• Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create an account.

Wendy DeBord

Finding the Best Chocolate Cake Recipe (Part 1)

598 posts in this topic

Ok, so my daughter just sprung this on me: she wants to bring cupcakes to school in 2 days for her birthday. Wendy, have you ever done this recipe as cupcakes? I have 36 in the oven as I type this and will start testing for doneness at 20 minutes (still hanging around the 275 mark as close as my oven will let me).

Alongside that is an 8x3 that will serve as a cake topper to my niece's communion cake for this weekend. Same question: have you baked cakes this deep with this recipe?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wendy, Sure, I'll try baking your recipe! I love new things to try. I have been searching for the "perfect" vanilla cake for years! :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a few comments. Technique is very important in making a cake. Letting the mixer run will create tunneling. After adding a hot liquid to a batter with baking soda, it must be put instantly in the oven (Wendy, the hot liquid is to activate your levening). How you add your dry and wet ingredients can toughen the cake. A too hot oven will make your cake dome. Average cocoa will make an average cake. Cheap vegetable oil will make a heavy cake. Low protein flour will make a more tender cake.

This is very similar to what we did in the "Baker's Dozen" group that I belong to. While the book was being made we would all take one recipe and bring in the results. ALL were different. (I can't remember how many differences we had in 1c of brown sugar- it was astounding).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Karen, I was planning on tackling white/vanila cake next. I've yet to find that "perfect" recipe (I've got one thats decent, but not perfect). It's alot more illlusive! I wanted to work out the bugs of how to do this testing and group consenses on line first, before we get into white-which will be alot more technical. Do want to lead/start that testing thread? I think your experience with the bakers dozen would be very valueable to everyone. I'd love to learn more about what you learned in that experience and I'm most curious how we can use that knowledge right now as we're testing? Any advice?

I still want to keep this thread on track. Has anyone else baked my base recipe and if so will you rank it 1-5? Please, only offer up a recipe after you've baked the base recipe and you KNOW that yours IS better. Common you guys we need to find "THE BEST", I'd love to find a recipe better then what I posted, if you've got it please anti-up?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, I baked up Wendy's recipe yesterday morning. Actually, I baked two half batches as I wanted to test a different mixing method. Here are the notes:

First batch made following the recipe and directions as closely as possible:

- cocoa: Hershie's non-dutched

- butter: Plugra

- hot water instead of coffee

- measured using cups and spoons

- the finished batter was creamy, but liquid enough to pour

- used 1 8"x2" round aluminum pan, no spray or butter, just round of parchment on bottom

- baked at 300 F (though I lost my oven thermometer, so I can't verify, and this is the first thing I've baked in the unfamiliar oven in my new apartment)

- took 55 minutes to fully bake, so I think my oven runs a bit cool

- the cake actualy rose quite a bit (about 1/3 the height of batter) and was almost too much batter for the pan

- top was domed a bit and cracked, but leveled some as is cooled.

- let cool exactly 5 minutes before unmolding and wrapping in plastic

- when cool, I cut the cake in two and froze half

Second batch exactly the same as the first, but using mixing method similar to Rose Levy Berenbaum's in "The Cake Bible"

- mix cocoa with boiling water and let cool

- mix 1/4 cocoa mixture with eggs and vanilla

- put all dry ingredients in bowl of mixer and add butter, oil, and buttermilk

- mix for a couple minutes to develop structure

- add egg mixture

- This batter was a bit thicker than the first batch

- didn't rise and much in the oven and the finished cake texture was much more dense and fudgy

- greatly preferred first cake following recipe

- I baked a little bit of this batter in some silicone mini savarin molds that I was using previously to test chocolate cake recipes (I was looking for one that was moist and would hold the shape of the pan well). This recipe came out the prettier by far than the ones I tried before.

Tasting notes:

Very moist with soft, fine, but still open crumb. Lighter and "spongier" than fudgy. Good dark chocolate flavor and not too sweet (most likely even better with a higher grade of cocoa and a little bit of espresso powder). Far superior to any mix cake I've had. Tends to crumb a bit when cut, but would perform better frosted, I'm sure. Like I said, half of the cake was frozen overnight. After defrosting this morning I honestly could detect no difference in texture or flavor from the half that sat at room temp.

Overall I'd give this cake a 4.5, since I still think there might be room for improvement in the texture - I would like a cake with slightly more structure and less crumby.

I just baked up a test of my previous favorite recipe - the chocolate fudge cake from the "Cake Bible" - so when that cools I'll be able to say if this recipe is superior.


Edited by nightscotsman (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hey Wendy....can you try out the cake I posted from the Cake Bible? see how it compares to the Woolley cake? It's posted above, and I also put it in RecipeGullet.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The next several days will be pretty intense for me at work- Preparing for my second Mothers Day at the second club.....so I won't be able to test out the RLB recipe until later. Hopefully Neil will cover that.

Whats your opinion Lorea?

I know I'll get boo's and hisses.........but I've not warmed up to most of RLB'S recipes (WITH A FEW EXCEPTIONS!). I think she's a genious scientist, don't get me wrong-I wish I had her talents!.....but I only have 1 recipe from her I use regularly.

Also it's time for anyone who thinks that their opinion or skills aren't as good as some of us that make a living baking-STOP IT RIGHT NOW! We are all equals in this testing journey, we all have valuable opinions and insights! Some of the best baking recipes aren't published in professional pastry books and I've tasted some lousy pastries from people that called themselves professionals.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know I'll get boo's and hisses.........but I've not warmed up to most of RLB'S recipes (WITH A FEW EXCEPTIONS!). I think she's a genious scientist, don't get me wrong-I wish I had her talents!.....but I only have 1 recipe from her I use regularly.

Also it's time for anyone who thinks that their opinion or skills aren't as good as some of us that make a living baking-STOP IT RIGHT NOW! We are all equals in this testing journey, we all have valuable opinions and insights! Some of the best baking recipes aren't published in professional pastry books and I've tasted some lousy pastries from people that called themselves professionals.

DITTO on the RLB comment.

And, about the second, thanks, Wendy. I, for one, needed that. In fact, it's taken me a loooooong time to gather up courage to post here.

I'll try the recipe again tomorrow; this time with the right raising agent!!


TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Oh my gosh..............if theres anyone else lirking and not posting, PLEASE please please don't be shy! We are all at different levels, even among the people that are pro's, seriously- everyone is welcome to join in to ANY conversation/thread!

More then once I've cut into a thread I didn't understand to ask for help following along. They've always stopped and explained with-out making me feel dumb.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Wendy, I'm hoping to make the cake tonight and will report back. I'm looking forward to it.

Just a note, for when you get to the white cake, I've found that by subbing cornstarch for about 1/4 of the flour you get a much better texture.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Incidendtally, this cake makes THE BEST cupcakes. And I think I finally got my IMBC method down last night. My wife liked the combo and she's my toughest critic. I think I'll try a white chocolate IMBC next. On the sheet cake test, I also tried out a white chocolate whipped cream frosting that really surprised me when matched to this. Tasting the frosting alone seemed too heavy on the white chocolate (used RLB's recipe) but when on top of the cake, somehow that white chocolate overkill was wiped out. Nice, but I don't think it would be sturdy enough for the real cake I'll be making this weekend.

Perfect timing on the thread! And I'll also throw my 2¢ in about non-pros posting: since I'm not a pro, how else would I learn everything?! This place is so newbie/non-pro friendly. If you want to be afraid, try posting on a webmaster forum! They can be down right mean.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

IMBC? :huh:

OK, in a side by side tasting with Rose Levy Berenbaum's chocolate fudge cake against Wendy's fudge brownie cake, it's Wendy's on every count: taste, texture, and moistness. I will try the "All American Chocolate Butter Cake" from the Cake Bible sometime in the next week, but I'll be very surprised if it's better than this recipe.

I've got a new favorite chocolate cake - thanks Wendy! :smile:

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just a note, for when you get to the white cake, I've found that by subbing cornstarch for about 1/4 of the flour you get a much better texture.

For the flour, would that be AP Flour or Cake Flour, because the white cake recipe I use asks for cake flour, and I understand there's already cornstarch in it?

This place is so newbie/non-pro friendly. If you want to be afraid, try posting on a webmaster forum! They can be down right mean.

You can say that again! Came across that site while I was working on developing mine. Shudder, shudder.


TPcal!

Food Pix (plus others)

Please take pictures of all the food you get to try (and if you can, the food at the next tables)............................Dejah

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just want to say something quickly. It's not MY recipe at all, it's Scott Wooley Clarks completely (and by the way his whole book is excellent on gum paste and decorating PLUS even though I've yet to try them I've read good things about his other recipes). I found out about this recipe from someone else on line who shared the tip of this good recipe to me. This is the coolest thing about the net, sharing info.!!! You find people that you trust online and network with them.....you always get back more then you give.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Damn. No I suppose I have to admit I'm lurking over here ;)

I just always like to get the lay of the land before I make a fool of myself. So I do appreciate you're making me feel welcome here, Wendy (and all!)

And the chocolate cakes are cooling on my countertop as I write this. The smell is heavenly. And I'm actually very impressed with the way they look. I know doming and cracking was noted as a potential downful, but both of mine turned out almost perfectly level.........slight cracks, but nothing monumental.

Made one 10" round and one 7x11 rectangle. Will give y'all the taste-testing results tomorrow! (of course, I have to admit it's more than likely there will at least be a corner missing from one by then ...who cares if it's still warm?;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OK, here's my report. This is a fabulous cake. It came out beautifully, no doming or cracking, with a delectable, moist crumb. It's a bit on the delicate side. I wouldn't want to try to split it without partially freezing it first, but for eating purposes the texture is perfect.

There is some room for improvement in the flavor, though I'm pretty certain this is an effect of the cocoa powder I used. The cocoa is a German brand that my in-laws bring me when they visit. It's nice and rich, and even though it's NOT dutched, lacks the bitterness that many natural cocoa has. Well, usually lacks the bitterness. In this cake it did come out rather bitter. I think either a dutched or a lighter natural cocoa powder would have worked better.

Final report: texture 5, flavor 3.

It's so hard for me to envision the perfect chocolate cake, though, because there are so many types. For it's class, an ultra dark, moist cake, I don't think this recipe can be improved upon. However, there are some applications where I don't want such an assertive cake. For those occasions I'll still go with Mary Bergen's recipe. Yes, technically it's a chiffon, but it's texture is much more versatile than your average chiffon cake.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wendy, I made this delicious cake last night. It has a deep chocolate flavor and is dense but delicate. Two outstanding characteristics: it is not too sweet and the butter/oil combination provides flavor plus moistness. Took not quite 45 min at 300° and domed slightly but flattened.

I made the recipe as posted with hot water, using GM AP flour, King Arthur natural cocoa (Merckens), liquid buttermilk, not dry and LOL unsalted butter, not ultra.

My only change was to cool one layer in the pan before freezing. I just couldn’t put a hot cake in plastic wrap. I left the second layer out for a later comparison. That’s not quite true, we had forks at the ready for a piece. I whipped cream left from making ganache and both were perfect with it. Later today I will compare the freezer layer with what’s left of the one left out.

Future modification. I would use Dutch processed cocoa for a bit smoother taste.

P. S. home baker, not a pro.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Samaki, at one time used to make that chiffon cake as my all purpose chocolate cake. But it was too dense and sunken, it's density didn't work well in tortes or sheet cake form. Your correction on that going down to 1/2 c. oil makes it identical to how she does it in a cake roll, right? Well, that makes alot of sense because I liked this cake recipe in a roll, but not baked in round pans...........when I was doing the 3/4 c. oil.

So thats a good tip! I would definately need to do a side by side taste of these two Clarks and Bergens.....my gut tells me a cross between the two would be perfect. If we could have the crumb of Clarks and the richness of Bergens it would be ideal.

I have to run to work now........but maybe we should disuss how to combine both?

P.S. Jan, I'm glad you desided to post! Welcome!! Anyone else hiding, come on out and join us.


Edited by Sinclair (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
... because the white cake recipe I use asks for cake flour, and I understand there's already cornstarch in it?

AP flour with cornstarch would be a substitution for cake flour. Actual cake flour is milled from soft wheat and naturally lower in protein.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
... because the white cake recipe I use asks for cake flour, and I understand there's already cornstarch in it?

AP flour with cornstarch would be a substitution for cake flour. Actual cake flour is milled from soft wheat and naturally lower in protein.

Yes, it is. In my attempts to make a more tender white cake, though, I've actually subbed cornstarch for cake flour.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok ..had the taste testing of the Fudge Brownie Cake.

I tend to shy away from chocolate cakes that use only cocoa powder. They just don't seem to be as good as the ones made with melted chocolate. That being said, I decided to put aside that notion and expand my horizons ..and was pleasantly surprised. On the 1-5 scale, I think I would give this one a "4". I used a combination of Ghiradelli Cocoa and Scharfen-Berger. Nice crumb and decent flavor. But as others have noted, it does seem a little delicate to slice and fill.

So ....I know we're probably got too many recipes out here, but I'm going to give you my favorite. I made it again last night so I could do a side-by-side comparison, and I still like this one better.

The recipe was originally my Mom's and I have no idea where she got it from. I've played with a bit over the years and made a couple more modifications last night when I baked it. Based on the Fudge Brownie Cake recipe, I decided to try lowering the oven temp to see what that would do ..and I do think it makes for a better crumb, strange as it seems. So anyway ...here's the recipe as I last made it. If anybody tries this, let me know what you think :)

Feathery Fudge Cake

1 cup butter, softened

2 cups sugar

3 eggs

2 tsp vanilla

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

3 1/2 cups cake flour

2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

2 cups ice water

1 Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2 Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Blend in cooled chocolate.

3 Sift together the flour, soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture alternately with ice water, beginning and ending with flour.

4. Pour into pans and bake at 325 degrees until done.

(this will make enough for 2 -10" cakes. I did one 10"x3" and then one 8" square. Square took about 30 minutes, 10" round took about 45-50 minutes)


Edited by JanKK (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Great JanKK! That's the whole point, finding the best.......we needed someone to offer up a tested recipe they believe is better. O.k. testers time to check out JanKK's recipe.

Anyone else have a TRIED recipe they can offer up thats better then the Wooley recipe?

Also, if we could post photos of our work I think that would be very helpful as we compare.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Part II – Wendy, I thawed the second layer to compare with the first layer (not frozen).

Even though it was wrapped and frozen when slightly warm not hot (as noted in first report) the technique does result in a slightly fudgier texture. However the original layer baked Friday night was still moist on Sun night. Even unfrosted it didn’t dry out (ganache was kept separate). Following your instructions, I was careful not to bake it a second too long so perhaps this accounts for it remaining moist.

In all a first rate cake, I’d give it a 4.5. Thanks for starting this experiment.

The name is a bit misleading as is a definitely a cake not a brownie.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.

  • Similar Content

    • By Panaderia Canadiense
      Hi all! I'm trying to perfect my lemon bar recipe, which is from my grandmother's Purity cookbook with all sorts of notations and changes she made. It's perfect in terms of flavour and the pâté sucree base works exactly as it should, but the topping is coming out too fluid.
       
      The topping is 3C sugar, 1/4C lemon juice, the zest off of those lemons, 1tsp baking powder, 6 eggs and 2C coconut.
       
      What can I do to firm it up a bit, so that it stays put once I cut the bars? Would cornstarch or tapioca flour do it?
       

    • By Daily Gullet Staff
      by David Ross

      I was pushing my shopping cart through the aisles of Yoke’s Supermarket on a recent “Fresh Friday,” when a spritely-sounding young woman announced over the public address system, “Attention shoppers, attention shoppers, two minutes until the next Cakewalk, two minutes.” Frozen with suspense and the anticipation of winning one of Yoke’s chocolate crème de menthe cakes, I stood pat on the number 36 yellow flower pasted on the floor in front of me. I wasn’t going to budge off that number 36 -- I wanted a cake. While I waited to hear my number called, I was overcome with a sense of nervous anxiety --the same emotion I had felt as a young boy waiting to win a cake when I was seven years old. I wondered why a boyhood fascination with winning a cake still left me with such a deep, lasting hunger some 47 years after I first danced a Cakewalk.

      What was it that tugged at my heart, telling me to delve deeper into the meaning of the Cakewalk? Why did I sense that there was an underlying truth I hadn’t discovered as a child? The only way I could unveil the mystique behind my relationship with this odd little dance to win a cake would lie in retracing the footsteps of my childhood, setting forth on a quest to discover the history of the Cakewalk.

      + + +
      We moved to Salem, Oregon from The Dalles, in the Summer of 1964, when my Father, Edgar Ross, accepted a position at the Oregon Department of Agriculture in the Commodity Commissions Bureau. My parents settled on a ranch-style, three-bedroom home on the corner of Ward Drive and 46th Avenue in the new community of “Jan Ree” Gardens. Our lot was bordered by new homes on two sides and to the East was a field of Blue Lake bush beans that would soon be consumed by the encroaching development. Mother and Father shared a few details about our new home. It had a second bathroom, a wood-paneled living room and an unfinished family room that my father promised would have a metal wood stove. But they kept one little secret from my sister and me until we were a block from our final destination on the day we drove to Salem -- our new house was next door to the grade school. I didn’t know whether to feel good or sick at the thought of living next door to the school where I would spend the next five years.

      Hayesville Elementary School was typical of the architecture of grade schools built in the early 1960’s-an L-shaped, non-descript building painted in drab green and grey. The assembly room, cafeteria and administrative offices anchored the building with the classrooms jutting out from the principal’s office. I started the school year in Mrs. Rhonda Sample’s second grade class. She was young, blond and attractive, totally unlike the spinster vision I had of the teacher that awaited me at my new school. The highlight of the school year was the annual “Open House at Hayesville.” Students showcased their talents, dazzling parents with displays of frogs and snakes in aquariums, samples of cursive writing on paper chains hung over the blackboard and paper mache busts of historic American figures like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington. Mothers and fathers could take a tour of the gleaming, stainless steel kitchen where Mrs. Fox prepared our hot lunches each day-warm, billowing cinnamon rolls dripping with powdered sugar frosting and her buttery, oven-fried chicken. But the most anticipated event of Open House at Hayesville was the annual Cakewalk Raffle -- a silly fun dance around the classroom. The winner won a cake and the proceeds went to fund other activities at school.

      We cut footprints out of colored construction paper and pasted them in a large circle on the spotless, pink vinyl-tiled floor. Each “foot” was given a number from one to twenty. Red, white and blue streamers were tacked on the outer walls and then brought to the center of the ceiling to define the center point of the cakewalk circle. When the room was ready, Mrs. Sample turned on the lights and opened the door, welcoming a parade of Mother’s who pranced into the room carrying Tupperware cake caddies, Pyrex baking dishes, glass cake domes and disposable aluminum trays coddling their precious cake creations.

      Three long tables were placed against the wall and covered with proper linen tablecloths. The tables served as the stage upon which the cakes would strut their stuff. The chorus line of cakes went on and on through the annals of cakedom-Chiffon, Angel Food, Devils Food, Sponge Cake, Pound Cake, Marble Cakes, Chocolate Torts and Jelly Rolls. There were cakes garnished with coconut, dusted with nonpareils, frosted with peanut butter, sprinkled with peppermints, and dotted with spiced gum drops. I entered the Cakewalk over and over until I won, seemingly always at the end of the evening when very few of the best cakes were left on the table. While Mother’s “Burnt Sugar Cake with 7-Minute Frosting” was good, it would be a total embarrassment in front of ones classmates for a kid to choose the cake made by his mother. No, should I win the Cakewalk and should it still be available, I would choose the Spiced Praline Crunch Cake made by Bernie Bennett’s Mother.

      The historical importance of the Cakewalk wasn’t a part of Mrs. Sample’s second-grade curriculum at Hayesville in 1964. Living in the Pacific Northwest, we were insulated from the racial struggles of the South at that time. I was a young white boy in a middle-class American family. I led the colorful life of a kid, yet I lived in a country that saw only shades of black and white.

      Only three years before my second grade, in the Spring of 1961 the Freedom Riders set out on a campaign to test the Supreme Court Ruling that upheld the segregation of blacks and whites at bus depots, waiting rooms, lunch counters and restrooms throughout the South. The Freedom Riders were met with ignorance and violence. African-Americans couldn’t drink from the same water fountain I drank from. I never knew.
      + + + The Cakewalk played an important role in the history of America -- a long-forgotten chapter that tells the story of the struggles forced upon the enslaved, who in spite of their burdens rose above the oppression of race and found a new form of the expression of freedom.

      The seeds of the Cakewalk were sown in the segregated deep South sometime around 1850, as a parody of the way plantation owners escorted their ladies into a formal ball. The women wore long, ruffled dresses of silk and glass beads with long, white gloves that reached above the elbow. The gentlemen were outfitted with top hats and tail coats. Couples pranced and paraded into lavishly decorated ballrooms, arm-in-arm in high-stepping fashion, marching into the center of the party, often to the music played by a banjo-strumming fiddler who worked in the fields.

      The winner of the dance contest sometimes won a cake presented by the master of the house, leading many to think this is where the name the “Cakewalk” comes from.

      African-American slaves who watched the proceedings took the dance on as their own in the yards outside their shacks, mocking what they saw as the frivolous customs of the plantation owners. According to the oral histories of slaves and their descendants, the Cakewalk was a marriage of traditional African tribal dances and rhythms combined with the dance steps of the upper classes. When the land barons and ladies saw the slaves dance, they missed the satirical element entirely, but the popularity of the Cakewalk had been established among the elite and it now transcended the boundaries of class.

      Wealthy farmers went on to sponsor competitions between plantations and the dance moved to large cities in the South and then to the East where it became a staple of traveling minstrel shows and ultimately to Vaudeville, the lights of Broadway and throughout Europe.

      On January 1, 1863, President Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation with these humble words, “all persons held as slaves within any State or designated part of a State, the people whereof shall then be in rebellion against the United States, shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.” Inspired by the renewed freedom gifted to them through Emancipation, a freedom that allowed them to express themselves openly through dance and music, African-Americans led a creative revival that would usher in new forms of dance and music that had never before been seen or heard. The artistic contributions of former slaves and their descendants would forever change the creative landscape in America.


      From this humble beginning in the sweltering, humid heat and back-breaking work of picking cotton, African-American artists penned the notes of a new from of music called ragtime that would eventually evolve into jazz. It was the Cakewalk, unintentionally and ironically, that crossed the bounds of race and class status as it burst into the popular consciousness of America By the 1890’s, African-American actors, dancers and musicians had started forming their own production companies and staged versions of the Cakewalk became all the rage.

      Scott Joplin, (1867-1917), was an early musical pioneer of the Cakewalk style of music. Known as the “King of Ragtime,” Joplin wrote and performed in the style of rag—a combination of dance and marching music entwined with the “ragged” rhythms and soul of African music. One of Joplin’s most famous pieces was “The Ragtime Dance,” (published in 1902), that included a Cakewalk:

      “Turn left and do the “Cakewalk Prance, Turn the other way and do the “Slow drag, Now take your lady to the World’s Fair and do the ragtime dance. Cakewalk soft and sweetly, be sure your steps done neatly.”

      The vaudeville team of Mr. Egbert Williams and Mr. George Walker were two of the first African-Americans to take their musical show on the road in a grand scale. Crowds packed into The New York theatre in 1903 for 53 stunning performances of song and Cakewalk dances in William’s and Walker’s new production “In Dahomey” -- the first all-black musical to be performed on a grand scale in a major Broadway venue. After its raging success in America, “In Dahomey” crossed the Atlantic, performing for seven months of standing-room-only audiences at the Shaftesbury Theatre in London before returning to New York.

      By the turn of the century, Americans were moving off farms and into towns and cities in record numbers. Ragtime music transformed into a new genre called “Jazz,” with emerging talents like Jelly Roll Morton, Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington playing at the Cotton Club in New York.

      By 1930, the public fascination with dance theatre began to fade as America was lured by the intrigue of other forms of entertainment like talking motion pictures. But the early concepts and the heritage established by the Cakewalk endured throughout the twentieth century and into the 21st, namely, as a contest to raise money at church socials and school functions. The Cakewalk also delivered new words into the American vocabulary-“take the cake,” and “it’s a real cakewalk,” are terms used to refer to something that is “the best,” or a job easily done. Cakewalk software is a cutting-edge firm today that produces award-winning digital audio and recording software to the music industry.

      + + +
      I’m nearing my 54th birthday in November, some 46 years removed from my second-grade class. I had been lost until that Cakewalk at Yoke’s, yet now I’m found. I’ve learned a lesson in respect through the Cakewalk -- a lesson that taught me how emancipation allowed the enslaved to express themselves through music and dance. A lesson that freedom is an unalienable right bestowed upon all Americans. I’ve gained a deep appreciation for the place that this little ditty we call the Cakewalk plays in the history of America, opening our eyes to a world that was color blind.

      I found my personal truth in the Cakewalk -- a truth far richer and deeper than the dreams of a boy winning a cake.

      * * *
      David Ross lives in Spokane, but works a one-hour plane ride away. When he's not tending to his day job -- or commuting -- he writes about food and reviews restaurants. He is on the eGullet Society hosting team.
    • By pastrygirl
      Do you ever end up with ganache that reminds you of extra-heavy mayo?  I was winging it today, testing batches that set up ok but grainy, then weirldy flexible. The 60% i usually use is 39% cocoa butter, but in this batch I used 72%, which is 45% fat.  I also made some other changes but was trying to keep a similar ratio of liquid to chocolate.  The 72% ganache is far thicker than the 60% ever is - it probably needs more cream or a splash of booze, right?  Arg, I should know this!
       
      I got annoyed and left the slab out to do whatever it will overnight - cross your fingers that it is either use-able or save-able tomorrow!
    • By JohnT
      I have been asked to make Chinese Bow Tie desserts for a function. However, I have never made them, but using Mr Google, there are a number of different recipes out there. Does anybody have a decent recipe which is tried and tested? - these are for deep-fried pastry which are then soaked in sugar syrup.
    • By shain
      Makes 40 cookies, 2 loaves. 
       
      50-60 g very aromatic olive oil
      80 g honey 
      120 to 150 g sugar (I use 120 because I like it only gently sweet) 
      2 eggs
      2 teaspoons of fine lemon zest, from apx 1 lemon 
      230 g flour 
      1 teaspoon salt 
      1 teaspoon baking powder 
      75 g lightly toasted peeled pistachios
      50 g lightly toasted almonds (you can replace some with pine nuts) 
      Optional: a little rosemary or anise seed
      Optional: more olive oil for brushing
       
      Heat oven to 170 deg C.
      In mixer (or by hand), mix oil, honey, sugar, lemon, egg and if desired, the optional spices - until uniform. 
      Separately mix together the flour, salt and baking powder. 
      Add flour mixture to mixer bowel with liquids and fold until uniform. Dough will be sticky and quite stiff. Don't knead or over mix. 
      Add nuts and fold until well dispersed. 
      On a parchment lined baking tray, create two even loaves of dough. 
      With moist hands, shape each to be rectangular and somewhat flat - apx 2cm heigh, 6cm wide and 25cm long. 
      Bake 25 to 30 minutes until golden and baked throughout, yet somewhat soft and sliceable. Rotate pan if needed for even baking. 
      Remove from tray and let chill slightly or completely. 
      Using a sharp serrated knife, gently slice to thin 1/2 cm thick cookies. Each loaf should yield 20 slices. 
      Lay slices on tray and bake for 10 minutes. Flip and bake for another 10-15 minutes until complelty dry and lightly golden. 
      Brush with extra olive oil, if desired. This will and more olive flavor. 
      Let chill completely before removing from tray. 
      Cookies keep well in a closed container and are best served with desert wines or herbal tea. 
       
        
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.