Thursday, September 22, 2011

Devil's Food Chocolate Cake

   What a name! Though I don't really fancy it, the person who posted the recipe (the Kitchen Guardian, whose blog is lovely) asked that we name the cake as it is, so Devil's Food Chocolate Cake it is. I've made this cake two times. The first one looked a total mess that I named it Chocolate Mess Cake, but it tasted lovely. I followed the proper measurements for the cake, but as I only had 100g cream cheese (the recipe calls for 250g) I made some adjustments. The same goes for the chocolate ganache, which I halved but later wish I hadn't. Hehe.

   This cake turned out to be even more popular than the red velvet cake. I made it at 12 a.m. and chilled it overnight in the refrigerator. The next day I managed to eat one slice before going for my driving class. When I came back, only a very thin slice remained! I decided that the next time I made it, I'd make two cakes so that the result would be taller- which means that you can cut thinner slices so that everyone can have several goes at eating it instead of just once or twice.

   This is the first cake. Just two layers since I only made one cake. I only put 5 tablespoons sugar to the 100g cream cheese so it was a little sour, but I still liked it. I divided the batter into two and baked each layer separately because I didn't want the bother of having to cut the cake in two later. By some fortunate or unfortunate incident, I accidentally baked the first layer at 110C instead of 160C, so it took longer to bake but somehow yielded a lovely, moist texture. (The photo below's not that good, but I think you can see that the top layer is slightly moister).

Devil's Food Chocolate Cake version 1
You don't want to see the whole cake. You really don't.
      Then, Littlest Brother requested that I made the cake for his birthday. So we went to Tesco and got some more cream cheese. Since it was already a few weeks after Raya, they'd restocked most of the supplies and I found quite a number of different brands for cream cheese. As usual, of course, I wanted to find one with an establised and recognised Halal logo, and found two- the KRAFT Philadelphia cream cheese which is what we usually get, and another brand named Tatura, which comes from Australia. The Tature one was much cheaper, 250g for about RM 7.99 while the Philadelphia cheese was priced at nearly RM 12.00. So I bought two of the Tatura cheese. They look like this:

    When we got home, I started making the cake. I knew it was about to become one of my nocturnal baking adventures since I planned to make two cakes, wait for them to cool and frost them, etc. This time I followed the recipe exactly, because I planned to use one batch of chocolate ganache and cream cheese frosting for two cakes. 

   I actualy planned to make four layers out of the two cakes, but I made a mistake when I divided the batter... long story... so instead I ended up with three layers. Which was good anyway since there would not have been enough frosting and ganache! Frosting the cake was messy, I didn't have a proper cake stand, but I had an idea that if I spread the cream cheese and chilled it in the fridge for a while first so that it'd firm up a bit, I wouldn't have so much trouble spreading the ganache on top (like I did with the first cake). It worked, but I think next time I'll make the cake earlier during the day, and do the frosting and layering at night so that I'll have more time for chilling the cake. 

   Anyway, here is the recipe. I first found it in Kak Rima's blog, who had Kak Edi from Adorable Cupcakes recommend it to her, who in turn took it from the Kitchen Guardian, who took it from a book called Cupcakes by Shelly Kaldunski. Phewwh! That was long. KG requested that we give the proper credits, which I hope I've done correctly. Shelly Kaldunski, is, by the way a food consultant for Martha Stewart Living. No wonder it's such a good recipe!

Devil's Food Chocolate Cake
links to original recipe: here, here and here

(I made 2 cakes)

1 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa powder 
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
4 tablespoons (about 65 gram) butter 
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract/essence
1/4 cup buttermilk (or fresh milk with a few drops of lemon juice/distilled vinegar)
1/2 cup warm water (I used 1/4 warm water and 1/4 milk)

Grease and line cake tin with baking paper. (I used a 7-inch cake tin)
Sieve flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate soda, salt in one bowl.
Beat butter with sugars until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat until combined.
Add dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder etc) alternately with liquid ingredients (buttermilk + warm water) in three portions.
Add vanilla extract/essence. Mix until well combined.
Bake for about 30 minutes at 160C or until just cooked. 

Cream Cheese Frosting
250 g cream cheese, room temp (I used Tatura cream cheese)
125 g butter, room temp
3/4 cup icing sugar, sifted (I reduce the amount from 1 cup so that we could taste the cheese)
1 tsp vanilla extract/essence
a few drops of lemon juice, optional

Beat cream cheese and butter, just until creamy. Add the icing sugar, vanilla and lemon juice and mix until well combined.

Chocolate Ganache
3/4 cup non-dairy whipping cream (original: 200 ml double cream with at least 30% fat content)
200 g dark chocolate, chopped (original 250g)
a pinch of salt (which I didn't put)

Heat cream until just at boiling point. Add chocolate (and salt) and stir. Remove from heat when chocolate has melted and continue stirring until well mixed. Leave to cool.

Cool cake completely, spread the cream cheese frosting and pour cooled ganache on top. Make sure the ganache is cool but still pourable, if you leave it for too long it'll get really thick and becomes a little difficult to spread.

Chill cake overnight in the refrigerator. This is what I did because we prefer cakes that come out of the fridge nice and cold. I think it also allows some time for the ganache and cheese to be absorbed into the cake for a bit, which helps to make it even moister. Yum!

   This is what it looks like from the outside. You can see that I've a lot to improve in my cake frosting skills. The bits of paper that you see underneath was an attempt to utilise this tip I learned which says that you can slip long strips of paper under the cake (about three strips) which you can later remove after you've finished frosting. This will help to reduce the mess, but it didn't work because the paper stuck fast under the cake!

   This is what it looks like from the inside. (Oooppss I forgot to remove the baking paper). Three layers! I think this is the best cake I've made yet.

Devil's Food Chocolate Cake version 2
Oh my God, what is that on top of the cake???
Oh. An extra large cake crumb. Thank goodness.
   I can't wait to make it again! Maybe when Big Sister comes home for the weekend?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Red Velvet Cake

   Note 1: I think I should start learning how to take better photos. The thing is by the time I finish baking my energy is usually all but spent, so I'm too lazy to arrange things beautifully or think of a nicer way of presenting. So.

   Note 2: This entry was composed over a week ago. I'm getting lazy- need to buck up a bit!

   Goodness, I've so many pending posts! I'll never get through each and every one of them! The thing is, I'd like to write about everything that I make, since I probably won't have much a chance any more when I start working (if that ever happens, huh). Being me, though, I'd write one post and halfway through writing I'd suddenly remember another recipe that I tries and I'd start writing about that. Fickle-minded, I am, I guess. 

   One of the things that I've seen all over food blogs (apart from macarons, dulce de leche, rainbow cakes, etc.) are red velvet cakes. So ahem... I'd like to announce that I've made a red velvet cake!

I'm afraid this is the best photo that I managed to take.
I packed one slice for KakYong a.k.a. Big Sister to take back to her uni.
And no, it's not the photo that's upside down, it's the cake. So.
   To tell you the truth, I've never actually tasted one, either professionally-made or homemade. So I didn't know what to expect and at first was a teeny weeny little bit disappointed because I'd expect to jump through the roof after tasting it. I've read how delicious and extraordinary it is, but it tasted quiet normal. I think I should have another go at the recipe sometime soon (when oh when will that be?) to see if I missed anything.. Besides, like I said I've never tasted a red velvet cake before so I don't have anything to compare my cake to.

   I got the recipe from Kak Rima, whose blog is another that I haunt. She adapted it from another recipe, and her cake turned out such a beautiful red. Mine was a very dark red, pretty enough but not that eye-catching. At first I only made one, but the cake turned out a little too short to cut in two, so I made another one. When I decided to make another one, it was 3 a.m. in the morning, and I had two whoopie pie batters waiting to be dolloped into their pans. It was one crazy night. But since Little Sister was going back to Uni at 6 a.m., and Big Sister suggested that I make something to celebrate Mum's upcoming birthday while everyone was at home, I went through with it. So we ate cake at 5 a.m. in the morning (we were having sahur as we'd decide to fast today). Who eats cake at 5 a.m. in the morning???

   Mum thinks the texture should have been finer. The cake was rather dense, I guess. Maybe I should use superfine flour next time?

The cake batter. It's not that red. More like a very dark pink.
   Well, here's the recipe for the cake. I followed the recipe mostly, but made two cakes instead of one. 

   Credits to: Kak Rima and hersite

A. Sift these together and set aside
   1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
   1/2 teaspoon baking powder
   1/2 teaspoon salt

B. Combine these in one bowl
   1 tablespoon red food colouring
   1 tablespoon cocoa powder
   A few drops of water, in case the paste is too sticky

C. Combine these in one bowl
   1/2 teaspoon vinegar (I used HPA apple vinegar)
   1/2 teaspoon baking soda

D. Beat these using an electric mixer until light and fluffy
   1/4 cup butter
   3/4 cup sugar

   1 egg
   1 teaspoon vanilla essence/extract
   1/2 cup buttermilk (which I did not have, so substituted with 1/2 cup milk + 1/2 teaspoon apple vinegar)

   1. Preheat oven to 175C.
   2. Grease and line two 8-inch cake tins (I only had one. Kak Rima used a 6-inch pan) with baking paper. 
   3. Add the egg to D mixture and beat until well combined. 
   4. Add vanilla and B mixture and mix well combined.
   5. Add A and buttermilk alternately, starting with A (flour mixture) and ending with A. So A-B-A-B-A. Ababa. It's a word! Stir with a spatula until well blended. (I used the electric mixture. Did that affect the texture?)
   6. Pour into pans and bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre.
   7. Cool completely. Slice the top off one cake and spread with cream cheese filling. Top with the second cake. Cover cake with the rest of the cream cheese frosting. Decorate. Uh-huh.
   8. Chill in the refrigerator for several hours. It tastes better after doing that.
   We couldn't find whipping cream that has a 'Halal' logo on it, but Big Sister found this Non-Dairy Whipping Topping that has one. I wonder if I can use it as a substitute for recipes that calls for double cream or dairy whipping cream. It's so difficult to find any that is certified Halal. Besides, if I can use NDWT as a substitute, it'll be useful if I ever meet a person who's allergic to dairy products and want to serve them cake or dessert! (Cewwah.)

   So here's the recipe. I made one or two changes.


   1 cup Non-Dairy Whipping Cream Topping, whipped until stiff
   125 cream cheese
   50g butter
   60g powdered sugar

   Beat cream cheese and butter until well mixed. 
   Add sugar and beat until well combined.
   Fold in the whipped topping.
   Use to frost cake.

   Next time I'll either reduce the sugar to 2 or 3 tablespoons or omit it altogether! The frosting was a little too sweet, maybe because the NDWCT already contains a little sugar. (But Abuya a.k.a. Dad likes it. Of course. Dia kata macam kek beli. Cewwahhh!)
   I'd also increase the amount of cream cheese.
   The butter caused the mixture to have a pale, yellowish colour. At first I didn't like it, but it turned paler after some time. So.

Just out of the oven.
   *I read this one book a while back, and there was a character who liked to talk and end her sentences with 'so'. For example, "Red Velvet cake is red in colour. So." And this often leaves her son wondering what is supposed to come after the so. This fascinated me, which is why you see me using it here and there. So.

   My blog need more recipes. So. (Guess what's supposed to come after).

   Oh. And tomorrow Big Sister is returning to KL. So another day of baking. So. 

   Okay I'm overdoing it. I'll stop now. So. Hehe.

   Update: I think I've changed my mind. The cake is very good. Evidence: I finished an enormous slice (the last bits) all by myself. Dad loved it and has reminded me to make some more soon, and my brothers want me to make one for their Raya celebration at school. So.