Sunday, October 7, 2007

Chocolate Cake

This week I dedicate to chocolate cake, because it is the reason I missed posting last week. I was making one Saturday morning to take out to dinner with me that evening. A big kitchen knife dropped and cut one of my fingers enough to have stitches, so I spent time in the emergency room instead of blogging.

Chocolate cake is one of the best things ever invented, in my opinion, but is problematical for the soy allergic because a lot of chocolate contains lecithin. Now, the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network said for a long time that soy oil and lecithin won't cause allergic reactions, but I am here to tell you different. Apparently a bunch of us told FAAN that, too, because now they say to "check with your doctor" about soy oil and lecithin.

Baking chocolate doesn't have lecithin, though, so I set out to find a really good cake made with plain baking chocolate. I found one, but when we ate it we all agreed it didn't have enough frosting. Because the frosting recipe is a little fussy (but worth it, believe me), we did not want to mess with scaling it up, so I scaled the cake recipe down. The only problem is that you have to own 7" cake pans. The cake is easy to make, though, because it uses a "quick-mix" technique.

Little Chocolate Cake

2 1/2 oz unsweetened baking chocolate
7 Tbs butter, softened
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 tsp baking powder (slightly rounded 1/4 tsp)
2/3 tsp baking soda (slightly rounded 1/2 tsp)
1/3 tsp salt
2/3 cup plain yogurt
2 Tbs water
2 eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla

1. Put out all the ingredients to come to room temperature.
2. Melt the chocolate with 1 Tbs butter in a double boiler (or in the microwave) and allow to cool until almost room temperature (if it is too warm, and the batter is too cold, you end up with little speckles of unsweetened chocolate in the cake).
3. Preheat oven to 350F. Butter two 7" round cake pans, line with waxed paper or parchment, and butter again. (Or spray both times with canola oil from a Misto sprayer.)
4.) Put the dry ingredients in the mixer and mix for about a minute. Add the remaining 6 Tbs butter, 1 Tbs at a time, and mix until it looks like Bisquik or pancake mix--slightly grainy.
5. Measure the yogurt in the bottom of a glass 1- or 2-cup measure, then add the rest of the wet ingredients to the measuring cup. With mixer on low, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, scraping the sides of the bowl occasionally. Gradually increase the speed of the mixer and whip for 2-3 minutes. Divide the batter between the 2 prepared pans.
6. Bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick poked in the middle if the cake comes out clean.

Chocolate Frosting

4 1/2 oz usweetened baking chocolate
4 Tbs butter (1/2 stick)
3 cups confectioner's sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk (use less if it is not whole milk)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. In a small mixing bowl, melt the chocolate and the butter over hot water--kind of like making your own double boiler--or melt it in the microwave and add it to the small mixing bowl.
2. Stir in the sugar, salt, about 3/4 of the milk, and the vanilla. Mix well.
3. Set the bowl in a larger bowl filled with ice and cold water, and beat the frosting until it is thick enough to spread--kind of like mayonnaise. Adjust the consistency with some more of the milk, if needed.

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