Jun 9, 2009

Black Chocolate Party Cake

This is my first chocolate cake from Heavenly Cakes, although I think there must be a few dozen different chocolate recipes. I love chocolate, but I've noticed that if I have four desserts to choose from, the chocolate one is almost never my first choice. Not because I hate chocolate--how sad would that be?--but because it's likely to be the least interesting offering. Given the same four desserts, Jim is likely to choose the chocolate one, so I think this was his favorite cake so far.

Like the first two choices, this one is also easy. Although I guess easy is relative. As I sat down to write this post, I got an email from an old friend of mine, who told me that her latest food discovery is a three-minute chocolate cake you make in a mug in the microwave. "It's making the rounds on the net," she said. I googled cake & microwave & mug, and, sure enough, I found about 179,000 references to this fabulous cake. Compared to cake-in-a-mug, the black chocolate party cake requires the skills of a French pastry chef.
The first thing you do is roast some walnuts for seven minutes and then rub the walnut skins off with a dish towel.

This is where my faith in Rose comes in. My palate is not so refined that I could tell whether the walnuts had been toasted or not, had been skinned or not, and had been in the oven for 7 minutes, or 8 minutes or 9 minutes. But I believe that Rose can tell, and so I will follow where she leads. So far, anyway. At some point, I'll have to decide whether to follow her into quail egg territory, but we're not there yet.
After the walnuts have been toasted, skinned, and ground, the cake is pretty much a cinch. You mix sour cream, cocoa, and eggs until they look like "slightly lumpy muffin batter."

Then the rest of the batter is mixed up, and the cocoa mixture is added to the batter, and it all goes into a bundt pan.
Did you know that the bundt pan was devised by Nordic Ware for a Minneapolis chapter of the Hadassah Society? And that more bundt cakes are used in Minneapolis than in any other city in the world? Well, actually I made up that last part, but the Nordic Ware/Hadassah factoid is true. And you can't go to a potluck in Minnesota without seeing a few bundt cakes on the dessert table.
But you don't find that many bundt cakes that have been saturated with cocoa syrup, which is what makes this cake incredibly moist and delicious. This is the cake as it comes out of the oven.

Here is the top of the cake after the cocoa syrup has been brushed over it.

You then invert the cake on several pieces of plastic wrap and brush on the rest of the syrup, lifting up the wrap and pressing it against the cake so that all the little drips soak into the cake.

I ate mine with a scoop of coffee ice cream, and that was good, but it didn't really need anything.

Rose says you could serve it with "squiggles of caramel ganache," although that might be gilding the lily. Most of the people who ate this cake just took a slice and ate it unadorned.


Karen: "Wonderful texture, wonderful taste."

Jim: "It's good. Make it again. Don't take it all to work."

Teddie: "Your cake is delicious!"

Doug: [who found a piece of cake left on his doorstep] "That cake is wonderful. When I came home and saw it, I thought, 'there is a God.'"
Betty: "I love the nuts--it was like biting into a big candy bar!"


evil cake lady said...

I like Doug's comment! I would probably think the same thing if I found homemade chocolate cake on my doorstep.

The cake is so striking in color. I can't wait for the book to be released!!

That cake in a mug sounds crazy. Call me old fashioned, but I don't think I can get behind microwaved cake!

Bunny said...

When I make something my hubby loves he tells me " that's not going to work"! LOL!! This looks so decadent and delicious, great cake. I've never seen one that has chocolate syrup poured over it.

Bunny said...

When I make something my hubby loves he tells me " that's not going to work"! LOL!! This looks so decadent and delicious, great cake. I've never seen one that has chocolate syrup poured over it.

Marie said...

No one has ever left chocolate cake at my doorstep, but I'd be thrilled if they did. Or maybe I'd start to worry that it was poisoned. Lucky for Doug that he's not paranoid.

I did take it to work, but not before Jim got a second and third piece.

Anonymous said...

Cake-in-a-mug, eh? This is the kind of thing that makes Americans look bad, lol. It takes someone like RLB to help pull up the curve for the 'ol USA. :-)

This cake looks great. I like that this is the second cake that doesn't require traditional frosting.

*sigh* MN gets credit for the bundt cake pan, huh? I LOVED reading this, Marie. It is so *you* to throw in an informative fact like this. Who knew?

Laura NYC

Kate said...

I'm with you on not choosing chocolate desserts, even although I do love chocolate. Somehow, lemony things are more appealing at the end of a meal. But if anyone wanted to give me a slice of this chocolate cake, I'd be very happy indeed!

Oh, I nearly forgot to add that I was *almost* tempted to make the microwaveablecakeinamug recipe when our kitchen was out of action last year (and all we had for a week or so was the microwave). As much as I was missing baking though, I just couldn't bring myself to do it. Flour in the microwave is one thing, but whole cakes? ... naaa!

Marie said...

There are a lot of "plain" cakes in this cookbook, as well as enough complicated ones to satisify anyone who wants a challenge. I'm not so sure about the challenges, but I'm enjoying the easier ones.
I LOVE random facts.

Marie said...

I wish someone would try the cake-in-a-mug. But I don't wish it enough to try it myself.

Unknown said...

Oh my, I'm with Jim on this one. This is my kind of cake. Just found this blog - I followed your other one almost since birth. Funny thing - I pre-ordered my copy of Heavenly Cakes a few days ago. Darn this having to wait and look at these mouth-watering photos! Anna

Marie said...

Believe me, you'll have a hard time deciding which cake to make first. I can't wait until other people get the book and start baking too!

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Anonymous said...

Another lovely cake to tempt us! I am so looking forward to getting this book. I have a Bundt tin which I have only used once, now I think I'll dust it off and try this one soon! Jeannette.

Melinda said...

What is wrong with you, woman? Chocolate cake is always first on my list if given a choice.
This cake looks fab! I wish I could taste it. It looks lush.
You know I mentioned the giant cup cake pan in your last post that Nordicware makes...well, I was shopping in Henley and I found one for sale! I couldn't believe it. So, now I just need that daisy mould one!

I bet it was difficult to decide what recipes to do first. Do you have an difficult equivalent like you had in the Bread bible, the croissants?

Anonymous said...

I'm disappointed that the last two cakes you made were the same one that were available to all of us in Rose's BLAD.

Marie said...

Well, you don't even have to wait. As Anonymous points out, the recipe is already available on a "sneak preview" on Rose's web site. I didn't realize that, but now we both know.

Yes, there are several recipes that strike fear into my heart! There's one that requires spun sugar, and one that's shaped like a pine cone, and one that calls for quail eggs, for example. I think I may need a co-baker on some of them.

Sorry to disappoint, but it looks like I've gone through the recipes that are available.

Melinda said...

I'm not disappointed Marie. It's nice to see how you baked them.

Anonymous said...

Don't worry Marie! As my old dad used to say....
You can please some of the people some of the time but you can't please all of the people all of the time!

I'm pleased to see what you bake all of the time!

doughadear said...

My husband also would choose a chocolate cake over any other cake on a dessert buffet and I would choose anything but chocolate. However having said that I would never ever refuse a piece of chocolate cake if it was the only dessert offered and if it was black chocolate party cake I would probably go for seconds. This cake looks wonderfully moist. Simple cakes that do not need much adornments are my favourite cakes to bake. I am glad to see that your walnuts are not completely rid of their skins after you have rubbed them with a tea cloth. I can never get all of the skins off either. From a phote I've seen Rose gets her walnuts completed skinned. I don't know how she does it.
By the way I would gladly volunteer as your co-worker if only I lived close by.

jini said...

well, tadahhhhhhh. i baked the cake in a mug and it was amazingly tasty. don and i split it and had it with ice cream. yum.
your cakes look lovely marie, and i must add that the bundt pan was invented by an edinan. :) i have not had great success with cakes, but i guess i will need to get the book and try these. they look delicious. sarah did a great job with the daisies!

Marie said...

Funny that you mentioned the recalcitrant walnut skins. I started to arrange to walnuts for the photo so the skins would be down and it would look more perfect--then I realized that was silly.
The co-baker post is open to you if you ever get this way.

Was it more like pudding or did it have a real cake texture? I just don't get how it would work.
Everyone knows that Edinians are "cake-eaters," so I'm surprised you don't have luck with cakes. Of course, true Edinians hire their own chefs to bake for them, and they just have to eat. :-)

jini said...

wow....i really set myself up on that one! it also stands for every-day-i-need-attention, and that works for me. :) alas, i am not true to the culture....i cook, i bake, and have been laying sod this morning. sigh.
the texture was a combination, cakey and a bit runny. i added chocolate chips and i wondered if they went to the bottom and caused the runniness. but, would i really complain about chocolate chips running? i don't think so.