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Results of my Chocolate Cake Taste Test

post #1 of 76
Thread Starter 
Thanks to Ceshell and the others who helped me last weekend. Here are the results of my chocolate cake taste test:

Cakes:
Chocolate Layer Cake (posted on CC by tripletmom)
Chocolate Layer Cake (Food Network from Timeless Treats episode)
WBH Chocolate Butter Cake
Chocolate Sour Cream Cake (BHG Feb magazine, posted by martmarg
To Die for Chocolate Cake with ganache and brown sugar SMBC (recommended in another post, not sure of author)
Too Rich Chocolate Cake from recipes4cakes . com

Frostings/Fillings:
Chocolate Mousse
Hershey's Chocolate Truffle
Chocolate IMBC
Ganache


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To start off, these are all chocolate cakes, so of course they are yummy. thumbs_up.gif But I was looking for the best of the best, so here goes:

The adults preferred tripletmom's Chocolate Layer Cake. It's dense, rich, and dark almost to the point of strong. Paired with the truffle filling and ganache, the adults were swooning.

The kids preferred the lighter flavor of the Food Network Chocolate Cake with the mousse filling and Ganache. It's a moist, light cake with a good milk chocolate flavor. The WBH had a very similar flavor and texture, but was slightly more crumbly. Because I intend to carve this cake, the Food Network one won out on that attribute, but otherwise they were very similar.

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The Too Rich Chocolate Cake was more the consistency of a flourless chocolate cake. It didn't rise and didn't turn out easily from the pan. Therefore, it was not good for a layer cake. I had considered using Scott Clark Woolley's highly recommended Fudge Brownie Cake recipe until I saw in the instructions that the cake would likely be similar to the Too Rich Cake (more dense, doesn't rise much, top domes and cracks). Perhaps someday I will give that one a try.

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake
While a big fan of sour cream baking, this cake did not turn out well at all. I did have to leave the batter sitting at a warmish room temp for a while before baking, so that could have had something to do with it not rising much (small crisis needed my attention). Don't wrap it in plastic out of the oven. The texture became the consistency of cat food and tasted about the same. Again, not sure if it's the recipe or the crisis that prevented me from baking it right away, but that cake was not a favorite.

A note on ganache. I had a terrible time finding a ganache recipe that didn't end up resembling mousse when beat. Most seemed to have WAY too much cream in them. Not sure what my problem was, but at last I did find a fabulous, no-fail recipe. It was in another thread, and I just wrote it down on a sheet of paper, so I'm not sure who submitted it (but if it was you, please post so I can give you credit).
Melt one can sweetened condensed milk with 2 cups chocolate chips. It's that simple! It's like fudge on a cake. It's a bit runny to start with, so if using it as a filling, make sure you refrigerate it well after assembling but before you frost the cake. It is also yummy just to eat with a spoon... Mmm. icon_biggrin.gif

I'm sure those of you who've tried these recipes have your own opinions, and individual baking styles play a role in the outcome, too, so some probably work better for one individual than another. But I just thought I'd share the results for those of you who helped me out. Thanks again!
post #2 of 76
thanks for this!

can you post tripletmom's recipe? i did a search but couldnt find it. thanks!
post #3 of 76
Thread Starter 
post #4 of 76
Thread Starter 
Oh, and I should note that the testing was done 24 hours after baking in order to let the flavors mature a bit.
post #5 of 76
I've wondered about the WBH one & Scott Wooley's as well. One you didn't test I've wondered about is Hershey's chocolate cake. I've always liked dark chocolate but some like a med. to light flavor so I've had issues w/ that. One I liked but thought too crumbly (but I may have turned it out too soon) is Kate Sullivan's http://lick-the-spoon.blogspot.com/ . The flavor is rich, but not tooo rich, but you'll have to resist from eating the entire cake if you trim the layers. OMG toooo yummy.

On the ganache, I'm taking it it's a good pourable consistecy when warm. When cooled (room temp or in fridge) is it a spreadable consistency? Do you think it could be whipped? And would it make good truffles? Sorry for so many questions.
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post #6 of 76
Thread Starter 
Hi dandelion56602,

The WBH recipe was quite good. I would put it in second place.

Yes, I had heard a lot about the Hershey's recipe. I was mostly interested in trying out cake recipes that included coffee, as I had never had any of those before, but I did end up adding a few others. I probably ought to try the Hershey's, given how many people have raved about it.

Actually, now that I look back at my notes, I chickened out of the Woolley cake after having two cakes that didn't rise well and I noticed that the instructions said this one would not, either. It also said the top cracks, which also wouldn't have worked well for my layer cake needs. I should take that one out of the list because I ended up not doing that one, even though it came highly recommended as well. I'll bet it would make a good brownie-type presentation.

As for the ganache, yes. When warm, it is thick but pours well. I didn't keep it out at room temp much, but in the fridge, it is excellent truffle consistency. You could take your hands and roll it into a ball. I don't think it would whip well. For whipping, I would use the cream and chocolate recipes. I've seen people recommend 1 cup cream to 1 1/2 cups chocolate, so that's probably a good place to start, as the other recipes I tried were much too liquid.

Thanks for the link to Kate Sullivan's cake. I may have to do another testing weekend! It looks really yummy.
post #7 of 76
Thanks for posting the results! And well, you know me, I'm gonna tell you to try the Scott Clark Woolley cake icon_smile.gif. It's true it doesn't rise much but it's not dense like a flourless cake at ALL. It's just definitely denser than a box mix. The top does not always dome+crack on me and when it does it trims easily. Numerous layer cakes in my gallery were done with that recipe...the turvey shaped white cake with blue garden flowers, the top half of the pumpkin bundt cake (I baked two bundts, one was the choc cake and I torted and filled it), the tea party cake, the chocolate Christmas cake with TWO snowmen, and even my very first (poorly decorated) cake in my gallery...to give you an idea of the height achievable with that recipe. The round cakes I just mentioned were all baked in 2 layers and each layer was torted, for a 4-layer cake.

If you ever do attempt that recipe, please post back in this thread with your opinion about how it compares to the others, I am curious! I love the info about the lighter cake for the kiddos, thanks for that thumbs_up.gif
post #8 of 76
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the info, Ceshell. I can see there is definitely going to be another taste test weekend coming up. Are you all trying to ruin my diet?!? LOL
post #9 of 76
Haha, well, if you don't like that cake then I will simply die icon_wink.gif. I can't help it, I want everyone on the bandwagon with me, even though we all have different taste buds and preferences. Maybe I am just looking for affirmation since I insist on making that cake for others so often LOL.
post #10 of 76
thanks hawkette!
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post #11 of 76
A lot of good info here....thanks
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post #12 of 76
Quote:
Originally Posted by ceshell

Haha, well, if you don't like that cake then I will simply die icon_wink.gif. I can't help it, I want everyone on the bandwagon with me, even though we all have different taste buds and preferences. Maybe I am just looking for affirmation since I insist on making that cake for others so often LOL.



I love the WBH recipe, and it sounds like you really like the Scott Wooley recipe. Do you have the Scott Wooley recipe? I'd like to try it.
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post #13 of 76
Thanks for doing this. I have been looking for a great chocolate cake recipe and I may try the two you liked. I have a question about ganache.

Your recipe sounds good for coating - is that true?

Also, when making ganache should you heat the cream first then add the chocolate or melt the chocolate then add the cream? I don't remember what I did last time but I tried to make white chocolate ganache and ended up with a separated oily runny mess.
post #14 of 76
Heat the cream then add the chocolate icon_smile.gif
post #15 of 76
Hi all,

Just want to point out that the chocolate cake recipe posted by tripletmom is the "Double Chocolate Layer Cake" from epicurious.com (she does credit epicurious at the bottom of the recipe; this is NOT a criticism of tripletmom).

I point this out because there is literally years' worth of running commentary from the epicurious members re: this recipe vs. the Hershey's recipe, with many entertaining comments from both camps. There is also a video demo of how to make the cake. I've used this recipe in my bakery for many years & often go back to see the latest comments, just for fun.

Re: the ganache question - the most consistent, safest way to make ganache is to add hot cream to room temp chopped chocolate. If you add cold cream to melted chocolate, you may re-solidify the chocolate. Yes, you can make it other ways, but hot cream/chopped choc. is the safest, IMO.
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