Friday, May 25, 2012

Bakefest! - Eggless Chocolate Cake - Double layered and frosted!

After a brief hiatus after my eggless strawberry muffins project, a lot of which involved packing and moving, I made this eggless double-layered chocolate cake over the last 2 days for my uncle's birthday.
This is a 2-layer chocolate cake which I covered with whipped cream frosting and decorated with store-bought buttercream frosting.

The cake recipe is adapted from Joy of Baking. Although the recipe calls for 2 cakes to be made on the same day, I split my work and made the two layers on 2 days because I just have that much time on my hands (not!), when either R is not seeking my attention or I have office work to attend to.

I will give the recipe first, and my thoughts later in the post.

Cake Recipe

For 1 layer cake, you will need:

  • All Purpose Flour - 1&1/8 cup 
  • Baking Powder - 1 tsp
  • Baking Soda - 1/2 tsp
  • Cocoa Powder - 1/6 cup
  • Butter (at room temperature) - 1/2 cup
  • Sugar - 1cup
  • Chocolate (chopped and room temperature) - 60 grams
  • Salt - 1/8 tsp
  • Vanilla essence - 1 tsp
  • Egg substitution - 1.5 Tablespoons flax seed powder dissolved in 4.5 Tbsp warm water and kept aside for 5 minutes
  • Boiling water - 1/2 cup
  • Milk - 1/2 cup
What you need to do

  • Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
  • Spray the cake pan with non-stick spray and line it with parchment paper
  • Put the chopped chocolate and cocoa powder in a bowl and add the boiling water to it. Stir till the chocolate melts and it becomes a homogenous mixture
  • In a bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt
  • In an electric mixer, whisk the butter for about 2-3 minutes till it becomes creamy
  • Gradually add the sugar to the butter and beat with mixer for 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl periodically to make sure all the mixture is getting beat
  • Add the flax seed mixture to the mixer bowl and combine with the butter-sugar
  • Add the chocolate-cocoa liquid and vanilla essence to the mixer bowl and mix it all together well for 1-2 minutes
  • Add the sifted dry ingredients and the milk to the mixer, alternately, starting with the flour mixture and ending with the flour mixture
  • Give it all a good mixing, so that everything is well incorporated
  • Pour the batter into the readied cake pan
  • Bake in oven for 30 minutes

So, as obvious from the title, you will need to bake 2 such cakes and allow them to cool completely before starting with the frosting.


Frosting Recipe

Whipping cream or heavy cream with a butterfat content of 35%-40% is not widely available in Chennai. I found out, recently, that the brand Rich's is available at a shop called Aura & Co. in Teynampet. But I have not been able to go there and pick it up because of all the new one-way problems on Mount Road, and also because I was not sure when I will be needing it.

A convenient alternative is to use BlueBird Whipped Cream powder, which I had purchased a while back and seemed easier to go through with than making proper butter cream. This is available in all department stores like Nuts N Spices, Big Bazaar, Nilgiris etc. I simply followed the directions on the pack -- which said to dissolve contents of the pack in 90 ml chilled water and to beat it for 3 minutes in an electric mixer and refrigerate. The only other tip that I took away from Joy of Baking was to put my mixer bowl and beaters in the freezer for 15 minutes before whipping. I whipped the cream for about 4-5 minutes because I did not use the maximum speed, and I could see that my cream was somewhere between soft and hard peaks. I refrigerated it for a couple of hours until I took it out to frost. I wanted chocolate frosting, so I added 2-3 Tablespoons of cocoa powder to the whipped cream. But, this does not really give a good chocolaty color to it, so I think next time I will add melted chocolate to it. Instead, I added few drops of Americolor Chocolate color gel.

Because I have never used the original whipping cream, I cannot compare what I made to the same. But it did hold shape properly, given the amount of heat that Chennai goes through in May.

For the decoration part, I used Betty Crocker's Ready to Use Cupcake Frosting, which I found at Amma Naana. The price is quite steep, and I think making buttercream at home would be more satisfactory, but I already had this at home and did not have extra time to make buttercream from scratch.
The frosting is a lovely Buttercup Yellow in color -- but I wanted something different, so I added few drops of Americolor Orange color gel to get a peachish-orange color for decorating.

Assembling the cake

  • Spray a large plate with a non-stick spray and put one of the cake layers on it. I leave it to your judgement to decide which cake should be which layer and whether it should be top-up or bottom-up. 
  • Put a big dollop of the whipped cream frosting on the first layer and spread it out evenly with an offset spatula
  • Place the second layer of cake on top of the frosted first layer and repeat the process
  • Once the top of the cake is reasonably smoothly covered, use the remaining whipped cream to cover the sides of the cake.
  • Put this in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes, if you live in tropical climates like I do. By the time I had finished covering the cake with frosting, it was starting to melt.
  • Take the assembled cake out of the refrigerator and use a pastry bag fitted with whatever tip suits your fancy and filled with the buttercream to decorate it as you like.
This is how my cake finally looked

My thoughts and learnings
  • My cakes weren't perfect. Both of them got burnt slightly at the bottom and the second one was breaking by the time I was assembling the cakes. Anyone have any thoughts on what I could do to improve this? Although, I am blaming my oven for the burn.
  • It was definitely way easier to do things with an electric mixer than with a hand beater. Next post, I will put up photos and descriptions of all the baking stuff that I got from USA.
  • The measuring cups and spoons were a god-send. Otherwise, earlier, I used to rely on my general not-so-great judgement on measurements
  • I bought the Wilton 53-piece supreme cake decorating set. I used the disposable pastry bags and tip 16 for all the decoration and tip 3 for writing the message
  • This was my first time writing and decorating a cake with professional tools and icing. I do hope to improve tremendously
  • I bought a 10-piece silicon bakeware set (also from US). The cake mold that you see in the first photo is one of the 2 round cake pans that this set contains. Usually, silicon bakeware does not require greasing or parchment paper -- but I still went ahead and did both. The cake did come out very easily from the sides and bottom. The parchment paper stuck to some of the burnt areas, so I just took those off along with the paper.
Oh, and at the time of posting this, I still haven't tasted the cake. It is sitting in my refrigerator as I write, waiting for the cutting ceremony this evening. I will post an update about how it tasted.

So, until the next Bakefest posting, peace out!


pari said...

was wondering for quite a while if the readymade whipping cream was tasty and safe enough. you seem to be pretty pleased with the results,guess i can give it a try too..u wer right abt one thing..its really diffficult to get good baking essentials in chennai :(

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