My DS's birthday is in a couple weeks. Normally I just whip up a box of chocolate cake mix, then make homemade frosting and decorate. (I'm very excited about doing this one -- it's a construction cake with carved ramps up the levels). But after attending my SIL's wedding in Texas a few weeks ago and having the BEST chocolate cake of my life at the Mansion in Dallas, I'm determined to find something better than a box mix for DS's party.
So I scoured CC and Epicurious to find some fab recipes, and tonight, I made four 6-inch cakes, each from a different recipe. Then I cut each cake in quarters and torted them. So if you're following, that gives me four pieces for each of the four cakes. I filled one of each quarter with chocolate mousse and one quarter with truffle filling. (I haven't decided yet what to fill the remaining two quarters with, but one will probably be fudge frosting and the other may be IMBC.) Then I'm frosting the quarters with chocolate IMBC.
Now here's the tough part. DH is working tonight, DS is in bed. It's late, so the neighbors are all asleep. Here I am, all alone, with all this cake to sample. Ok, so it's not been THAT tough of a night.
Really I just have 12 pieces to taste test instead of 16. One of the cakes I didn't even try because it was too flat and egg-y (if that makes sense). They all have coffee in them, which I've never used before, and I don't even drink soda, so going to sleep may not be an option right now. I must admit as good as it sounded beforehand, I'm a bit overloaded with chocolate at the moment and don't really want to see another piece of cake for a while.
Ok, so you're all feeling REALLY sorry for me right now, but I actually do have a question. None of these cakes really come close to that fabulous wedding cake. Anyone ever had cake at the Mansion? Any suggestions on a totally rich (yet not too dark or strong) chocolate cake with a fudgy ganache frosting? Their cake wasn't light and fluffy like the ones I made tonight. It was almost sticky and very dense. The IMBC isn't really doing it for me, either, and all the ganache recipes I've seen so far are really just underwhipped mousse (cream and chocolate), not the rich, fudge-like treat that was on the wedding cake.
Thanks, all. And anyone who's up for a late night snack, I've got handouts.
Sounds like fun, put on the coffee.
The fudgy ganach is probably a higher ratio of chocolat to cream, semisweet chocolate, nearly 50/50 likefor truffles.
The moist cake may come from a syrup brushed on? Just a thought.
try the hersheys chocolate cake recipe on the back of the cocoa powder box delish!! i love it its desense and super yummy about the ganache i have nooo idea but try the recipe and let me know believe me i have tried lots and that one does it for me good luck!
As I started reading this, I totally thought...it would be great if her tough issue was all the cake she has at home and she is having trouble with eating it all. That would be my problem!
I've never been to Mansion so I can't help you there, but good luck testing and sampling until you find just the right recipe! I wish I was there to help you with that job.
. . . at the risk of confusing you even further . . . have you seen this thread . . . http://forum.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopic-581783-0-days0-orderasc-.html
. . . if it was me, I would probably want to give this one a try . . .
Per the suggestions of the posters on egullet.com, I used good cocoa (Callebaut) and good butter (Plugra). Also the original recipe calls for coffee or water, but I don't like coffee so I used water. The baking time is the hardest part; the first time I made it I underbaked it, the second time it went for OVER an hour at 300F. Cupcakes were the easiest (275F for 24 mins). Happy baking (and eating!)
from Scott Clark Woolley's "Cakes by Design"
(as reprinted in the egullet forum)
"Fudge Brownie Cake, yield: 2, 9" rounds [or appx 36 cupcakes]
3 c. flour
1 1/2 c. cocoa
1 1/2 tsp. soda
1 tsp. salt
3/4 c. butter
2 c. sugar
Then add: until creamy
1 c. buttermilk
2/3 c. veg. oil
2 tsp. vanilla
Then mix in you dry ingredients from above.
To this you add:
1 1/2 c, boiling water or hot coffee
Dirrections: The author recommends 275-300F oven and NOT hotter. Bake until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, anywhere from 35min to 1 hour. They are allowed to cool in the pans for ONLY/exactly 5 minutes and then you turn them out and wrap them in plastic wrap, sealing them. This step can't be omitted, it does steam the cake and that does make the cake better then if you air cooled it.
Be forwarned this cake does not rise high in the pan, it will be pretty close to the level of batter when finished. This cake can be baked in any size pan with-out changes. Why this isn't totally perfect: the top domes and cracks."
I would stick to the "coffee" in the recipe . . . it tends to enhance the chocolate flavor (you don't taste it as coffee) . . .
I have a favorite chocolate cake recipe that I found in Family Circle magazine, of all places. It's dense and rich--almost like a brownie.
I usually use regular (salted) rather than unsalted butter because it's cheaper and I'm more likely to have it on hand. I can't taste any difference when I do this.
Also, I've used semi-sweet chocolate in place of the unsweetened chocolate and it works well.
Chocolate Fudge Cake
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, broken up
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2-1/4 cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1-1/2 cups sour cream
1 cup hot water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Heat oven to 350Â°F. Grease and flour three 9-inch round cake pans.
2. Cake: In a glass bowl, melt butter and chocolate together in microwave on high until melted and smooth, 1 to 1-1/2 minutes, stirring halfway through. Set aside. On low speed, mix flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in a large bowl until blended.
3. Add sour cream, eggs, 1 cup water, chocolate mixture and vanilla; beat 30 seconds on low, until dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium; beat 2 minutes. Pour into prepared pans.
4. Bake at 350Â°F for 40 minutes or until cake layers spring back when pressed.
5. Cool layers in pans on rack 10 minutes. Remove cakes to rack to cool.
Good luck finding your perfect chocolate cake!
OK if you want a dense, moist, insanely chocolatey cake follow this link. http://forum.cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopic-52587-30.html - it's the altered version of the Scott Clark Woolley fudge brownie cake. I am a bit like a broken record here on CC singing the praises of this cake. I've never eaten a better chocolate cake, anywhere. Of course if this is one of the ones you tried...nevermind! You just described them all as "fluffy" and I don't consider this cake fluffy.
For a real fudgey frosting try this recipe, it's found everywhere on the internet but I originally saw it here posted by txkat:
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons evaporated milk
1 1/3 cups sugar
1. Melt the chocolate. Cool slightly.
2. Blend the evaporated milk and sugar in a blender on medium speed for just a few seconds. (This must be made in a blender/cuisinart!)
3. Add the chocolate to the sugar mixture in the blender and blend on high speed until the frosting is thick and shiny, 1 to 1 1/2 minutes. The mixer's sound will change when the frosting has thickened.
4. Spoon frosting into a bowl and let sit at room temp for an hour or two. Don't refrigerate it, even if you're not using it for a few days.
The icing is fresh, homemade and fudgey. I've tried other recipes for "fudge" icing and never found one that had that fudgey consistency you are talking about, except the one that used jarred hot fudge but then it tasted too much like jarred hot fudge to me
I do find it amazing that ganache isn't fitting the bill for you! That's my personal fave and it is sooo decadent on this cake. Do you make yours with a high % chocolate? I use 70% or at least 66%. But that's just me!
I sooo want to sample your cakes btw, I love taste tests and I am jealous of all of your recipe trials.
LOL dragonfly dreams beat me to the punch!! For what it's worth, I have since used coffee in the recipe and it works great. Just like everyone says: it does NOT lend a coffee flavor to the cake, but enhances the chocolate. But frankly I couldn't say that it was any BETTER with the coffee, it tasted just as fantastic with straight water.
ETA another tip I've seen but forgot to note on the recipe is: use CORN OIL rather than canola. I haven't really seen this topic discussed here but I know on egullet they mentioned that canola, when baked for a long time, gives off a bit of a "flavor" that is undesirable; pure corn oil gives better results. Y'all may think I am off my rocker but I am just repeating what I read by the pros at egullet. I always use corn oil for baking, I save the canola for cooking dinner.
Wow! Thanks for all the great tips, everyone.
ac2steachk, you were right. I was trying to make a joke out of how tough my night was, having to taste 12 different combinations of cake/frosting/filling that I'd made.
These recipes all look great, too. I think I may have to have another "tough" night.
Ceshell, thanks for the tip about corn oil. I had never heard that before. The recipes I tried the other night all had coffee in them, and 3 of the 4 came out really yummy. But I've never had coffee, so first I had to search online about how to make coffee if you don't have a coffeemaker! LOL
I did invite my neighbors over to help me finish the taste testing. It was interesting. One recipe was pretty dark and intense. The other two were just yummy. The two adults preferred the dark one with truffle filling while the two kids preferred the milder ones with mousse filling. Guess you have to know your audience.
Kids, darn them. I still go ahead and make the dark intense cake. I mean seriously, boo-hoo if the kids eat less cake and leave more leftovers for me...right?! ROTFL!
Your neighbors must love you, they are so lucky! Can I be your neighbor???