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Dee

Chocolate Cake

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Hello!

This is my first post ever and I must start off by saying I LOVE IT HERE! I have learned so much from coming here just as a guest. I feel quite passionate about baking and cakes are my main specialty and it's great to be able to come here to be amongst you all. I hardly feel worthy but I guess it's all about learning and sharing, right?

Anyway, my question is about the Chocolate Blackout cake recipe from Margaret Braun's Cakewalk book. Has anyone tried it? I've been using it for about a year now and everyone who tries it thinks it is fabulous. But, whenever I bake it, or at least 95 % of the time, the middle sinks down, a little at the end of baking and more so after it comes out of the oven. I've just accepted it as is and trimmed off the higher edges but it would be nice if it didn't sink in the first place. Is it something I'm doing or is it the recipe?

Thanks!

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I'm familar with that cake recipe. I was lucky to have a friend point out that there is a problem with the recipe before I struggled making it. I need to look in my recipe file (which isn't near me right now) to give you the exact recipe change. But it's got too much leavening.

I believe it should have been 1 tsp. vs. 1 tbsp. on the soda or B. powder. I'll come back tomarrow and reconfirm that for you.

P.S. Welcome, it's great to have more people participating! Do you bake professionally?...not that it matters really-just curious. What other cakes are you doing alot of?

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That would be great! Hopefully that makes all the difference. I was hoping I wouldn't have to give up that recipe and find a new one because other than that one problem, the cake is perfect.

Thanks for the welcome! I really appreciate your help, not only here but I notice you're one of the people who always seems to have something helpful to say on almost any topic where I've come across your posts. That is so admirable.

Yes, I guess you could say I bake professionally though I'm not a formally trained pastry chef or anything like that. I just sort of fell into the cake business. I started out just decorating cakes and I love pretty much anything to do with desserts or baking... well, food in general really. So, now I've been running a wedding/specialty cake business for almost a year now. I just want to learn as much as I possibly can and perfect my skills. There is still so much to know and I'm learning the hard way I suppose by not having gone to pastry school. I mainly do whole cakes and wedding cakes as opposed to plated desserts. I use recipes and techniques I've learned from The Cake Bible, The Wedding Cake Book, Cakewalk to name a few. Your information on cheesecakes I just came across today which was awesome because just the day before I was working out a recipe to use for a client and the timing just seemed to be perfect. So, there's a bit more info on me... hopefully I wasn't babbling on.

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Sorry it took me so long to return. What I do is 1 tsp. baking soda and 1 tbsp. baking powder in with the dry ingredients. That should solve your problem.

P.S. I didn't go to culinary school either, but your own personal drive will surely make up for that.

Have you thought about taking any classes with a famous decorator? I think I saw that Kerry Vincent is teaching this fall at the French Pastry School. Also do you subscribe to any cake decorating magazines...they list classes, tips and sources for supplies.

I've always done cake decorating with-out anyone "teaching me how". But I breifly worked in a bakery that was owned by a fantastic decorator. I learned several things from her. I also follow a cake decorators web site at an online store (you probably already know who I mean?) and have learned so much about decorating there that I NEVER would have even known existed, etc...

Oh, do you check out everyone sites?? That's always very interesting!

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Thanks for finding that correction. I'm excited to try it out. Too bad I waited so long before asking, though! I noticed in the thread about yellow and white cakes you said you were really happy with the chocolate cupcake recipe in the Martha Stewart Everyday magazine... how would you say it compares to the Chocolate Blackout recipe I've been using. It looks like it wouldn't be quite so dark chocolatey.

No, I haven't attended any classes with any famous decorators yet but I'm extremely eager to. That Kerry Vincent class would be amazing!

I live in B.C. in Canada so I find the opportunities for such classes and especially supplies are quite limited. I will have to plan some trips out there to take these classes and I'm sure when I do they will be well worth the time and money.

I buy every magazine I can get my hands on, especially any wedding magazines with cakes in them as well as the Sugarcraft and Wedding Cake ones from the UK. Are there any others I should know about?

I can spend HOURS looking for new cake sites and getting inspired. I've found cakedecorator.com, but I'm not sure that's the site your talking about. I got a bunch of information there but then it seemed it never got updated after that. I'd love to check out the one at the online store.

Are you a cake designer or baker professionally?

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Dee--I live in BC too. Where do you sell your cakes? :smile:

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Hi, sugarcraft.com is a site that has tools,equipment, etc that have to do with cakes for sale. It belongs to Dolores McCann who owns a store in Ohio. On the site are links to her personal web site that contains recipes, instructions, answers to questions, photos etc. There is also a link to message boards and many other things. I think it is the best site I have seen for cake decorating because it covers everything. You could probably learn a lot there.

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Dee, I think Marthas recipe is better.

I had been using Brauns recipe for awhile. I've lately been getting wedding cake orders where the bride wants one layer of chocolate and one of white cake. Which even though that's nothing new...I just never had those kind of orders. Anyway when I'd taste my cakes I didn't like how heavy the chocolate cake was in comparision to the white. I didn't think they made a good match in the same cake. So then I began using Elizabeths recipe (post here in the recipe section). I liked hers better because it's not quite as dense as Brauns, but it's also not as intense with the chocolate flavor.

Then on a whim I made Martha's for a Halloween party and I really liked hers the best. It's very intensely flavored, yet it has a lighter crumb then others I've tried. The top crust must be trimmed off because it is too dense, but underneath the cake has a nice light crumb. Brauns cake can be too heavy with big air pockets and it really doesn't match up with mousses like I seek (I needed something more versitile). The only things I like with Brauns recipe is buttercream which can match the density.

Do you have all the Austrilain (sp) wedding cake magazines? I enjoy those.

You might enjoy the decorating topics at www.sugarcraft1.com/board/

Most of the people there use cake mixes and are illegally working from their homes........BUT I've learned alot about decorating from them. Everyone is at a different skill level but there are several that are VERY ADVANCED. Including some that have published books on the topic. There are other cake decorator chat boards but none seem quite as active as that one.

I'm a pastry chef who does speciality cakes and wedding cakes as part of my job. My Mother began as a cake decorator out of our house when I was young. She eventually worked as a PC for a caterer and then opened her own bakery. Being the youngest I tagged along. I have artistic abilities so she'd enlist me when she got stuck on something. Before I new it I was decorating wedding cakes...before I knew how to make a grilled cheese sandwich, yet alone a cake.

For cakes sites, some of my faovrites are

www.elegantcheesecakes.com

www.earlenescakes.com

nicholaslodge.com/

www.bluegrassbride.com

www.shavkin.com/links.htm

www.karenscookies.com/links.htm

www.ladycakes.com

www.cake-links.com

www.cakework.com

I always like to follow other cake decorators links-they always know the best places. There's better sites then I've listed but I don't have them book marked. DO you own Dede Wilsons wedding cake book? She has tons on sites posted in the back of her book. I've spent days looking thru them. There are some really amazing sites out there!

You guys, I ADORE B.C.!!! My hubby and I skied up at Whistler/Blackcomb this year for the first time (we're in Chicago suburbs). It's spoiled me-I can hardly feel interested to ski anywhere else. We took a day off to sight see in BC. MY GOD, we just fell in love with that food market under the bridge! That's the coolest foodie place I've ever seen!!!! I wish we had something similar...............I'm so envious!

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I'm definitely going to try Martha's recipe. I was also finding Braun's recipe a bit too dense, but then I mostly use ganaches or buttercreams with that particular cake so it works pretty well. Whenever I'd make a mousse cake, I'd use a chocolate genoise to match the lighter texture.

Sugarcraft.com sounds like it will be full of interesting information and thanks for all the other links. That will be keeping me busy. Elegant Cheesecakes is one of my top favourites too! I love all the bows and ribbons and pearly/satiny finishes.

I do have Dede Wilsons book... I love it! I guess I never looked in the back. I'll have to look for the websites.

I just got the latest Martha Stewart Weddings mag yesterday. Amazing sugar flowers! Also checked out www.wendykromer.com... I didn't know she had a website.

I know the foodie place your talking about, Granville Island! I used to live near there and walk down every weekend. I miss it so much. Vancouver is full of great food places.

Ling, I am in the Okanagan doing cakes from a second kitchen we've built into our house to conform to all the health inspection laws. I'd wanted to do it in Vancouver but the regulations there don't even allow for the possibility. What about you, where are you at?

The Okanagan has great skiing too, by the way!!

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I live in Richmond. :)

I camped for a week in Osoyoos back in late June. The weather was soooo beautiful and hot! I ate pounds of the best cherries everyday. They were so cheap! :biggrin:

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No, I haven't attended any classes with any famous decorators yet but I'm extremely eager to. That Kerry Vincent class would be amazing!

The Kerry Vincent class is starting this week, and although I think there are a few spaces left for the second class this weekend, that probably is too short of notice to make arrangements to get to Chicago. The good news is she's doing it again next year in October. You can see the complete list of upcoming Guest Chef Classes here: http://frenchpastryschool.com/guest.cfm . I notice that Nicholas Lodge is doing a class on wedding cakes & gum paste techniques in April....

By the way, she chatted a bit with our class while we were on a break today. A lovely a incredibly generous woman with lots of good stories. I'm sure you'd like her Wendy :smile:

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Just wanted to thank you, Wendy for the chocolate cake help...

Finally made it again and it turned out perfectly with the correction. I'm so happy! And also, I tried the MS recipe too and found it made perfect cupcakes but still isn't as moist as this one. Moistness, or at least a feeling of moistness is still a big deal to most clients of mine. I had been using a recipe which was velvety and fine-crumbed which I thought was wonderful, but for some reason it was perceived as being dry(it wasn't at all). Go figure. :wacko:

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Good, I'm glad I could pass on that infomation. It's hard finding 1 definitive recipe and sticking to it. Just today we were tasting some of my chocolate cake scraps and.... again for the millionth time I'm wavering on which recipe I like best.

Night-I would love to see her work in person. She is indeed very generous in educating and promoting fine cake decorating. Her show has ALOT of crediblity and she includes pastry chefs like Pfieffer to exhibit where others are intimidated to seek PC's of his level. I predict it will be the creme de la creme of cake shows....newbies are more into her show then ICES. She has very high standards and it's well needed as guidance to others in the industry. She sometimes butts heads with ICES and mini "wars" break out, but I've never seen her be wrong. She's as smart as she is talented.

Usters demos (thru your school) always start the year with with N. Lodge... and for some reason they always are cancelled. Which I find to be a HUGE bummer because I'd love to learn more about gum paste. I hate these long months between demo's!

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