Friday, May 8, 2009

Self-Medicating with Cake

Don't worry. It's just chocolate cake. Delicious, fudgy, chocolate cake. With chocolate frosting. I'm going through a bit of a down time, so what's a better pick-me-up than chocolate cake? It's such a female cliche, but I embrace it wholeheartedly. And if you have a problem with it - no cake for you!

(that unforgettable first bite...)

I did practice a modicum of self-control, I only made a half portion (yield = 6 cupcakes) so I wouldn't be swimming in cake for the next week or so. Not that it's a bad thing.

Chocolate Cake
(1/2 portion recipe, yield - 6 cupcakes)

4 tablespoons butter
1 oz chocolate, bittersweet, chopped
1/4 cup cocoa powder

1/3 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/3 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350F
Prepare your choice of 8" cake pan (1), 6 cup muffin tin or
mini-muffin tin.

Combine butter, chocolate, and cocoa. Melt and set aside.
Sift together flour, baking soda, and baking powder in a small bowl.
In a medium bowl, whisk eggs until broken up. Add sugar, vanilla, and salt. Whisk until
thoroughly combined.
Add chocolate and mix until incorporated.

Stir in dry ingredients alternately with sour cream.

Bake until a cake tester comes out clean - about 18-20min.

Chocolate Frosting
(adapted from Mrs.Milman's Frosting, c/o Martha Stewart)

6oz chocolate, chopped
1 cup cream
1 teaspoon corn syrup (oh $^!#. I totally forgot about this!!)
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (optional, my extra touch)

In a small saucepan, heat cream and chocolate over medium heat until thickened. About 20 minutes or so. Add corn syrup.
Let set in the fridge for about 2 hours until stiff enough to spread.
Before use, add extract and fold into frosting.

Do you like my cupcake liners? I was watching el Martha and she had some guests from Sweet Revenge bakery (New York, NY) and they use a similar technique with 'yellowed' parchment. This is also the way many Chinese bakeries bake their sponge cakes.
From a typical roll of parchment, unfurl a piece about 5" wide. Cut this strip (5 by 15 or so) into three, so ideally you will have three 'squares' or square-ish shapes. From each corner, cut a slit towards the centre (I am really losing it, I nearly spelled center "scentre") so it kind of looks like you have four 'triangles' merged together at their points. Do not cut all the way to the centre - you want to leave enough space between the cuts (in the middle) that is approximately the diameter of the bottom of your muffin tin. Carefully bring up the sides and overlap them so they form a cup. Carefully place into your muffin tin and fill with batter. I used a large ice cream scoop for equal distribution.

I have to be honest. I ate one frosted cupcake before I thought to put in the peppermint extract. Even for me, it was almost too chocolately. Next time, I will use a milk or semi-sweet in the frosting instead of the 72% dark. So I put in a bit of mint (amazingly- the smell of mint was wafting through the air to inspire me at that moment!) to lighten it up. I would say add as much as you like - I used about 1 teaspoon, but I could have doubled that easily since the chocolate packed so much punch.

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