Malto Mario


The Lady & Sons

1,000 Italian Recipes

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

It Is With Great Pleasure That I Bring To You...

Kitchen Disasters 2007 Pt. I !!

As always, I'm tickled to present to you the new year's first culinary disaster fresh outta my kitchen.. I think ONE of the lessons learned this time is, not to leave your layer cakes in their pans for more than 10 min. or so after taking them out of the oven. I greased and floured my pans well, the only thing I didn't do was line them with parchment paper as I usually do because I was out of the paper - but I've went without the paper in the past and this didn't happen. No.. I'm thinking it's because I left them in their pans for about 3 hours. Mmm hmm..

A little background - As some of you know, I'm on a quest to find the ultimate chocolate cake. I found this recipe while reading Orangette's lovely blog and knew I had to try it when she said, and I quote,

"I will be shocked and horrified if you don’t find this to be the most deeply-flavored, moist-yet-fluffy chocolate cake you’ve ever tried."

Well how could I pass this recipe up? I couldn't! Not even when the good angel and the bad angel who reside on opposite shoulders got into a brawl about not baking anything sweet, yummy and bad for my blood sugar. Alas, the bad angel won.. as she usually does. *sigh*

The funny thing is, Molly calls this cake, "Far-from-Disaster Cake". *giggle* Apparently the first time she made it, her ganache separated and she didn't notice it until she had poured it on the cake. A frosting problem though, it had nothing to do with the actual cake. So when she re-posted about the cake, she included a different ganache frosting recipe that worked quite well for her. Mmm hmm.. not so much for me...

Okay the other lesson learned? Stay away from heavy frostings at all costs. It's not like you like those heavier frostings anyway, you ass. Buttercream has always been your friend, be loyal to your friends!! Actually, in all honesty, I don't believe that this new ganache frosting that Molly offered was necessarily heavy - I think I made it heavy by leaving it in the fridge for so long. I didn't want a glaze type frosting so I left it to chill longer than normal to bring it to a thicker consistency. Which ended up being uhh.. a lil too thick.

Okay so what have we learned? Take the cakes out of their pans before they are completely cooled and allow them to cool on a rack. This will better your odds on not having half of your cake stick to the pan. Gah. And.. stick with lighter frostings, even though this was my fault and not the frosting's fault. Just stick with buttercream from now on, for crissakes.

And without further ado...

Kitchen Disaster 2007 Pt. I
Not-So-Far-from-Disaster Cake

Ain't she a thing of beauty? I was asked by a friend, after having seen a picture of this monstrosity, if smoke and flames erupted from the cracks to then be followed by demons. Actually, yes. That did happen. I think there was lava too.. I don't remember it all now - I ran for cover and covered my eyes through most of the ordeal. I did hear strange noises though and Nigel cowered behind me with a low growl in his throat. Chloe went running into the bedroom - the big chickenshit that she is.

Okay - maybe this was my first clue that impending disaster was on it's way...

My cakes have brains.

My cakes had brains. Quite possibly these were actually beings from another world, cleverly disguised as yummy chocolate cakes? Maybe outter-world beings who do not appreciate a nice ganache frosting? Or maybe this was just a sign of the apocalypse. I would not doubt it.

Anyhoo.. you can find the recipe on Orangette's blog - go there for it, kids.. I don't trust the bad juju that will certainly rub off on my blog if I were to include it here.

And seriously, don't let my unfortunate mishap dissuade you from trying this recipe - because Molly was right. This was the most deeply flavored, moist yet fluffy chocolate cake that I ever had the pleasure of massacring. And as with most really good chocolate cakes, it's just getting better and better with each passing day. The crumb is still off a bit - it's not quite there compared to the ultimate chocolate cake I had that day at the party.. but it's super close, I mean.. really, super close. I'd say that if I didn't actually find that ultimate recipe - that this cake is damn near close enough for me to be happy with for the rest of my days. Although frosted with buttercream from now on.. ;)

Okay well.. after having to go through the search procedure to find this recipe over and over again on Molly's blog (because I am a glutton for punishment and make this cake often! hee!) I've decided to slap it in this post - copied verbatim from Molly's Orangette:

Far From Disaster Cake
Courtesy of Molly and Epicurious

3 oz fine-quality semisweet chocolate
1 ½ cups hot brewed coffee
3 cups sugar
2 ½ cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ cups unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process; I use Scharffen Berger)
2 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
1 ¼ tsp salt
3 large eggs
¾ cup canola oil
1 ½ cups well-shaken buttermilk
¾ tsp pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 300 degrees. If you’re making cupcakes, line the wells of your pans with fluted paper liners, or grease and dust them with flour or cocoa. If you’re making larger cakes, grease pans and line bottoms with rounds of wax paper. Grease paper.

Finely chop chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Let mixture stand, stirring occasionally, until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth.

Into a large bowl sift together sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In another (very) large bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer until thickened slightly and lemon-colored (about 3 minutes with a standing mixer or 5 minutes with a hand-held mixer). Slowly add oil, buttermilk, vanilla, and melted chocolate mixture to eggs, beating until combined well. Add sugar mixture and beat on medium speed, bracing yourself against puffs of cocoa-and-flour dust, until just combined well.

Divide batter between pans. Bake in middle of oven 20 to 25 minutes for cupcakes, or 50 to 70 minutes for larger cakes, until a tester inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool cakes completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and remove cupcakes, or invert larger cakes onto racks. If making larger cakes, carefully remove wax paper. Cakes may be made one day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.

Ganache Frosting
Again, adapted from Orangette and Epicurious

1 lb fine-quality semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup heavy cream
2 Tbs sugar
2 Tbs light corn syrup
½ stick (¼ cup) unsalted butter

Finely chop chocolate. In a 1 ½- to 2-quart saucepan, bring cream, sugar, and corn syrup to a boil over moderately low heat, whisking until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and add chocolate, whisking until chocolate is melted. Cut butter into pieces and add to frosting, whisking until smooth.

Transfer frosting to a bowl and cool, stirring occasionally, until spreadable. You may want to place the bowl in the fridge for a bit, but stir it now and then until it cools to your desired consistency. Spread.

One small note.. if you do try this recipe, don't be alarmed if it doesn't look like this one (ha ha no, not the cracks and craters - the color!) as mine is very dark due to the use of Hershey's dark cocoa powder that I wanted to use up. :P

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Comments on "It Is With Great Pleasure That I Bring To You..."


Blogger breadchick said ... (1/17/2007 8:33 AM) : 

You "crack" me up... I love that you publish your disasters as well as your triumphs! And I am going to try this cake. I'll let you know if mine decides to possess our house or tell us to "GET OUT".


Blogger MyKitchenInHalfCups said ... (1/17/2007 8:47 AM) : 

I know pretty would be nice but doesn't taste win out over pretty. Disaster must be in the air. I did gnocchi on Sunday that looked OK but could only be described as tough and heavy by even my most kind critic. But I tried again and had a winner.
Never fear failure.
Peabody said Never give up.
I say Never give up.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1/17/2007 9:06 AM) : 

Aww hon!! LOL!! If it's any consolation, I'd be MORE than happy to pick away at those ganache covered bits of cake, I think it looks delightfully edible - especially with that dark, shiny ganache!


Blogger Brilynn said ... (1/17/2007 9:55 AM) : 

You know I wouldn't be one to laugh at another's misfortune, but BAHAHAHAHAHA!!! I actually laughed out loud when I saw that picture. It's gold, GOLD!

A little suggestion for demolding cake that's stuck firmly to the bottom- fill a larger container with a layer of boiling water and dip your cake pan into it, (this can become a disaster in its own right if you let the water pour over the edges and onto you cake, but otherwise it works) it's amazing what a little heat will do to release the bottom without breaking your cake apart.


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1/17/2007 11:27 AM) : 

oh my are we starting that series again...he..he . Disasters are a staple in my kitchen, its surprising I get anything done at all. Despite the unconventional shape your cake is in, it looks very yummy :) ! Sorta like you just want to dig your spoon in and eat.


Blogger Marce said ... (1/17/2007 11:46 AM) : 

hahaahaha sorry, we aren´t supposed to laugh at your misfortune, but it does look funny. However, if I was around, I´d have certainly have volunteered to have a go at it with a spoon, it looks totally yummy in all its chocolatiness.

And you cracked me up with the brains comment. I remember those brains from when I used cake mixes growing up. They either had brains or had a bit of a hump going on lol


Blogger Acme Instant Food said ... (1/17/2007 12:23 PM) : 


1. You got a delicious cake out of it (even if the dogs do think that pods will sprout of the top and clone your bodies while you sleep).

2. Everyone loves to hear about another's disasters because it makes us feel better about our own (you are doing food bloggers everywhere a huge service!)

3. I needed a laugh and you served one up with great wit and style!

4. I want cake. Right now. At 9:23 am.


Blogger Meeta K. Wolff said ... (1/17/2007 3:07 PM) : 

Fantastic! Lisa I love you for exactly these reasons. Your sense of humor is unbeatable. To be honest even that disaster looked yummy. I'd sit there and eat it with my fingers - anyone want to join me?


Blogger Caribbean Dreamer said ... (1/17/2007 3:20 PM) : 

Lis - you better hurry up and eat the evidence so nobody sees it! LOL Just last night I posted about a whole week of kitchen failures...must be something in the air. Thanks for the laugh!! Looks delicious though - I would call this a "car wrecked cake" at my house.


Blogger Laura Rebecca said ... (1/17/2007 3:40 PM) : 

It still looks like a deep, dark chocolate dream that I would happily jump into!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1/17/2007 6:52 PM) : 

Oh my! That cake did rebel against you just a little. :)


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1/17/2007 8:11 PM) : 

That is the best reason to belly up with a big spoon~ hide the evidence!
Thanks for sharing that~


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1/18/2007 8:00 AM) : 

It looks a lot like every cake I've ever made. Though I must admit I've enjoyed every one of those ugly things.

That's why I let my wife do the baking now, She makes cakes we can actually present to people!


Blogger Lis said ... (1/18/2007 10:23 AM) : 

breadchick - har! I can't wait to hear how yours turns out :D

Tanna - I won't - I'll try this one again. I loved how pretty your gnocchi turned out!

Ellie muh luv - That's what I've been doing ever since.. can't say we've been able to eat a "slice" of cake, it's been more like hunks and chunks.. but dear lord is it tasty. :D

Bril - hahahahahaaaa! I was hoping for that response from you - I was giggling the whole time writing the post thinking about your reaction. lol Thanks for the tip - I will definitely use that knowledge next time I get in a stuck cake bind. :D

Veronica - I kind of find it hard to believe that your disasters outweigh your accomplishments - your food ALWAYS makes me drool!

Marce - thanks for stopping by! And that's okay.. I like to believe that you all are laughing "with" me and not "at" me.. (not that I'd mind either way) hehehee

Kev - You, my dear friend, are quite welcome! :D

Meeta - you are the sweetest =) At least I wasn't wearing my elf outfit when I made the cake ;)

Alison - I read about your week and was cringing the whole time for you! I'm glad you didn't get seriously hurt on those stairs!

LR - Oh yes, my friend.. Oh. Yes.

Peabody - hehe to put it mildly..

Sandi - I agree! haha

Jerry - I'll bet your wife bakes beautiful cakes! And you're right.. they are still very enjoyable. :D


Blogger Gattina Cheung said ... (1/18/2007 10:34 AM) : 

Ok Lis darling, please don't get mad at me if I say this: I think your cho-co-doodle-doo quite cute, and who said cake has to be round and no crack ;p?
I've tasted the ultmate chocolate cake (but in another country... Florence, Italy), so far haven't found any in here closer to that one. Please keep us update in your search sweetie!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1/18/2007 2:12 PM) : 

I'm glad I'm not the only one who this happens to. There's safety in numbers...glad you are out there!


Blogger Callipygia said ... (1/18/2007 6:33 PM) : 

It's AWESOME and so are you. God and it does look good!


Anonymous Anonymous said ... (1/21/2007 7:04 PM) : 

That post is so funny!

And you should know that I would have happily dug my fork into that beautiful blob!


Blogger Monkey Wrangler said ... (1/21/2007 11:34 PM) : 

The uglier the better. As some have mentioned, this usually means that you and you alone get to enjoy the spoils to yourself. Rejoice! And as Sandi said: destroy the evidence.

When in Hawaii a few years ago, it was said that the best Kau oranges were the ugliest ones. Very true. And here in my own neighborhood (at my favorite local patisserie La Farine) I have found that my favorite frangipane are indeed the less "perfect" ones where the marzipan oozes out some, pulling the top down with it, but carmelizing to sheer perfection in a largish "chip" now attached to the side of the deflated croissant. It's sometimes a little odd saying "no, not that one, yeah, yeah right there, the slightly crushed and leaky one. Perfect!"


Blogger Ed Tep said ... (1/22/2007 2:31 AM) : 

Lis - I must say that your cakes looked very smart before they came out of the pan. heh heh. The first cake I ever baked for Dean was a "from scratch" chocolate cake recipe. It didn't rise and so it was more like a 1/2 inch tall brownie. So I ended having to go out and buy a box of cake mix.


Blogger Karin said ... (10/28/2009 2:46 PM) : 

Hey...I have a great Chocolate Cake recipe on my blog. I am in tears over here reading your blog...and not just cause I feel sick today. You have really made me LOL. Thaks.


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