Friday, October 21, 2011

Stunted cake

As often happens in the leadup to a long weekend, we've had a hectic week at work. Hectic enough that I decided we deserved chocolate cake for our Friday morning tea.

Specifically, one-egg chocolate cake (p51), a recipe that has a reputation for being quick, easy and reliable. I hadn't made it before, but I've eaten it, and it's nice. I just had to see if mine would measure up!

I started by melting some butter and golden syrup in a small saucepan. There's no reason why this can't be done in the microwave - in fact, all you're doing is dirtying a pan which is then immediately emptied into a bowl. But anyway, I followed the instructions and used the saucepan.

To the bowl of melted butter and syrup, I then added an egg and some sugar, beating well. Sifted flour, sugar and baking powder followed, which, when folded in, made a very stiff mixture. The final addition is milk with baking soda dissolved in it, along with a few drops of vanilla. You're supposed to fold the milk in, but folding a liquid through a dough thick enough to make biscuits out of is not the easiest.

I ended up stirring, rather than folding. I didn't allow myself to mix as thoroughly as I wanted to, as an overmixed cake will crack across the top. So the mixture I poured into the sponge sandwich tins still had lumps of the original heavy dough throughout. I had to put it in the oven and hope it would all work out in the baking.

20 minutes into the half-hour cooking time, I checked my cakes. Both were going dark on top and were firm enough to bounce back even in the middle, so I decided no further cooking was necessary. I let them sit in the tin for five minutes before taking them out to cool on a rack.

The two halves of my cake were worryingly thin. I had to wonder to what purpose I'd added both baking powder and baking soda, as the cakes had hardly risen at all. Luckily, I'd prepared a nice thick filling to sandwich between the two, which would disguise the thinness of the cake itself.

I'd played around with the mock cream recipe while the cake was baking. It was successful when I used it in a sponge cake, so I decided to try doing a chocolate version. I whipped up softened butter with icing sugar and cocoa until it was thick and fluffy. At the last minute I realised there was supposed to be milk in there too: when I beat it in, it improved the texture of my 'cream' quite a lot.

There was more than enough 'cream' to sandwich the cakes together, so I used half in the centre and half to ice the top. Just the filling would be enough for me, but people have this thing about icing... and anyway, what would I do with the leftovers otherwise?

Even with two thick layers of chocolate filling, my cake looked oddly stunted, like I'd forgotten to put the third layer on. Never mind: I took it to work anyway. No-one seemed to care about the lack of height on the cake, but several people thought the light-coloured icing made it look like coffee cake. There's just no pleasing some people!

Appearance aside, it  actually tasted pretty good. The cake was soft and fluffy - apart from a few thin spots around the edges where it was a little overdone, and the filling made up for the dryness there. It's a pity I didn't think of spreading a little jam on the bottom layer before adding the filling, because that would have been a nice addition.

My one-egg chocolate cake may not have looked quite right, but I came home with an empty plate: evidence enough that it tasted better than it looked!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Popular posts this week