classic chocolate cake I always think of my mum's which is rather plainer than this and doesn't have chocolate in it - that is what I thought was a classic cake when I was growing up - now I am not so sure!

    I also agree that blogging is great for organising recipe - I find that I tend to see the evolution of recipes in my blog which is quite useful when I am doing tweaking but it does show that it is hard to define what the ultimate recipe is. Though my latest post shows I will keep trying to come up with ultimate recipes. I sometimes tweak things in a moment of fancy in recipes that I blog and when I come back to them find myself either dismissing change I made or wondering why I am following it to the letter when it was just a whim at the time.

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    1. I agree actually, my thoughts of 'classic chocolate cake' are quite different to this recipe! Cocoa rather than chocolate, for a start. I suppose terms evolve over time, and there is a lot of scope for variation in the chocolate cake department.

      I look to your blog as a bit of a hallmark for recipe organisation :-) And organisation in general for that matter, as your latest post shows. It's great looking back and quite fascinating when you branch back a few generations and see how things have changed with cooking more generally. I wonder where we'll be 20 years from now?!

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    2. That is kind of you re my recipe organisation - I always think I could perhaps improve it - though I do love lists and lists of lists :-) But the ANZAC biscuits I made yesterday were from my blog and didn't work this time so now I wonder if I change the recipe on the post or just have to repost about ANZAC biscuits - change is the only certainty, it seems!

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  3. What a delicious looking chocolate cake. And it does look like it's very rich with all that Lindt and Cadbury chocolate. I love chocolate cake and I love it more covered with ganache. What a great birthday gift for your birthday boy! xx

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    1. Thank you! Ganache does have a certain place in my heart - I could almost skip the cake and jump straight to it, except for the likelihood that I would feel rather ill!

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  4. Oh my Lord that cake looks amazing, and really simple to make. :) Hope Mr. Bite had a wonderful birthday! :) Have a great day Kari!

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    1. Thanks Brandi! It is really simple for a cake that presents itself quite well :) They're the best sort of cakes I find!

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  5. Ahhh that looks soooo delicious!!! YUM! :)

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  6. I love chocolate cake and this one sounds great. It's a cute birthday cake.

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  7. that is one perfect looking choc cake! Lucky Mr Bite!

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    1. He did have a good time eating it, that is for sure :P It was a treasured afternoon work snack while it lasted!

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  8. Talking of birthday cake, you might like this Janet Evanovich quote Evanovich quote

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    1. Oh, I do! Very much indeed - thank you Carole. Brilliant quote :)

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  9. This cake looks just amazing!
    Chocolatey chocolate...right up my alley!! :)

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    1. Thanks Kristen. It is a relief to hear that chocolate is part of dietitian's taste preferences :D

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  10. wow there's many types of chocolates used..i love such lovely birthdae cake :)

    Latest: FiSh Castle

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    1. It really does take a lot of chocolate, this cake!

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  11. Isn't it lovely when they ask for something because they like it so much? S has a spreadsheet of his favourite things so that he can get inspiration for requests.

    I have about 3 "go-to" chocolate cake recipes. There is the one I blogged on the weekend that I make as a cake or cupcakes. There is the SUPER rich and flash looking chocolate tia-maria cake and there is the secret family recipe chocolate cake.

    That said, I have to be in the mood for chocolate cake, if given the choice I would usually choose a fruity pie or tart instead.

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    1. I'd take a fruit-based cake too :) Your recent chocolate recipes have looked pretty amazing though (and that secret recipe one has all the more appeal for being secret!). I did laugh so heard at your mention of S's spreadsheet though...suffice to say, our partners may have similarities that match our own :)

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  12. every time a see a beater with that kinda deliciousness loaded on it i want to lick it! :) BOTH versions look amazing! happy bday indeed! :)

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    1. Haha, me too! There is something about batter in that form that appeals to me more than the cooked product!

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  13. This is a gorgeous cake - no wonder Mr Bite wanted it again. I know what you mean about never making the same thing twice - we need something for the blog!

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  14. Oh, holy-yum. Keep this far far away from me. When I'm giving out samples out this one grocery store I'm always near the bakery section. Cupcakes and mountainous cakes dance in my head the whole day.

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    1. They do capture the imagination, don't they? Sometimes in an unhelpful way, it must be said!

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  15. delicious! what a fabulous and festive cake!

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    1. Thank you - it is definitely birthday appropriate!

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  16. Wow, that cake looked amazing! I will eat anything chocolate. I don't hold back. :-)

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  17. This looks crazy dense and chocolatey! Definitely a cake my husband would go for too :)

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  18. Not a mystery at all; that makes perfect sense. Who on earth would prefer chocolate cake to delicious wonderful straight-up chocolate? The poor things. :P

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    1. Teehee, I knew you would understand :D

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