Thursday, 2 April 2015

No Fail Chocolate Cake

So, I've been baking since I was thirteen years old. To me, baking never seemed difficult but rather intriguing instead. It all started with my mum's chocolate cake. I remember everything about the cake. The taste,the smell, the guests it would attract... She had got the recipe from an old Cadburys recipe book. What I loved about it was that my mum always involved me in the preparation of the cake, be it just watching her, licking up the batter bowl or breaking the eggs. I've been hooked ever since. 

Better than the cake was the frosting. It was to die for! I've tried to make it at least a hundred times now but I can never get it to taste like hers.So, this first post is dedicated to my mum. She still doesn't know that she's the reason I got into baking.

The chocolate cake I make now is not exactly the same as her recipe. This recipe never fails me. It's simple and the cake is delicious. It can be eaten plain but I prefer it with ganache. 

One thing I've understood with baking is that the quantity of the ingredients matters. Following a recipe to the 'T' is mandatory (if it's a reliable and tested recipe of course). It's really not difficult. I prefer tasty cakes to fancy looking ones. I focus a lot on the taste than the presentation (which I'm working on now  ;-)). There is a lot of science behind baking, so it's best to follow the recipe exactly.

For the cake -
3 eggs
2 cups powdered caster sugar (can be reduced to 1.5 cups if using sweet cooking chocolate)
2 1/2 cups flour
3/4 cup good quality cocoa
1 cup butter
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp vanilla 
1 cup milk 

For the ganache -
300 gms milk or dark chocolate (cut into pieces) 
200ml cream
2 tablespoons butter 

 For the cake -
 Preheat the oven to about 200 degrees Celsius. Line the baking dish with baking paper.

Cream the butter and sugar till fluffy and light. The butter becomes pale and slightly increases in volume. Add the eggs one at a time. Make sure the eggs are at room temperature for better aeration of the cake.

Sift the dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and egss mixture slowly, while carefully "folding in" the batter. Do not use the whisk once the dry ingredients are added. Use a rubber spatula to fold in the mixture.

Add the vanilla essence and milk accordingly to get the right consistency. What we are looking for is a smooth batter which "tears away" from the spatula when held high. 

Pour the batter into the dish and let it bake in the oven for 45 mins at a temperature of 160 degrees Celsius or till a wooden fork comes out clean when inserted into the center of the cake. Cool the cake on a cooling rack for at least an hour.

For the ganache -
Place the chocolate in a bowl. Heat the cream till it starts to bubble. Pour it over the chocolate and mix. Add the butter (adding butter is optional, but it gives the ganache a good sheen). Mix with a rubber spatula till all the chocolate has melted.

Let it cool down to room temperature. Now, it's ready to use!

I used fresh strawberries and kiwis dipped in glaze for decoration.

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