The Great Scratch-Off...chocolate Cakes!

Decorating By artscallion Updated 18 Aug 2009 , 11:22pm by CakesByLJ

artscallion Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 12:27pm
post #1 of 206

Hi Everyone. Welcome to the Great Scratch-Off...Chocolate Cakes for the month of July!

TIMEFRAME:
July 4th:
-All Chocolate Cake Recipes should be in for entry into the Scratch-Off.
July 5th:
-A list of recipes will then be edited into this post. Each tester should indicate in this thread which recipes they will test by copying the most recent list, adding their name beside the recipes they will test, and posting the updated list in this thread. (We encourage sign up by July 7 so that we can make sure all recipes are covered for testing. Though latecomers are always welcome)
July 31st: All results must be posted, including pictures, if possible.
August 5th: The results will be tabulated and a winner will be chosen. We can choose someone to be the tabulator.

GUIDELINES:
1. Please try to have entries in by the deadline for each month.
2. Please limit your submissions to two entries. This will keep the final number of recipes manageable. This way, with fewer recipes, each recipe will end up being tested by more than one person so each can get a broader range of bakers/opinions.
2. Each participant must try at least 2 recipes.
3. We should try to have all recipes sampled by at least one other person.
4. If someone posts more than one recipe into scratch off, then at least one of their recipes must be chosen.
5. Please have your "results" posts in by the deadline to have your input included.
6. Be honest, but not cruel, with your critique of the recipe.
7. Please follow the recipe and don't make substitutions for ingredients. The recipes can be halved, cut in thirds, or quartered if needed. But mention this in your results if you do it.
8. Recipe must be for a cake that is meant for torting, stacking, decorating, etc.. So, no Double Gooey Crumblooey Molten Squish with Crazy Glaze cakes please.
9. Cakes should be judged primarily on a sample without filling or frosting, to get a true sense of the cake itself. This is important particularly with flavored cakes like chocolate, where you really want to be able to tell if there is a distinct chocolate flavor, without influence from a ganache filling. I think its also important for gauging moistness. Cakes may also be secondarily tested with filling/frosting as long as they are primarily tested without.

Judging Criteria
1. Flavor
2. Texture/Crumb
3. Moistness
3. Ease of Recipe
4. Cost of Recipe
5. Ability to convert into cupcakes

After you comment on all these characteristics, give the recipe an overall score ranging from "0" for Terrible to "10" for Excellent . You can make a suggestion on how the recipe can be improved, if needed, if you want.

All right, Ladies and Gents, get ready to fire up your ovens!

205 replies
Eisskween Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 12:35pm
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Can we submit recipes, or is it just to judge recipes already submitted? Please forgive me, it's early.

Enjoy your day!

artscallion Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 12:41pm
post #3 of 206

Recipe submissions can still be made through the end of the day on Saturday, July 4th, Eisskween.

AKA_cupcakeshoppe Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 3:29pm
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artscallion, thanks for starting this thread!

Should we re-submit recipes on this thread?

I don't know if you read my suggestion to limit the recipe submission to 2 per person so we can have more people try out the same recipes for a better outcome/result.

artscallion Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 3:45pm
post #5 of 206

That suggestion does makes sense, AKA. I must have missed that post. I'll add that to the 'guidelines'.

And I guess it would be a good idea to keep the submissions all in one place (this thread) so testers have easy access to them. Though once the final list is complied, I'll probably either link to, or post, each recipe all in one post.

maryjsgirl Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 5:27pm
post #6 of 206

Here is the double chocolate layer cake from Epicurious.com. This has been my go to chocolate cake. It is very moist and makes nice cupcakes also. The first time I made it I used instant coffee. I absolutely hate coffee, but everyone swears you can't taste it. I actually did taste it! So now when I make it I only add half the amount of instant coffee crystals to the boiling water.



* 3 ounces fine-quality semisweet chocolate such as Callebaut


* 1 1/2 cups hot brewed coffee
* 3 cups sugar
* 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
* 2 teaspoons baking soda
* 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
* 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
* 3 large eggs
* 3/4 cup vegetable oil
* 1 1/2 cups well-shaken buttermilk
* 3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Make cake layers:
Preheat oven to 300°F. and grease pans. Line bottoms with rounds of wax paper and grease paper.

Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another large bowl with an electric mixer beat eggs until thickened slightly and lemon colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed until just combined well. Divide batter between pans and bake in middle of oven until a tester inserted in center comes out clean, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

artscallion Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 6:15pm
post #7 of 206

In the interest of limiting things to two submissions per person, I've taken the liberty of cutting MoreCakePlz's list of links down to the two that seem to fit the challenge best, Chocolate Coke Cake and Giant Chocolate Cake, This eliminates the cakes that aren't intended for torting/stacking/decorating (though they all look delicious and I'll certainly try them on my own. Thanks!)

As for the Hershy's Black Magic similarity issue. Any suggestions? Should we just stick with the original? The variations could have been made just so they could copy them and call them their own...OR because they actually make the recipe better. Thoughts?

And again...I don't own this. So any decisions I'm making are just in the interest of gettin' the job rollin'. But please feel free to shout out if you feel differently on something. I won't take offense. And I hope no one takes offense if I steamroll ahead.

My list so far...

Scott Clark Woolleys Fudge Brownie Cake
Planet Cakes Chocolate Mud Cake
Hersheys Black Magic Cake
- Wicked Wanda's Chocolate Cake
- Deep Dark Chocolate Cake
Deluxe Chocolate Cake - Softasilk
Chocolate Coke Cake
Giant Chocolate Cake
maryjsgirl''s Double Chocolate Layer Cake
Toba Garett, Chocolate fudge cake
Sylvia Weinstock's Chocolate Fudge Cake
The Whimsical Bakehouse's Chocolate Butter Cake

majormichel Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 6:52pm
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I recommend Toba Garett, Chocolate fudge cake. This is to die for. Its the best, this is all I use. This cake makes more than (2) 8 inches cake, for me I usually make one 9x13 and about 10-12 cupcakes.

Chocolate Fudge Cake Epicurious | © 2003 by Toba Garrett

Toba Garrett
The Well-Decorated Cake


This is the best chocolate cake ever. It's delicious to the last crumb.


Ingredients
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups (285 g) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (170 g) dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup (110 g) Dutch processed cocoa powder
2 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups (18 fl oz or 540 ml) buttermilk
1 cup (230 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 oz (168 g) melted semisweet fine quality chocolate


1. Heat oven to 350°F (175°C). Butter and parchment line two 8x2-inch (20x5-cm) baking pans.

2. Measure all ingredients (except the chocolate) into a large mixer bowl.

3. Blend for 30 seconds on LOW speed, scraping bowl constantly.

4. Blend in the melted chocolate and beat 3 minutes on HIGH speed, scraping the bowl.

5. Spoon into the pans and level them well with an offset spatula.

6. Bake layers for 45 to 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Storage: Double wrap the cake in plastic wrap. It will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 2 months.

Deb_ Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 7:02pm
post #9 of 206

I'd like to try Sylvia Weinstock's Chocolate Fudge Cake
and
The Whimsical Bakehouse's Chocolate Butter Cake

I'll find the recipe's and post them as soon as I have a minute.

giraffe11 Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 7:09pm
post #10 of 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by artscallion



As for the Hershy's Black Magic similarity issue. Any suggestions? Should we just stick with the original? The variations could have been made just so they could copy them and call them their own...OR because they actually make the recipe better. Thoughts?




There is no variation between the Black Magic and the Deep Dark Chocolate. It is the exact same recipe. Whoever posted it on Recipezar just changed the name to "Deep DarK"
The only variation between Hershey's Black Magic and Wicked Wanda's is that Wicked Wanda's has 1.3 oz less oil. (change 1/2 c to 1/3 c) I am thinking this might not be a bad idea, since my only criticism of the Black Magic is that sometimes it bakes up just too moist. So.....maybe this is an attempt at improvement?
I may try that alteration.

giraffe11 Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 7:15pm
post #11 of 206

If you count Black Magic and Wanda's together as one, we are up to 10 recipes. That didn't take long at all!
I have a question. Is anyone making a summary of the yellow cake scratch-off? Just wondered.....

Back to the chocolate cakes......

artscallion Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 7:33pm
post #12 of 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by giraffe11


I have a question. Is anyone making a summary of the yellow cake scratch-off? Just wondered.....




Lita829's opening post in the yellow cake thread indicates... "July 5th: The results will be tabulated and a winner will be chosen. We can choose someone to be the tabulator. " I remember someone volunteering to tabulate. But don't remember who. And it's such a long thread to search through. detective.gif

I think we should go with AKA's version of the Hershy's cake, since she posted first and it probably is an attempt at an improvement.

AKA_cupcakeshoppe Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 8:19pm
post #13 of 206

Thanks, artscallion and giraffe. I've used that recipe under fondant and for cupcakes. I just love it.

dkelly, am glad you're submitting WBH's chocolate butter cake, I've been wanting to try it out. I just might have a reason to icon_smile.gif

Deb_ Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 9:03pm
post #14 of 206

Ugh...I can't find this recipe on-line, so I'll have to type it out. This is from the "Whimsicalbakehoues fun to make cakes that taste as good as they look" book.

Here goes...............

Whimsical Bakehouse Chocolate Butter Cake

Grease and flour two 10 x 3" round pans. Preheat the oven to 350deg.

In a bowl, combine and whisk until there are no lumps

1cup hot coffee
1cup cocoa powder


Add and whisk until smooth

1cup cold water

On a piece of wax paper, sift together

3 cups cake flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat at high speed until light and fluffy:

8 ounces (2 sticks)unsalted butter
2 1/2 cups sugar

On medium speed, add slowly and cream well:

4 lg eggs
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Add the dry ingredients alternately to the butter and egg mixture with the cocoa, mixing until smooth.

Pour 3 cups of the batter into one 10 inch pan and the remaining batter into the other 10 inch pan. Bake the less full pan for 20 to 25 minutes and the fuller pan for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool the cakes on a wire rack for 15 to 20 minutes before turning them out of their pans.

Yield 9 cups of batter

sara91 Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 9:11pm
post #15 of 206

majormichel, is there a metric measurement for the flour? I am looking forward to trying this recipe. Thanks!!

If anyone else could include metric when posting recipes that would be most helpful. (only if metric measurement is included in the recipe from the author)

Lita829 Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 9:31pm
post #16 of 206

Sara91...If you want, there is a conversion chart under the "Recipe" tab to convert to and from the Metric System. Here it is:

http://cakecentral.com/cake_recipes_file-converter.html

This is just in case people don't have time to convert the recipes.

HTH icon_smile.gif

Lita829 Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 9:43pm
post #17 of 206

Thanks for the compliment and starting the new post, Artscallion!! All the recipes sound DELISH!! I'll hold off on making my selections until July 4th. Its going to be hard to choose...they all sound so good!

ceshell Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 10:21pm
post #18 of 206

OK you all KNOW my favorite to submit is the Scott Clark Woolley Fudge Brownie Cake. I've tried it compared to the Epicurious Double Chocolate Layer cake and for me there is just no substitute. I am hoping y'all will choose to bake the "egullet" version of this cake because that's the version I have had longtime success with, so that is the specific recipe I am submitting. It's right here, top of page 3 of this thread. http://cakecentral.com/cake-decorating-ftopic-52587-30.html

Do consider using coffee instead of water; I used to use water because I fear the taste of coffee (can't stand the stuff), but you absolutely, 100% cannot taste the coffee, I guarantee it. Decaf is fine; in fact I just use instant coffee (made into coffee of course).

I would also like to submit the Guinness Stout recipe only I have to go find it! I have not made it yet but I have seen so many positive reviews of it here on CC I would be interested to see how it measures up in my book.

Looking forward to more recipes. I'll post my formal choices once we have the full roundup but I won't be making the SCW since I know that cake backwards and forwards icon_smile.gif.

bobwonderbuns Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 10:26pm
post #19 of 206

Ceshell, is Scott's cake in his book?

Pebbles1727 Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 10:45pm
post #20 of 206

Cannot wait to try some chocolate cakes. I currently use Ina Garten's version of Hershey's cake (with buttermilk and coffee). It is a wonderful cake but I'm looking for a chocolate cake with a little different texture. Does anyone know if any of the proposed cakes are lighter in color and have velvety (almost poundcakie) texture instead of fluffy?

ceshell Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 11:05pm
post #21 of 206

bobwonderbuns, when I found the recipe on egullet, it said it was "from Scott Clark Woolley's 'Cakes by Design' ". The egulleters tweaked the jeepers out of that recipe and came up with the version I posted on the top of p3 of the thread I linked to.

Pebbles, I'll answer your question at least for the cake I know: I would consider the SCW a more dense, velvety cake (as opposed to "fluffy")...but it is NOT a "lighter in color" cake, it's quite dark. (I don't eat poundcake though so I don't know if "velvety" means "poundcakie"?)

majormichel Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 11:14pm
post #22 of 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by sara91

majormichel, is there a metric measurement for the flour? I am looking forward to trying this recipe. Thanks!!

If anyone else could include metric when posting recipes that would be most helpful. (only if metric measurement is included in the recipe from the author)




check this website for converting to metric.
http://www.joyofbaking.com/USMetricVolumeEquiv.html

artscallion Posted 2 Jul 2009 , 11:58pm
post #23 of 206

ceshell, when I compare the egullet version to the book version, the only difference I see is that they cream the butter and sugar in a separate process, as opposed to the book's dump and mix method. Am I missing something else?

ceshell Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 12:16am
post #24 of 206

Really? OK that is pretty funny! I thought they did other things but it's been a long time since I read the original thread on egullet. The first 25 pages of "best chocolate cake recipe" were devoted to tweaking this...I thought they varied the oil, maybe the cocoa...but I can't really be sure icon_redface.gif. That is pretty funny if the only difference is the creaming??!

Here's a link to the thread, in case you want to follow their train of thought icon_smile.gif http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=41144

ahuvas Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 12:38am
post #25 of 206

Okay I am putting forward my grandmother's chocolate cake. I have found it to be light yet sturdy.

Here it is:

Lily's Chocolate Cake

250 grams (9 ounces) margarine/butter
3 cups sugar
2 cups water
5 Tbs cocoa
1 tsp baking soda

4 eggs
3 cups self-raising flour

Bring to boil first 5 ingredients and put on a low simmer for for a minute or two. Keep a careful eye on the pot as it can very quickly rise and pour over the sides!

Let cool


Beat eggs and add to the cooled mixture. Whisk in self-raising flour. Make sure to use a whisk otherwise you will get lumps of flour. If you get lumps you can always use a stick blender to make a smooth consistency - it doesnt harm it.

Bake 350 degrees celcius for 45 minutes 1 hour or until done in the center.

Pebbles1727 Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 12:49am
post #26 of 206

Thanks ceshell,
I guess that's the one I'll be trying first.
P

giraffe11 Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 1:33am
post #27 of 206

Akacupcakeshoppe........I just looked up the Ina Garten cake that you thought was similar to the Hershey's cake (Beatty's Chocolate Cake) and you are right, of course.
Except it's not similar, it's an exact duplicate of the HErshey's cake as well, including the slightly larger amt of oil. So funny. I am still curious to try the Wanda variation with the slightly reduced oil though. Everyone loves my cake so much.....I'm afraid to mess with it. But if I can reduce the oil by a bit w/o sacrificing anything, that's a good thing.
The other chocolate cake I am dying to try is a chocolate mousse cake, but it is labor intensive.....you have to make the chocolate mousse separately and then fold it in.......so, I don't think I'll suggest it for the bakeoff.

artscallion Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 1:38am
post #28 of 206
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceshell

Really? OK that is pretty funny! I thought they did other things but it's been a long time since I read the original thread on egullet. The first 25 pages of "best chocolate cake recipe" were devoted to tweaking this...I thought they varied the oil, maybe the cocoa...but I can't really be sure icon_redface.gif. That is pretty funny if the only difference is the creaming??!

Here's a link to the thread, in case you want to follow their train of thought icon_smile.gif http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=41144




Thanks for that link, ceshell. Very interesting discussion. Yes there was a whole lot of kerfuffle about oil and cocoa and the typical egullet admonitions to use 'good' butter and 'good' cocoa. It's funny but after all that chatter they ended right back where they started. icon_eek.gif

One interesting thing I noticed about their discussion. The original poster posted the recipe using cups for ingredient measures. Then someone 'converted' this to weights using their own preferred conversions. But if you read Woolley's book, where he lists both volume and weight, his conversions are very different. Apparently, no one noticed this.

For instance the book and originally posted recipe call for 3 cups of flour. A helpful poster converted this to 15 oz (my typical weight conversion for flour is also 5oz per cup) However, Woolley lists 13oz total, or 4.33 oz per cup. So they were all starting out using almost 1/2 cup extra flour.

They all ended up having trouble with doming and cracking, something that extra flour can cause. So they started switching to cake flour and switching from baking soda to powder and all kinds of things.

This is not dissimilar from the issue we've been having with the SW Yellow cake. If an author lists a certain number of cups of flour, or powdered sugar or cocoa, you have no way of knowing how that author measured that out. Did they weigh? Scoop? If they weighed, what conversion did they use?

I've seen different charts say a cup of flour weighs anywhere from 4.25 cups to 5.5 cups. in a recipe with four cups of flour, that's a potential difference of a whole cup! There really should be an industry standard for this? Why isn't there? It's such an important thing...I mean baking...flour...c'mon! Or all cookbooks should be required to list weight in addition.

~rant over~
icon_redface.gif

ceshell Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 5:13am
post #29 of 206

ITA artscallion!! It's too true: we are constantly reminded to "measure accurately," ...but we have no idea how the recipes' authors measured if they only provide measurements by the cup! You'd think that any recipe is using true measurements (i.e. by weight) and that the whole point of proper scooping is to approximate the proper weight when doing a physical measurement. But now we are seeing that even using the so-called "proper weight" might be an error, if the author himself didn't weigh!

Oh, I'm getting a headache. dunce.gif LOL

p.s. I measure, and I just looked at a conversion chart: I use 120g/c flour, and based on SCW's measurement I am accurate by within 1/10 of an ounce per cup. Whew. FWIW I too sometimes get doming and cracking - it's not *bad* and doesn't always happen, but it did happen last weekend. Made for some delicious scraps thumbs_up.gif. Also I DO use good butter and Callebaut cocoa. Your revelation about the recipe not really being adapted after all, is totally blowing my mind!

sara91 Posted 3 Jul 2009 , 7:20am
post #30 of 206

I agree artscallion totally. I have read some bakers forums and they talk about this.

Apparantly many authors like to work in weights (which is the most accurate) and then the publishers demand they convert it to the volume measurement as they believe that this is what the public wants. GGGGGGGRRRRRR

I have read that many use the site GourmetSleuth.com as all the ingredients have been weighed individually.

I made Sylvia W Yellow Cake and used this conversion calculator and the cakes came out below average.

Dissapointed. Hopefully one day books will include both weight measurements and volume.

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