Backing cakes is one of the easiest things you can do in a kitchen and often it is just as fast as shake and back but tastier. However, for quite a while I have struggled with backing chocolate cakes, the flavour have been great by the texture have not been on par. I have for a long while sworn to this (danish) Alletiders mumse CHOKOLADEKAGE recipe when cooking as it got closest to what I wanted, but it was still lacking something.
In this post and following post, I will tack you through my development of my own recipe which is based on the recipe above.
Step 1: The base recipe
Let us start on common ground with the base ingredient list and recipe in English
|All purpose flour||250g|
A few comments on this the Cacao, baking soda, and baking powder is given in table spoon and tea spoons in the original recipe. I have calculated it here in grams based on standard transformation tables, I have from a danish cookbook.
Sift the dry ingredients together and melt the butter. Mix in butter, eggs, and water. Put the mixture in a 23 by 23 cm pan and bake in a preheated oven at 170 on the lowest rack for 35 min by conventional heat. Now the recipe does not call for buttering off the pan so I am assuming the original author wants us to baking paper. Also the author states that the cake is freezer, this is totally true and in my opinion this cake is best served “luke” or cold and not piping hot.
What is wrong with this Recipe?
Nothing! I really love it. Then why the hell do I want to change it? There are a few reasons, I like an airy cake, which I do not think the original recipe provides, it has a very monotone flavour, and I like to mix it up.
So let us get nutty!
Step 2: First prototype
So my thoughts behind the first changes was, what do I want to change. I want a more airy cake and I want to modify the flavour a bit. Also I hate melting butter for cakes, for some random reason, so why not creme it?
Making the cake more airy can be fixed by whipping the whites of the eggs and gently fold them in. This also gives us a bit more control when adding the yolks as we can “creme” them in with the butter.
For the fun of it I add 125g of dark chocolate chips as well.
Changing the flavour, chocolate and cocoa goes well with dark berries and I positively love boysenberries (a Frankenstein berry cultivated by mixing european raspberries, blackberries and American dewberries and logan berries) and jam made from them is pretty readily available in most supermarkets in Denmark. I decided to go with a 100g, without changing other ingredients. Now let us move on to the modified recipe!
In a bowl creme together the sugar and butter until fully combined and white. Separate the egg yolks and whites. Put the whites in a cool bowl (if you have a metal one use that, copper even better) and the yolks in a separate dish. In a separate bowl sift the flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda and baking powder together. Now put one egg yolk into the butter and sugar and one table spoon of the flour mix. Mix until fully combined and then repeat with the next egg yolk. Now mix in the water and the rest of the flour mixture until fully combined. Mix in the chocolate chips. Set a side for a bit while you whip the egg whites to stiff peaks. If you do not have dexterity problems, then there is no reason to use an electrical whisk for this, just learn a proper whisking technique. First fold in half of the egg whites until fully combined. Then gently fold in the other half of the whites. Rub a backing tin or springform pan (I use the latter) with butter and sprinkle with sugar, and gently pour in the mixture. Increase the backing time to 60 minutes.
Comments and things to change
The cake did become more airy due to the whipping of the whites and gently folding them in. The chocolate chips made the cake to rich (which is a thing I never thought I should say). Finally, the test people and I still thought some texture was missing and the boysenberry flavour was not powerful enough.
- The reason the cooking time increases, is due to the add amount of liquid from the jam.
- The amount of jam was to little, the flavour of the boysenberries was not as powerfull as I wanted
- The chocolate chips made the cake to rich
- The reason I sprinkled the form with sugar as well, is because it creates a caramelised outside on the cake. Which gives an extra layer of texture.
- What if we add a marzipan wrapping? This came about due to again thinking the flavour was to monotone.
Step 3: Second prototype and currently newest
So for this bake, I removed the chocolate chip cookies and increased the jam to 300g (an entire glass) and after the bake I rolled out marzipan and wrapped the cake. The rest of the mixing process was the same. We kept the same baking temperature, but increased the baking time to 90 minutes.
Comments and things to change
First of the cake was nice, lovely airy (these cakes never get light), tasted of both chocolate and boysenberry. But a few things, 1) Due to the heavily increased amount of sugar added by both the jam and marzipan, the cake got way to sweet. This needs to be rectified and I will comment on how I wanna try to do this. 2) The marzipan did add a lowly almond flavour (for the love of the gods buy good quality), but the almond flavour was not pronounced enough. 3) Marzipan clearly works best if the cake is served “luke” / cold. I still have a few pieces in my freezer and the once I have tried from there had a much strong marzipan flavour.
Now let us talk about 1) in more detail. I am not sure I want to keep the marzipan, but I do want to keep the jam level. The solution therefore to reduce the sweetness is to reduce the sugar level. So I am thinking about cutting as much as 125 grams of sugar. But this will have to be trial by error as it is very hard to judge.
Next 2) Adding more almond flavour can also help us address 1). So a friend said that some almond cream in between two layers of this cake would be nice. This got me thinking, lots of chocolate cakes use coffee to cut through the riches and sweets of a cake using the bitterness of the coffee. Therefore the next version will feature an espresso cream with Amaretto (Italian Almond liquor).
Finally 3) I am a bit torn here, either I keep the marzipan or I find another way to put in more almond flavour (besides Amaretto). But I do not like chopped almonds inside of cake. I could use essence of almond, but I kind of see that as cheating. So I have to come up with ideas for how to fix this.
This is were this first post drops off, but I will keep you posted as I change the recipe. In the end I will add the final recipe to my recipe collection which you can find on my GitHub page!