Archive for: chocolate cake
You never know what you’ll see posted on Facebook or Twitter, but once in a while you find something that really inspires you. The other day I found a recipe that I knew I wanted to try immediately. Rick Bayless posted a recipe for Rustic Chocolate Cake that looked easy and sounded delicious, so I got together the ingredients to give it a try.
The cake is a gluten free cake that is similar to many flourless chocolate cake recipes that I’ve tried. The bulk of the cake is made with chocolate, butter, sugar and eggs – but it also included amaranth flour. Amaranth is a gluten-free grain that is commonly used in Mexican and South American cuisines. Amaranth is high in protein, calcium and fiber, as well as many other vitamins and minerals, and with the growing popularity of gluten free grains, it is easier to find than ever these days. When ground into a flour, amaranth is often included in gluten free flour mixes. It absorbs water easily and can help baked goods to stay nice and moist, although it can lead to dense baked goods if not used in the right recipe.
This particular cake was easy to make and turned out beautifully, although I did find it needed a little extra time in the oven to set up completely. There are only a few ingredients, so the only unusual ingredient you might need to pick up is the amaranth flour (which I just happened to have on hand, by random luck, when I read his post ). It was dense, but not heavy, and had a tender texture that just kind of melted in your mouth. It is very, very moist and that just makes it seem even more decadent than it is. The chocolate flavor was great and the cake wasn’t too sweet – and it was a huge hit with the crowd I served it to.
The crisp crust on the cake will crack a bit as you slice it, so I dusted mine with cocoa powder before serving. It would also be great served with a little whipped cream. If you don’t have amaranth flour, you can bake this cake using other gluten free flour mixes (I tried it with Bob’s Red Mill All Purpose Gluten Free Mix and it turned out beautifully) as well, so it is a great choice for any kind of gluten free baking. It is so good and so decadent, that people will never know that they are eating gluten free when you serve this to them.
There are times when a small piece of chocolate will satisfy a chocolate craving. And there are other times when it takes something big and very chocolatey to satisfy your sweet tooth. This Dark Chocolate Cake with Mocha Frosting is the kind of cake that you want to have on the occasions when you want something that really packs a lot of chocolate flavor in to every bite.
The cake has a strong dark chocolate flavor and is dense and brownie-like, although it has a much more tender, almost crumbly, texture to it when eaten alone. It is made with a generous amount of unsweetened chocolate and cocoa powder, which give it is strong chocolate flavor. It isn’t too sweet and you’ll notice that there isn’t a lot of sugar in the cake itself, but this just helps make the cake a good candidate for a little frosting.
The cake goes perfectly with the frosting, both because the chocolate and mocha flavors work beautifully together and because the frosting provides exactly the right balance of flavor and texture to the cake. The frosting is also made with unsweetened chocolate, as well as instant coffee power (I used Starbucks Via), so it has a strong mocha flavor that matches the strongly-flavored cake well. It’s not too sweet, but is sweet enough to add just the right finishing touch to the dark chocolate cake. It’s always a pleasure to eat a piece of cake that really works well with the frosting!
This cake has a nice height to it, but it is not a towering cake because the layers are relatively thin. If you want to make it taller, bake a second batch of cakes and stack all four together. The recipe can be doubled, but it is a little easier (especially if you don’t have a lot of oven space!) to do one batch at a time. The cake can also be baked in 9-inch pans, instead of 8-inch pans, but the layers will be slightly thinner and you’ll need to check the cakes for doneness a few minutes early to ensure that the cake does not dry out.
This Banana Buttermilk Chocolate Cake is the kind of classic cake that never goes out of style. It’s the kind of cake that you can bring to bake sales or barbecues, and even serve at dressy dinner parties. It is also very easy to make, so it’s the type of recipe that you can keep “in your back pocket” for occasions when you need a cake quickly. In short, it is an all purpose cake recipe and it is absolutely delicious.
Bananas and chocolate share the flavor spotlight in the cake. There are very generous amounts of both mashed banana and cocoa powder in the cake batter, and they contribute to a cake that is extremely moist and has a very tight, tender crumb to it. There are subtle butter and vanilla undertones here, but chocolate and banana are the stars. The cake is very satisfying, but it is not to rich or heavy, so you can eat a generous slice without feeling stuffed, too.
I baked this cake in a 10-inch ring pan, but it can also be baked in a bundt pan. The baking time will be about the same, but don’t forget to grease and flour your bundt pan to ensure that the cake comes out cleanly. You can serve it plain, or top it off with a drizzle of chocolate or cream cheese frosting. You can even turn it into a sundae with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. The cake keeps well for several days when stored in an airtight container, and you can even freeze a few (unfrosted) slices to save for another day.
These Midnight Chocolate Cupcakes are the perfect recipe to make if you’re in the mood for a very dark, chocolate cupcake. They get their name from the fact that they’re almost pitch black in color. They’re based on a much loved Betty Crocker recipe for Black Midnight Cake (which has been in dozens of Betty Crocker cookbooks over the past several decades). The cupcakes deliver as much chocolate as they promise with their dark coloring. They are moist, fluffy and pack a lot of flavor into every single bite.
The recipe has slightly more sugar than many other cupcake recipes, but that sugar helps to keep the cupcakes moist and tender, and also adds much needed sweetness to the very large amount of cocoa powder in the batter. I typically add a small amount of instant coffee to highlight the darker notes of the cocoa powder, but that can be omitted if you prefer not to have a hint of coffee in your cake. The finished cupcakes are not too sweet, even when generously spread with chocolate buttercream frosting.
These cupcakes are also made with shortening, rather than butter. Shortening is also used in the old BC recipe (in my 1950s-era cookbooks) for this type of cake. The shortening, like vegetable oil, helps the cakes to retain moisture and stay fresh and soft for several days after baking. Since it doesn’t add any flavor of it’s own to the cake, unlike butter, the chocolate flavor also seems a little more pronounced than it does in some other recipes. All that said, you can substitute butter back into this recipe with no problems whatsoever and still end up with a great chocolate cupcake.
I topped my cupcakes off with a simple chocolate buttercream and a square of star-spangled chocolate. The buttercream also has a rich chocolate flavor, even if it isn’t as dark in color as the cake. I used a chocolate transfer sheet – a sheet of acetate with a colored cocoa butter design printed on it – to make my starry night garnish. A few chocolate sprinkles would also make a lovely way to finish these off.
When it comes to indulgence, it’s hard to beat a molten-center chocolate cake. Also known as a chocolate lava cake, these individually sized desserts typically have a liquid chocolate center that oozes out of the warm cake like hot fudge when you dig into one with a fork.
These Chocolate Cherry Lava Cakes were inspired by those cherry cordial chocolates that used to be so common in chocolate assortments. I used to love those for the burst of cherry that you would get when you bit into one and the experience is similar here – although I have to say that these are much more delicious than most of those cherry candies were!
Some molten-center chocolate cakes call for underbaking your cake batter to create a soft center. In my version of Molten Center Chocolate Cakes, I make a small ball of chocolate ganache and place it in the center of the unbaked cake. As the cake bakes, that ganache center liquifies and you end up with a completely baked cake with a soft, fudgy center. For this cherry variation, I added a splash of Kirsch (cherry brandy) to the cake batter and added some cherry preserves to the centers of the cake on top of those balls of ganache. The result is a warm cake with a slight cherry aroma and a burst of chocolate and cherry inside. Choose good quality preserves (I used Bonne Maman) that have chunks of fruit in them for the best results.
The finished cakes have a light cherry scent and a burst of chocolate and cherry inside. The Kirsch contributes to the cherry aroma, but you can easily omit it from the recipe without making any other changes if you prefer not to use it (or don’t have it). You can also make variations on this using different types of preserves, so long as you choose a fruit that goes well with chocolate!