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Another Cake

September 19, 2011
Chocolate cake

After last week’s bridal shower Red Velvet cake, this week it was a family birthday that spurred me to create another cake.  This time around, I made a trusty old recipe from my mother – chocolate cake with chocolate frosting.  It’s easy, quick and very, very good!

The ingredients you’ll need:

Ingredients

Ingredients

For the cake:

  • 7 eggs
  • 7 tablespoons sugar
  • 7 tablespoons flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4-5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
For the frosting:
  • 250 g (about 2-1/4 sticks) butter or margarine
  • 250 g powdered sugar
  • 300 ml milk
  • 3 heaping spoonfuls of flour
  • unsweetened cocoa powder to taste (about 5-7 tablespoons)
  • a drop or two of vanilla extract, a pinch of salt
  • optional: a dash of brandy or brandy flavoring
Let’s get started with the cake first.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and get two mixing bowls ready.  Crack the eggs, separating the yolks into one bowl, the whites into the other.  First, whip the whites to a stiff peak – if you lift out the beaters, the eggs will form little peaks that don’t droop.  Then beat in about 2 tablespoons of sugar with the whites, and leave them be for a bit.
Egg whites

Halfway between the foamy and soft peak stage: another 90-120 seconds of beating to go!

Now, on to the yolks – cream them together with the rest of the sugar until they become creamy and almost white, just like a custard.  Why do the whites first?  Because if you get any of the yolks into the whites, they won’t become fluffy.  If we did the yolks first, we’d need to wash the beaters very thoroughly before whipping the whites; or use a different set of beaters.  This way, you save yourself some dishwashing and a lot of frustration!
The yolks before starting

The yolks upon starting...

Yolks after beating

... and 2 minutes later.

When the yolks are ready, fold in about 1/3 of the whites with the yolks, using a rubber spatula.  Don’t worry about “breaking” the whites this time: even if this third doesn’t remain airy and fluffy, it will lighten up the yolk mix enough so that the rest of the whites will fold in easier and without collapsing – so when it’s done, go ahead and fold in the rest of it, too.
Add the flour, baking powder and cocoa, too, and fold them in very gently, until just incorporated.  This time the mixture can collapse!  To avoid that, scrape the sides of the bowl with gentle, smooth moves, and fold the batter on top of the dry ingredients in the center; then scrape lightly across the bottom and gently turn the batter upside down.  Keep stirring and folding until all the flour and cocoa are incorporated.
Dry ingredients in the batter

Fold in the dry parts gently

Spray a cake pan with nonstick spray – I used a 10-inch springform, but you can make this amount in a 9-inch round or an 8-by-8 square pan as well.  Pour the batter in the pan, then tap the bottom gently against the counter or your hand to settle the dough evenly in the pan.  Put it in the preheated oven to the center rack.  It takes about 15-20 minutes to bake – be sure to never open the oven door in the first 10-12 minutes, as this causes the cake to collapse and never rise again!
Pre-bake

Before...

Check if the cake is ready by inserting a toothpick or skewer in its center: if it comes out clean, the cake is done.  Cool the sheet on a wire rack.  You may just frost a single sheet or prepare multiple sheets for a layer cake.  This time, I only used a single layer as I only needed a few servings.
Post-bake

... and after

While the cake cools, let’s prepare the chocolate frosting.  In a small saucepan, combine the milk and the flour – I usually just use a regular dinner spoon to measure it, hence the “less than technical” description.  Heat the milk-flour mixture on medium heat until it starts to thicken, stirring continuously.  Take care of when it thickens, as once the process starts, it will happen very fast, and the flour will start to burn very quickly!  When the mixture is thick and creamy, remove it from heat, and keep stirring until it cools to at least lukewarm.  This process can be speeded up by filling your kitchen sink with ice water and standing the pan in there whilst you stir it cool.  Do take care, however, not to let any water get into the mixture!  Once it’s room temperature or just over it – you can easily touch it with your bare hands – put the mix in the fridge to cool it completely.
When the flour mix is cool (it takes about 45 minutes to an hour), we can get started on the rest of the frosting.  In a mixing bowl, cream together the cold butter and the sugar.  It’s imperative to use cold butter or margarine: softened margarine will leave the frosting droopy and hard to work with.  I usually put my butter in the freezer for about 15 minutes before I start working on the frosting.
Buttery cream

Buttery cream

Once the butter and the sugar is smooth and creamy, slowly add the flour mixture.  This gives even more hold and body for the cream and takes away from the overly filling greasiness of thick butter creams.  When the flour pap is mixed in as well, start adding the cocoa powder, along with the vanilla and salt.  These latter two will bring out a more true chocolaty flavor of your cream: salt acts as a flavor enhancer, making all flavors “pop” more, whilst vanilla complements the cocoa.  Did you notice all chocolate bars have vanillin – the active compound of vanilla beans – or vanilla extract in their ingredients list?  The final, optional addition is a dash of brandy for an especially luxurious and sweet taste.
Flour pap

Add the flour pap...

Whirrrrrrrrrrrr

... and the flavorings

The icing is now ready – refrigerate it for at least 15 minutes before icing the cake!
And here is a final shot of the birthday cake for my mother-in-law:
Chocolate cake

The Birthday Cake

For a description on how to frost and decorate a cake, stay tuned for the next post!  And until then….
Enjoy your meal!
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5 Comments leave one →
  1. Janaru permalink
    September 22, 2011 06:00

    Being the mother-in-law in question, I can tell you it was a very delicious surprise!

    I got a goooood daughter-in-law! 🙂

  2. September 20, 2011 03:59

    Nothing wrong with another cake, now is there? Don’t be silly 😛

    • September 20, 2011 21:19

      Oh, more cake is just all the sweeter. 🙂 Let them eat cake! (As mentioned by Marie Antoinette, then Freddie Mercury)

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