cakykatyNJ Posted 21 Feb 2014 , 4:17pm
post #1 of

Hey, all! New to the site, so bear with me, please.

 

I am an affirmed chocoholic. There is no cure, but the condition can be managed with cake; dark, fudgy, and moist.

 

My best-loved recipes turn out delicious but too heavy for a kid's birthday, which is what I get called upon to bake for most, and none of the under-12 set that I know is a gourmet-foodie type (yet). These are the most important people in my life, so I feel they deserve better than just "good enough." Hence, my quest.

 

My criteria for the "PERFECT" chocolate cake are:

 

-from scratch; I don't like all the artificial stuff and rarely buy food in boxes anymore

-chocolate-y enough to stand out from frosting, ideally not even need it

-firm enough to carve / layer / decorate, with proper support

-light enough to lift easily in a finished 2-layer 9x13 size, travels well

 

I suspect that the butter-coffee-buttermilk version of Hershey's perfect chocolate cake (which I've used before) would be much improved if I used better cocoa powder (suggestions for brands/kinds VERY welcome) and maybe one or two other tweaks, though I have no idea what they need to be.

 

I've made this cake, too, as the bottom of a vanilla-on-chocolate cake for my daughter's birthday last month:

http://thecakeblog.com/2014/01/chocolate-chip-bundt-cake.html

 

Result: Too dense for a 2yo birthday. Probably better as a bundt cake, as in the recipe. Sinfully delicious and fudgy, didn't even need frosting IMO ... just not ... perfect. I know, I''m a lil bit obsessed. ;)

 

Thanks for reading and in advance for sharing your experience and wisdom with me, an experienced home baker, but by no means a pro.

26 replies
Sammy09 Posted 21 Feb 2014 , 4:32pm
post #2 of

ACook's Illustrated goes into wonderful detail about and recommendations without breaking the bank. Expensive is not necessarily better. HTH

Laurelj Posted 21 Feb 2014 , 5:51pm
post #3 of

AHere is my goto Chocolate cajke recipe, I haven't yet found a Chocolate cake which can beat it in taste or moistness. My added secret, once it cools completely I wrap in saran wrap and leave it on the counter till I am ready to torte and fill which is usually overnight. Also when making this cake I also add two shot of espresso then add water to make total amount or alternatively add a tespoon of espresso powder to your water. Then too once you start adding dry ingredients it is important to remember do NOT over mix. I usually leave a little undermixed at end and fold a few times by hand.

http://www.examiner.com/article/is-it-more-moist-the-hellman-s-chocolate-mayonnaise-cake-is-indeed

cakykatyNJ Posted 21 Feb 2014 , 5:53pm
post #4 of

A"Expensive is not necessarily better."

I definitely agree with that. Thank you for the direction. I can't believe I haven't thought of Cook's Illustrated, they've sorta been teahing me how to cook.

cakykatyNJ Posted 21 Feb 2014 , 6:05pm
post #5 of

AAnother vote for mayo. I think it's a sign. ;)

AnnieCahill Posted 21 Feb 2014 , 8:20pm
post #6 of

For light and fluffy, I go with Hershey's with modifications.  Do a search on the forum and you'll see some posts where people have adjusted the recipe.  Use their Special Dark and do the Black Magic cake and it's good.

 

For dense (which is what I prefer), this is my jam:

 

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Double-Chocolate-Layer-Cake-101275

AnnieCahill Posted 21 Feb 2014 , 8:24pm
post #7 of

http://cakecentral.com/t/742949/need-modiified-hershey-perfectly-chocolate-cake-recipe

 

Hershey's modifications...

FlourPots Posted 21 Feb 2014 , 9:36pm
post #8 of

My favorite cocoa is Bensdorp...

 

You can read my post in the link AnnieCahill provided, the second one...

 

Since that time I've also tested the Hershey's cake using Valrhona & Ramstadt-Breda Rich Dark, and Bensdorp still came out on top, for me...

 

Last weekend I made the cake (using Bensdorp) and I added a tsp. of coconut flavoring: http://www.spicesetc.com/product/Coconut-Flavoring/Natural-Flavorings


I swear it tasted like a Mounds candy bar...

So, so good...

I'm going to try it again using 3/4 tsp. so the coconut could be more subtle...

TheNerdyBaker Posted 22 Feb 2014 , 9:55pm
post #9 of
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnieCahill 
 

For dense (which is what I prefer), this is my jam:

 

http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Double-Chocolate-Layer-Cake-101275

 

This is the recipe I have been using for YEARS!  I absolutely love it, and every single person who has ever had it grace their mouth has temporarily lost complete control of their minds because it was so good.

 

Extremely deep chocolate flavor.  I have used everything from Hersheys to Valrhona cocoa powder in this recipe, and quite honestly the difference in flavor is so minute it would have been extremely stupid of me to continue with the expensive stuff.  All the added flavor enhancers in the recipe really doll up the chocolate flavor, even if that chocolate is Hersheys. 

AnnieCahill Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 12:09am

AYep I used Hershey's as well. I made it for one of my wedding tiers and filled it with Oreo IMBC. It was totally wiped out in 15 minutes.

FlourPots Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 1:41am

What brand of semi-sweet chocolate do you both use for that recipe, and do you use real buttermilk or the milk/vinegar substitute?

AnnieCahill Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 1:46am

AI use Ghirardelli and real buttermilk.

TheNerdyBaker Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 2:02am
I use real buttermilk, but for the chocolate I actually use 60% Trader Joes brand dark chocolate to reduce the sweetness ever so slightly.

 

I tend to buy all my bar chocolate at Trader Joes as they have reasonable priced 1lb bars of chocolate.  Saves me a bunch of money over the 1.5oz supermarket chocolate bars, and I don't yet need the massive 20lb bars you can get a baking surplus stores (which run for about $20 for the 20lb bar of Guittard!)

FlourPots Posted 23 Feb 2014 , 2:35am

Thanks guys...

I really want to try that recipe.

 

(I wish I had a Trader Joe's near me, I've read about those awesome pound bars before)

cakykatyNJ Posted 26 Feb 2014 , 1:30am

You all are being so helpful, thank you! Spent a couple days focused on cakes, so I just checked in tonight. I am so grateful for all the suggestions and guidance.

 

I just found out there is a Trader Joe's in reasonable driving distance, so I'll have to check it out for real now. I've been curious about Whole Foods and Trader Joe's markets, so I finally have irrefutable reason to go -- chocolate!

BeesKnees578 Posted 26 Feb 2014 , 3:24am

I've been using my grandma's chocolate cake recipe for ever....everyone raves about it, even people who say they don't like chocolate cake LOVE this cake.

 

But my curiosity is piqued.  I have no choice but to try the double chocolate layer cake. 

 

I have some buttermilk, but it's lowfat.  Do you think it matters that it's not full-fat?

TheNerdyBaker Posted 26 Feb 2014 , 3:26am

Quote:

Originally Posted by BeesKnees578 
 

I've been using my grandma's chocolate cake recipe for ever....everyone raves about it, even people who say they don't like chocolate cake LOVE this cake.

 

But my curiosity is piqued.  I have no choice but to try the double chocolate layer cake. 

 

I have some buttermilk, but it's lowfat.  Do you think it matters that it's not full-fat?

 

Not at all!

 

The buttermilk is just adding the slight tang to the flavor profile of the finished cake.  Even low fat buttermilk will provide that.

AnnieCahill Posted 26 Feb 2014 , 3:28am

AMost buttermilk is low or nonfat so don't worry. It's almost impossible for me to find full fat buttermilk!

BeesKnees578 Posted 26 Feb 2014 , 3:35am

Thanks, Annie and NerdyBaker!  I just made plans for tomorrow :D

TheNerdyBaker Posted 26 Feb 2014 , 4:17am

Quote:

Originally Posted by BeesKnees578 
 

Thanks, Annie and NerdyBaker!  I just made plans for tomorrow :D

Let us know how it turns out for you =D

bikemom3 Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 12:30am

AHi all! I have a recipe similar to this that I LOVE but it's seem sturdy enough to stack. Has anyone used the epicurious recipe to stack & cover with fondant? Thanks in advance! ~nancy

Rfisher Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 12:50am

AI was about to try McCall's Cooking School Perfect Chocolate Cake. Any one have any reviews to share? I've also tried both Hersheys black magic, and the Epicurious double layer, they did not come out too much different from each other, to me. Does anyone else have that opinion?

MBalaska Posted 3 Mar 2014 , 1:15am

Quote:

Originally Posted by Rfisher 

I was about to try McCall's Cooking School Perfect Chocolate Cake. Any one have any reviews to share? I've also tried both Hersheys black magic, and the Epicurious double layer, they did not come out too much different from each other, to me. Does anyone else have that opinion?

 

I've one dense Fudge Cake recipe and the Hersheys Perfectly Chocolate Cake right off the Cocoa can.......... and that's all.  Everything else is just so close to being the same that I stopped experimenting with Chocolate cake recipes ages ago.  So I agree with you Rfisher.

BeesKnees578 Posted 9 Mar 2014 , 5:57pm

Quote:

Originally Posted by TheNerdyBaker 
 

Let us know how it turns out for you =D


SOOOO....I FINALLY got to bake this last week.  It WAS delicious!  I had to melt white chocolate with the coffee since I had no other chocolate in the house (really??!?!). 

 

I do wonder how it would hold up under fondant.  It isn't as dense but just as good as my gramma's!  And it stayed moist for DAYS in my cake dome.

 

Thanks!

Krypto Posted 9 Mar 2014 , 6:23pm

ABeesKnees578, What size pans did you use? The recipe calls for 2-10 inch pans but it seems that would be too big.

BeesKnees578 Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 12:36am

A

Original message sent by Krypto

BeesKnees578, What size pans did you use? The recipe calls for 2-10 inch pans but it seems that would be too big.

I used the 10 inch and, yes, too big. 8 or 9 would make it nice and tall.

Krypto Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 1:30am

APerfect! Thanks for replying.

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