Let them eat cake! My two favourite chocolate cakes

A treat is a treat is a treat! Since I have embarked on weight loss and weight management nearly 2 years ago, I have overhauled my entire pantry. I have removed highly processed and highly refined food products from daily life. I have also changed my grocery shopping habits to include the semi monthly delivery of a local farmer’s hamper and regular trip to small local shops. I have started gathering several “new” baked goods recipes that are not only deliciously sinful but still manage to pack a decent nutrition profile, for those days when some sweet baking is a must to fulfill the cravings. I have also experimented with several of my all time favourites, trying to substitute less refined ingredients. There has been some successes and of course, some failures. When it comes to my «go-to» and trusted old favourite family cake recipes, swapping for organic is pretty simple with the exception of sugar. I have yet to find an organic granulated sugar that can replace white and brown sugar while keeping the texture intact. Baking is a science and each component has its own chemical reaction and purpose in a recipe. For hardy baked goods, an organic and unrefined white or whole wheat flour works perfectly fine. But when trying to make really delicate pastries and cakes, I still swear by refined white flour and sugar. So keeping with my 80-20 rule, I feel perfectly Zen making the occasional treats my gang loves using sugar and white flour. And since swapping the rest of the ingredients to organic butter, eggs, oils, dairy, chocolate and cocoa powder has no impact whatsoever on the final product, I can convince myself my good ol’ faithful recipes are at least 20% better!

I have two favourite chocolate cake recipes which I am willing to share today: I must be in a very generous mood LOL! The first one is a moist, rich and dense chocolate cake covered in a rich fudgey icing (yes, it does contain corn syrup and I have built a bridge and gotten over it). This recipe, shared with me by a client from my restaurant era, ended a lifelong search for the ultimate chocolate cake recipe that suited my taste. Thank you Velma! The second one is a recipe I discovered years and years ago in a little Holiday baking booklet inserted in a magazine. It seemed easy enough to make and received instant kudos from The Fam and The Friends. I can’t tell you how often I have made that brownie like cake: it has been requested to gatherings, celebrations, BBQ or simply «just because»! I even used to have it as an option for wedding cakes (another past life endeavour). The chocolate raspberry torte is also rich and dense. It doesn’t rise as high as a regular cake hence the name torte and a small piece is often enough but a few of my chocoholic friends have been known to polish indecently large slices!

So if you are in the mood to fill your house with the mouth-watering aroma of chocolate and wish to become today’s kitchen hero, I suggest you dive right in and try one of these recipes. Or both! Happy baking to all.

P.S.: if you ever make both, drop me a line and tell me which one is your favourite

SOUR CREAM CHOCOLATE CAKE

  •  ½ cocoa
  •  1½ tsp baking soda
  •  1 cup boiling water
  •  ½ cup soft butter
  •  2 cups packed brown sugar
  •  2 eggs, at room temperature and separated
  •  ½ tsp vanilla
  •  1 cup sour cream
  •  2 cups flour
  •  2 tsp baking powder
  •  ¼ tsp salt
  1. Heat oven at 350°F, with rack positioned in the middle of the oven
  2.  Grease and flour Bundt pan or a 9X13 rectangular cake pan
  3. Mix cocoa and baking soda. Dissolve in boiling water and set aside
  4. Mix together flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside
  5. In separate bowl, beat egg whites until they form firm peaks. Set aside
  6. In large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg yolks and mix until well combined. Add vanilla, sour cream and chocolate mixture until all ingredients all well blended
  7. Add dry ingredients slowly to chocolate mixture
  8. Gently fold in egg whites
  9. Pour into prepared pan
  10. Bake for about 50-60 minutes or until tester comes out clean or 40-45 minutes if using a rectangular pan
  11. Let cool 10-15 minutes then unmold directly onto serving plate. Let cool completely before frosting the cake.

CHOCOLATE GANACHE FROSTING Tastes just like fudge!

  • 1½ cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp salted butter
  • 4 tbsp corn syrup
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ¼ cup 35% cream
  1. Place all the ingredients in large microwave safe glass cup, one that measures at least 3 cups
  2. Heat in microwave* for 1 to 1.5 minutes only. If your microwave is 1000W, 1 minute will be plenty. Without removing from microwave, let mixture sit for about 5 minutes. This will give the chocolate chips the chance to melt completely
  3. Remove bowl from microwave and mix very well until mixture thickens and all ingredients are well incorporated
  4. Pour ganache over cooled cake. Let set completely before serving, about 1 hour

*This can also be done on a double boiler

CHOCOLATE RASPBERRY TORTE

  • 3 eggs, separated
  • ⅛ tsp cream of tartar
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • 1½ cups sugar
  • 1 cup butter melted
  • 1½ tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup flour
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa (use a dark and rich high quality cocoa for better results)
  • 3 tbsp water
  • ¾ cup finely chopped toasted almonds
  • ⅓ cup seedless raspberry jam

Garnish: optional
Whipped, sweetened whipping cream
Fresh raspberries

  1. Heat oven at 350°F
  2. Line a round 9” spring form cake pan with aluminum foil and grease using butter. If you do not own a spring form pan, make sure the aluminum foil is large enough to hang over the cake pan. It will make it easier to lift the cake once it is baked
  3. Separate eggs in 2 large bowls. Combine egg whites, cream of tartar and salt. Beat at high-speed until soft peaks form. Set aside
  4. In larger mixer bowl, combine egg yolks, sugar, butter and vanilla
  5. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until well mixed, 1-2 minutes
  6. Add flour, cocoa and water. Continue beating, scraping bowl often, until well mixed
  7. By hand, stir in chopped almonds
  8. Gently fold beaten egg whites into chocolate mixture
  9. Spread into pan
  10. Bake 40-55 minutes or until tester comes out clean
  11. Cool on wire rack 1 hour before lifting from pan
  12. Cover and refrigerate until completely cooled
  13. Remove aluminum foil and spread with jam then garnish with whipped cream and fresh raspberries

Now bask in your own glory 🙂

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