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Finding the Best Chocolate Cake Recipe (Part 1)


Wendy DeBord
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Baking powder and baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) are both chemical leaveners, which means they are alkalis that react with acids to make carbon dioxide. The main difference is that baking soda is just the alkali part, and baking powder is baking soda with an acid (cream of tartar) together. So baking soda needs an acid ingredient to react (like chocolate, cocoa, brown sugar, fruit puree, buttermilk) while baking powder does not -- it reacts when it gets wet, and in the presence of heat... (to see this in action, add baking soda to vinegar or lemon juice, and add baking powder to a clear alcohol like vodka.)

When you can taste the baking soda, usually there is too much (sort of a metallic, soapy taste) or not enough acid to make it react fully. If you can taste it with baking powder, there is either too much or the cake might be underbaked. Sometimes you also get that taste if the baking powder/soda is not evenly mixed with the flour.

I find that among brands of baking powder, some have a more metallic smell than others; I use Rumford, not ones with sodium aluminium sulfate (SAS).

My new favorite chocolate layer cake recipe is the one in a recent Cook's Illustrated; it is a bit complicated, because it uses a cooked cocoa/unsweetened choc mixture and the foaming method with butter added, and generates a lot of dishes, but the texture is velvety-fine and the flavor deep and rich. It also keeps very well at room temperature, not drying out like many others.

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Reeni , thank you so much for the explanation.

I will keep trying my hands on cakes and pay more attention to the steps I make and the results with both baking soda and baking powder.

I have just purchased a copy of the CI book the best recipe classic,I believe the recepie you are talking about should be found in there right? I hope so , I want to try it as well .

Um now that I am reading the recipe in the book it doesnt seems the same cake , as this one doesnt seems too complicated just regular steps , so I immagine they have come up with something different in a recent magazine :sad: It said Old fashioned chocolate layer cake

Edited by Desiderio (log)

Vanessa

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It's good, she says, her mouth filled with chocolate cake. Moist, very chocolatey.

Vanessa, this recipe doesn't seem to crumble very much. I made Very Large Cupcakes with the extra batter using my mini pie pans, and they unmoulded very cleanly. Doesn't seem to crumble when I bite into them either. But I've not sliced the big one yet, and I won't be, since I'm sending it off to the aunties and uncles. I'll bake another one this weekend and will let you know here, unless you can't resist and decide to bake another chocolate cake.

May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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Hehe yeah , my husband is suspecting that I have decide to either killing him or just making him fat :laugh: .But you can always find people that eat my experiment right :rolleyes: , expecially at work , thats the only thing they do is eat!

Thank you for reporting back the result .

Vanessa

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Glad to help. Sorry, I should clarify that the Cook's Illustrated recipe I like is the one discussed previously in this thread, referred to as the "CI cake"-- it is new as of spring this year I think? So it might not be in the Classic Best Recipe book. I use muscovado sugar and watch timing carefully. The thing I like the best about it is the chocolate/cocoa/sugar mix which makes sooo much sense, especially the sugar part. The magazine article explains it the best.

Just to compare, I'm going to try the Double (triple?)Chocolate Cake too.

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Glad to help. Sorry, I should clarify that the Cook's Illustrated recipe I like is the one discussed previously in this thread, referred to as the "CI cake"-- it is new as of spring this year I think? So it might not be in the Classic Best Recipe book. I use muscovado sugar and watch timing carefully. The thing I like the best about it is the chocolate/cocoa/sugar mix which makes sooo much sense, especially the sugar part. The magazine article explains it the best.

Just to compare, I'm going to try the Double (triple?)Chocolate Cake too.

I am trying to read this thread back and fort and I still get dizzy :wacko: .I mean I printed like 5 recipe ,and I still dont get wich one is the original CI, anyway I found something online ,is the one you are talking about one on the bottom of this page?

http://chocolateincontext.blogspot.com/200...-chocolate.html

Tha old fashioned chocolate layer cake?Hehe way to get crazy around cakes here :blink:

Edited by Desiderio (log)

Vanessa

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Ok I baked the ..umm I believe is one of the double chocolate cake , I did everything as described , and the cake raised very fast and alot in the oven ( 300 ), I know I had lots of batter so I baked 2 9 inch ( they are about 1 1/2 deep )and couple of tray of cupcake , but still the batter managed to get out of the pan ( of both ),the look isnt too good, it look greasy some how,and its irregular in the middle, I dont know probably , since I am new at this kind of cake I might have made a mistake , the taste seems good so far but the texture its a disaster very very crumbly and bigger holes that the Wooley one.Umm iam wondering what went wrong,I am thinking of lowering the baking soda as Whitetrufflegirl had mentioned earlier, but this cake had some many changes that is quite a challenge to follow it :wacko:

Got to try again ( ahh what I am gonna do with all this cake :shock:

Edited by Desiderio (log)

Vanessa

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This is my first post (thanks AndieSenji for inviting me here). I'd like to share my chocolate cake recipe which I found at the back of a Hershey's cocoa can. It uses hot water and oil (no butter) and I have made it several times (due to requests and raves from family and friends).

Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Cake

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Cake-2.jpg

Ingredients:

2 cups sugar 2 eggs

1 & 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 1 cup milk

3/4 cup Hershey's Cocoa powder 1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 & 1/2 tsp. baking powder 1 cup boiling water

1 & 1/2 tsp. baking soda 2 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. In another bowl combine eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on med. speed 2 minutes. Pour wet mix into dry ingredients bowl and blend until well mixed. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin).

2. Pour into pans and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes, remove from pan to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with chocolate frosting or any favorite frosting flavor.

Chocolate Frosting

1 stick butter or margerine

2/3 cup Hershey's cocoa

3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup milk

1 tsp. vanilla extract

Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Beat on medium speed with mixer and alternately add powdered sugar and milk. Beat unting spreading consistency. Add more milk. Stir in vanilla. Makes about 2 cups of frosting.

Doddie aka Domestic Goddess

"Nobody loves pork more than a Filipino"

eGFoodblog: Adobo and Fried Chicken in Korea

The dark side... my own blog: A Box of Jalapenos

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Vanessa, it's okay to kill people with chocolate because they'll die happy.

Can you give me the link to the recipe you tried? I didn't have that problem, and I tweaked it a bit--I used yogurt, not sourcream or buttermilk.

May , hehe i passed like last 15 minuts try to find the linbk , I actually printed up las night at work and I couldnt find it :raz:

this is it

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=41144&st=240

is the one Chefpeon posted , its about the same as the update egullet version of the double chocolate cake.

I am sure I did something wrong , I mean now looking at it isnt too bad .I am examining the cupcakes ,the tope i very vet , they did spred a lot in the oven since the batter did raise a lot ( maybe next either lower the levaner or cut one egg ),the inside has a larger crumb than the one I made till now ( wooley )and if you had to filled it would be a trouble I believe, the taste is fine since I dont detect the strong smell and flavor of the baking soda as the Wooley one.By the way when they say brewed coffe I think they mean american brewed coffe , because I used the italian one made with my mocha and wow it tastes almost like a coffe cake :rolleyes:

ANother note to my self , next time use a shallower pan maybe this kind of formula bake much better in a deeper pan .?

gallery_44494_2801_71811.jpg

gallery_44494_2801_29651.jpg

gallery_44494_2801_49601.jpg

This one is the fudge brownie cake posted at the beginning of this thread .

Ohh should I have mentioned I am in colorado so high altitude , doeas that count ? :blink:

Edited by Desiderio (log)

Vanessa

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Desiderio,

If you liked the Wooley cake, I think you will also like Cook's Illustrated Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt Cake. It's a fantastic cake - nice tight moist crumb with a deep dark chocolate taste - cuts cleanly. Several egulleters tried it after I posted my recommendation, and here's a link to some of their reviews - NOTE: The first review quoted by Wendy and a second review which follows, is for a more recent CI cake, not the Chocolate Sour Cream Bundt. Scroll down for reviews on this particular cake - it will usually include the word "Bundt." I think the first review of this cake is around the sixth one down by skyflyer3. There's a photo by PatrickS on the next page (P.16). - I think the link to the recipe itself is there also.

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=41144&st=420

Edited by merstar (log)
There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.
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Thank you Merstar, I actually had a list of all the cake to try and that one was next , I need to get the recipe actually , I have the CI best recipe and it says sour cream fudge layer cake , wich I think isnt the same as this one you are talking about , need to go and subcribe , unless someone has the recipe maybe can pm to me if they can please?

I did another attempt tweaking for high altitude ( for what I think I am still puzzeled by it sometimes ) , so I wil post the results with the tweaking if works.

Thank you :smile:

Vanessa

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Hi Desiderio,

I would be happy to PM you the recipe, but it has all my changes and notes included - you may want a "clean" original copy, which you can get by going to America's Test Kitchen and subscribing, (it's free), then typing the recipe name in "Search." Otherwise, I will PM you if you prefer.

http://americastestkitchen.com

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.
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Hi Desiderio,

I would be happy to PM you the recipe, but it has all my changes and notes included - you may want a "clean" original copy, which you can get by going to America's Test Kitchen and subscribing, (it's free), then typing the recipe name in "Search."  Otherwise, I will PM you if you prefer.

http://americastestkitchen.com

Thank you much :biggrin: Thats next then , if I make one more chocolate cake my husband is going to send me to a mental house :laugh:

Ok I subscribed and found the recipe :raz:

Thank you Merstar

Edited by Desiderio (log)

Vanessa

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Has anyone tried CI's Moist and Tender Devil's Food Cake?  It is in the Baking Illustrated book and by ingredients and amounts alone, seems like it would be a very good chocolate cake recipe.

I haven't tried the CI cake, but I have a great recipe from Chocolatier -"Devil's Food Cake With Fluffy White Frosting." I've made this countless times and it's superb. I omit the white frosting, increase the chocolate ganache filling, and use it for both the filling and frosting.

Caution: Although the recipe says to merely butter and flour the pans, make sure you use parchment paper. The cakes are so moist, they stick to the pans like glue! (I found this out the hard way) :)

(Desiderio, don't look at this recipe or you'll have to try it! LOL)

http://www.godiva.com/recipes/recipe.aspx?id=518

There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.
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Has anyone tried CI's Moist and Tender Devil's Food Cake?  It is in the Baking Illustrated book and by ingredients and amounts alone, seems like it would be a very good chocolate cake recipe.

I haven't tried the CI cake, but I have a great recipe from Chocolatier -"Devil's Food Cake With Fluffy White Frosting." I've made this countless times and it's superb. I omit the white frosting, increase the chocolate ganache filling, and use it for both the filling and frosting. Also, I use brewed espresso instead of strong coffee.

*Caution: Although the recipe says to merely butter and flour the pans, make sure you use parchment paper (buttered and dusted, preferably with cocoa powder). The cakes are so moist, they stick to the pans like glue! (I found this out the hard way) :)

(Desiderio, don't look at this recipe or you'll have to try it! LOL)

http://www.godiva.com/recipes/recipe.aspx?id=518

Edited by merstar (log)
There's nothing better than a good friend, except a good friend with CHOCOLATE.
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