Sunday, 29 July 2012

Simple Chocolate Cake

Dish: Simple Chocolate Cake

Difficulty: Let's just say the title is a serious misnomer

Utensils Used: Wooden spoon, electric whisk, pink spatula thing for scraping out cake mix

Cock Ups: Lost count

Serves: Probably about a hundred, once the excess topping has been used

Recipe Book: Cooking With Chocolate, Imagine That Publishing

Cooking: A friend of mine bought me this 'Cooking With Chocolate' book, I think believing that it was both a good enough title to convince me to use some of the recipes and simple enough for me to follow. It's full of instructions like 'ask an adult to help you', so I think she pitched it just right.

The recipe starts with creaming together 225g of butter with 150g of sugar. Which was about where my problems started. Not wanting to break my arms creaming it by hand, I used the electric whisk and promptly sprayed sugar all round my kitchen.

When I'd got the mixture looking vaguely creamy, I stirred in three beaten eggs. The result looked like someone vomited scrambled eggs.

The recipe calls for 175g of self raising flour and 75g of cocoa powder to be sieved and then folded in to this mixture. I don't have a sieve, so 175g of self raising flour and 75g of cocoa powder were unceremoniously dumped in the bowl and folded in. At least, I tried. The mixture didn't seem to have enough liquid, even when I added a tablespoon of milk and a teaspoon of vanilla essence as the recipe dictated.

When it became physically impossible to stir, I did what I usually do in this situation - throw in more milk. It took considerably more than a tablespoon to get the mixture runny enough to mix again. That done, I put it in my two greased cake tins and placed them in the oven for 35 minutes at 180. The mixture I licked off the spoon was like rich chocolate mousse - delicious enough for me to get my hopes up about the cake.

So far, pretty simple, even with the milk fiasco.

While the cakes were cooking, I beat 500g of mascarpone and 15ml of milk into a smooth cream. Only I had no physical way of measuring 15ml, so I used a tablespoon instead and hoped for the best.

225g of cooking chocolate was put in a pyrex bowl and placed over a pan of boiling water to melt.

When melted, it was lifted away from the pan and left to cool (last time I did this I scalded myself quite badly, so I remembered the oven glove this time) which is where I think I started going wrong on the sauce. I was a bit confused by this instruction - leave it to cool for how long? Leave it too long and it will surely start setting back to solid chocolate? I don't think I left it long enough though, which impacted on a later stage.

Once the chocolate was 'cool', it was stirred into the mascarpone, along with 150g of 'sifted' icing sugar. It made a lovely rich chocolate sauce, which was then put in the fridge for half an hour. I didn't cut any corners with the time, like I normally would, but when I took it out it honestly didn't look any different to when I put it in. The leftovers that have now been in the fridge overnight have gone like stiff mousse, but that was not what I was working with when putting the cake together. Remember that.

Take the cake out of the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack. They came out of the greased tins nice and easily, but I did manage to break one in half when I tried to turn it the right way up. It gave me a chance to taste a few crumbs, though, and it was delicious. Really rich and stodgy.

When the cake cooled, it was time to put it together. A time I spent cackling to myself because it quickly became apparent that the picture on the recipe was not what my cake would look like. The sauce was still way too runny, and quickly drowned the bottom piece of cake. I tried to 'decorate the sides' as the recipe suggested, but by this point my hands were shaking with laughter, which only really made the situation worse.

Then 150g of raspberries are split between the middle and the top of the cake. I sprinkled half of the raspberries into the middle, then cackled more as I tried to balance the top of the cake on top of them. No matter how hard I pressed down, there was still a gulf between the top and the bottom of the cake.

More of the sauce was poured on top, then the rest of the raspberries used to decorate. I was actually a little worried they would slide right off, but the sauce was at least viscous enough to hold them in place.

But even if the sauce had been the right consistency, there was still way too much. I think half the quantity I made would have been about right. Now I've got all this lot to use up:

Washing Up Required: Multiply this picture by two, as I actually had to wash up most of this stuff in between making the cake and the filling, as it used all the same things.

Result: Not great. But hilarious.

Taste Test: I took the cake round to Mum's for the taste testing, though the Boyfriend did request a piece be saved. I had to be picked up by George, because I didn't dare walk round with it, for fear it would slide right off the plate. Even in the short journey, the river of chocolate was perilously close to becoming a waterfall.

The cake provided much amusement. Everyone agreed that the sponge was nice, though Mum and Maisie both agreed it had a slightly herby taste. I said this was probably because I used the same wooden spoon as I used to make my pasta the night before. I only have two, and they're both equally soaked in savoury sauces. Mum took pity and offered to buy me some more. She said she'd like me to make the sponge again, but serve it with fresh cream and raspberries. No one was particularly keen on the sauce.

The Boyfriend was less enthused.

"Out of ten I'd give it... minus one and a half. Honestly, I wouldn't feed it to a dead person."

I think Dylan felt much the same way:

Overall Verdict: If I hadn't cocked up so many times, this might have been at best okay. The sponge was nice, the filling not so much. And the quantities in both mixtures were off. I'm usually the first to blame my ineptitude in the kitchen, but I'm calling bad recipe on this one.

'Simple' Chocolate Cake

1 comment:

  1. Ahahahahahahahaha that book was worth every penny :D

    It looks like the disaster I had trying to make Sy that chocolate gateaux for his birthday. This pictures are amusingly similar.