I woke up this morning with a buzz rolling round yet again; I haven’t been drinking so it must be chocolate on the brain.
Okay, now obviously that lousy adaptation of Shania Twain’s hit number Rock This Country won’t be fetching me any of those coveted miniature gramophones, anytime soon; fortunately I’ve got other talents to fall back on. Still, the buzz – or rather – chocolate stayed on the brain, threatening to completely throw me off focus and take over the routine of day to day living.
Ever since I discovered a chocolate and caramel cake combo, I could hardly sleep from the impatient urge to give it a go. Each night I would salivate over the recipe, trying – unsuccessfully – to catch a fitful night’s sleep till at last I would fall into a sort of restless slumber resolute that I would wake up at the crack of dawn just to bake this cake. Of course, not being a morning person – quite the opposite in fact – my mornings are always a chaotic rush, so that mission was never accomplished. And when I finally got down to it we were almost at the close of the weekend, about to flag off a new school week and a fresh set of week day madness. I assure you, I have the worst time-management skills. As you may have rightly guessed my sense of priorities too need major adjustment, because once again I am writing this well into the wee hours of the morning with an impending 24-hour power outage that’s about to start in a couple of hours.
Anyway, I just had to bake that cake; I had to find out if boiling sugar, cocoa, chocolate, butter and hot water produced a more moist cake. For some reason, I had implicit faith that any chocolate cake recipe which started off so potently was bound to lead to a densely dampened cake and sticky, chocolatey fingers! Plus there was a new stash of vanilla fudge and condensed milk just begging to be turned into trial recipes. So I stayed up past curfew and dived right into the venture. And… major bake fail! The cake was not in the least bit what I expected.
So, you’re probably wondering how I wound up setting this chocolate cake with the caramel filling seeping down the layers on the kitchen counter. That was the result from round two. I took a stab at it again… the next morning. Yeah, there was chocolate on the brain and lots of it taking up considerable counter space in my tiny kitchen. But I’m not complaining, because the second time around, the results were right on the money or, should I say, clinging messily to my fingertips.
Here’s my deduction as to why. Now, I won’t get into the exact science of it simply because I am still in the process of finding out myself, and I wouldn’t want to confuse you or myself, all over again! There are three things that I did differently from the first attempt and they are – not to boil the ingredients for too long, only just until everything is a homogenous, delectable sludge; reduce the amount of flour, and, most important of all, bake in a very low oven. Well, the original recipe did say 140 degrees Celsius. Now if only I’d done that in the beginning. Oh well, one can never have too much chocolate.
Chocolate fudge cake with caramel filling and chocolate ganache
Adapted from Bakers’ Corner www.bakers-corner.com.au
I halved the original recipe and adjusted the quantities during my second test run as the first time the cake was dense, bordering on leathery though strangely enough it had a crumbly toothsomeness. I’m almost certain this had to do with my miscalculation of the baking temperatures and duration. But I also think that it had too much flour that made for a very thick, glutinous batter which would probably result in a texture heavy cake. And I was after a fudge fantasy.
The cake also had large cracks or one giant crack running through the center, as I recall, and a very unappealing mass of craters scattered underneath its surface. Perhaps this was due to me over zealously banging the pan on the counter top before putting it in the oven? Still my burning question is – does this method of boiling the ingredients produce a more moist fudgier chocolate cake? And why is it that sometimes the final outcome is so dense and heavy compared to a cake prepared using the creaming method? I’d be thrilled if any of you can offer suggestions or insights into this chocolate cake muddle.
One another note, this cake has very pronounced treacly flavours that overpower the chocolate, of which there is a lot. So in lieu of the soft dark brown sugar I would use soft light brown sugar.
Ingredients – For the cake
- 1 2/3 cup of all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup of hot water
- 200 grams of butter
- ½ cup cocoa
- 1 1/3 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 250 ml of yogurt/sour cream
- 1 cup of soft dark brown sugar
- ½ cup of honey
- 2 tsp of vanilla extract
- 3 whole eggs
- ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda and baking powder
- ½ tsp of salt
For the Caramel Filling and Chocolate Ganache
- 1 can of sweetened condensed milk which is 395g
- 50g of cold unsalted butter diced
- 1 tbs of golden syrup
- 1 whole packet of chocolate chips
- 1 cup (250ml) heavy whipping cream
For the cake, combine the butter, sugar, chocolate, cocoa, honey and hot water in a saucepan over low heat, stir till chocolate and butter and sugar are melted and mixture is smooth. Let it cool slightly. Separately beat the eggs and sour cream; add in the vanilla. Stir this into the chocolate mixture. Sift in the dry ingredients and stir till combined. Bake in a 140 Degrees C oven for one hour. (It does take that long to bake).
To make the caramel filling just bring all the ingredients to a boil until thick. I really went by eye here, not owning a candy thermometer or possessing any professional confectionery skills! At the last minute I decided to throw in half a packet of store bought vanilla fudge. it adds an almost creamy sweetness to the caramel.
Now, make your ganache by simply bringing the cream to a gentle simmer; turn off the heat and tumble in the chocolate chips; swirl till chips are melted. Cool thoroughly before whipping if you want a spreadable consistency or just just dollop and smooth it over the cake.