Monday, July 18, 2011

I Have Met My Match and its Name is Chocolate Cake

I have been experimenting with chocolate cake recipes for years.  Years. And I don't even like chocolate.  And yet somehow, creating the perfectly rich, dense and moist flour-based chocolate cake continues to elude me.  I have gone everywhere from Food TV to the Joy of Cooking to secret family recipes. Nothing seems to result in a perfect chocolate morsel. Each attempt has resulted in cakes that are close in taste but lacking in appearance, or beautiful to look at but desperately disappointing at first bite.

And so after 6 months of not baking, I regathered my courage and attempted to conquer the chocolate challenge once and for all.  I was armed with a highly rated online recipe, and a very cool new Nordicware mini bundt pan that my friend Melissa got me for my birthday.  The recipe had everything going for it - an unusual aromatic spice to add depth (cardamom), dried fruit to balance the rich chocolate, and three types of chocolate (cocoa, semisweet pieces, and dark pieces).  I tried friendly tips - mixing the cocoa with hot water first to create a paste, soaking the currants in brandy and hot water, greek yogurt and milk to ensure moistness and density, coating the baking pans with flour and butter to ensure the molds made perfect little cakes.

The result was aesthetically pleasing.  The cakes emerged perfectly, no strange sticking or deformities. . . I overconfidently posted to Facebook about my succes. And yet, at first bite. . .the little buggers were so disappointingly dry!  Chocolate cake and I are officially over.  This is one baking challenge that I just can't manage to crack. . .

But I am very open to suggestions.  Have tips? A fool proof recipe?  Please share !

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