NothingChocolate Embraces The FlavorPosted: December 15, 2011
Chocolate Layer Cake
What I suspected about chocolate is true.
Preliminary research on the varieties of chocolate caused some confusion. I do however now know that Milton Hershey invented “milk chocolate” and that this chocolate contains 10% or less of cacao, the fruit origin of chocolate.
Cacao was first sweetened by Europeans and only recently have some small candy makers been producing chocolate with higher percentages of cacao due to its recently discovered health benefits. Most of the sweetened chocolate contains a multitude of fillers in addition to sugar. Fillers like milk solids and vegetable oils. Not appetizing at all.
There are so many types of chocolate as well as species of cacao but I finally realized that I didn’t need to know all of this, that some background information is really all I was after.
So, in general, there are three main regions we import cacao from for making chocolate and they are, South America (Brazil & Venezuela), East Africa (Ghana), and Indonesia.
And the three basic chocolates used in cooking and baking are:
1. Baking chocolate – pure cocoa liquor (the liquor results from drying, roasting and grinding the cocoa bean)
2. Cocoa powder – pure cocoa liquor pressed (fat removed) and ground
3. Semi-sweet chocolate – pure cocoa liquor with cocoa butter and sugar
Discovering some basic differences between and types of, chocolate that exist was helpful, how to use them will be my personal journey with this flavor. I plan to experiment with fruits, nuts and spices since I believe it is these combinations that really bring out the personality in chocolate.
Approaching chocolate was something I knew I eventually had to do. For someone who loves baking and creating confectionary goodness, there was no way out. I started with a yellow cake with chocolate frosting.
I used Martha Stewart’s yellow cake recipe which was really good and could be better with a few tweaks. Perhaps a recipe incorporating higher proportions of butter and eggs next time…
For the frosting, I wanted to remain as simple as possible so I found a recipe that actually had the word “simple” in the title. This recipe resulted in an intensely flavored chocolate frosting. Quite yummy!
I want to continue to improve and eventually make the most buttery, rich and airy cake with the smoothest, creamiest yet lightest, chocolate frosting. And I KNOW It will happen!
Yellow Butter Cake (from Martha Stewart)
Yield: two 9” layers
2 sticks butter
1 ½ C flour
1 ½ C “cake” flour
1 T baking powder
½ t salt
1 ¾ C sugar (I used ¼ C less)
2 t vanilla
1 ¼ C milk
Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs, one at a time then add vanilla. Now alternate adding the milk and the combined flour, salt, baking powder to the creamed mixture. Do NOT over mix. Pour into prepared and parchment lined pans. Bake at 350 degrees for about 45-50 minutes.
Super-Simple Chocolate Frosting (King Arthur Flour)
(I used half of this recipe.)
1 ¾ C unsweetened baking cocoa
1 ½ C confectioners’ sugar
1 t espresso powder (grind or process some coffee beans)
1 C cream
1 C unsalted butter
1/8 t salt
2 C confectioners’ sugar
2 t vanilla
Sift cocoa, 1 ½ cups of sugar and espresso into a bowl. Heat the cream to a simmer and mix in the cocoa mixture. Cool. Cream the butter and remaining sugar. Add the vanilla. Add the cocoa mixture to the creamed butter.