Tuesday, April 22, 2008
How cool is this cake?!
I rarely notice this recipe when I leaf through Bittersweet. I think the page sticks. Or maybe, subconsciously, I think that marble cake tastes boring.
This is a recipe worth looking at. It's moist, easy to prepare, and more complex than typical recipes. Given the simplicity of the cake, I suggest using good cocoa, spices, and oil. I enjoy it lightly toasted, with coffee. I've been toasting everything these days...banana bread, muffins cut in half, you name it.
I felt childishly enthusiastic while making this. I loved the way the outside and inside looked. The individual slices had character; I think the one in the bottom photo looks like a bird! Other pieces reminded me of ships, tulips, and smiling faces.
The quantity is awesome too. I think I have enough cake to take to every class this week! I am confident it will be a hit.
adapted from Alice Medrich's Bittersweet
1/2 cup natural process cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup water
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1 cup flavorful extra-virgin olive oil
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp finely ground white pepper
5 cold large eggs
1 cup cold milk
A 10-12 cup tube or bundt pan, or two 6 cup loaf pans.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350F. Grease and flour the cake pan or line the loaf pans with parchment.
In a small bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, and water until well blended.
Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt thoroughly and sift together onto a piece of paper. Set aside.
In a large mixer bowl (preferably fitted with the whisk attachment) beat the sugar, oil, vanilla, and pepper until well blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Continue to beat until the mixture is thick and pale, 3-5 minutes. Stop the mixer and add 1/3 of the flour mixture*. Beat on low speed until just blended. Stop the mixer and add half the milk. Beat just until it is blended. Repeat with another third of the flour, the remaining milk, and then the remaining flour.
Pour 3 cups of batter into another bowl and stir in the cocoa mixture. Pour 1/3 of the plain batter into the prepared tube pan (or divide it between the loaf pans) and top with 1/3 of the chocolate batter. Repeat with the remaining batters. Don't worry about marbling the batters- that happens during the baking**
Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes for either the tube or loaf pans. Cool the cake in the pan(s) on a rack for about 15 minutes. Slide a thin knife around the sides of the pan(s) to release the cake. Invert the pan(s) and invert again, setting the cake right side up on a rack to cool completely.***
*I find it helps to fold the dry ingredients a few times with a spatula between additions.
**Don't try too hard when layering the batters. I just plopped big piles of batter in the pan and they came out beautifully.
***If you are using a tube pan, it can be hard to invert the cake. I used an offset spatula to release the cake from the sides and bottom of the pan, then I used two large, flat, icing spatulas to lift the cake from the removable portion of the pan and set it on a rack.
at 8:46 AM