Friday, 10 June 2011

baking for a friend

This is a much delayed post...exactly two weeks late, pardon my tardiness!

I thought I could manage to squeeze in sometime to update my blog before we left for a short trip to Malaysia. Alas, I was so tight up with booking the accommodations, drawing up the itinerary, looking up google maps for addresses for places of interest and ploughing through websites and blogs to hunt down famous eating places along our drive up to Penang. I couldn't post this up soon after we were back home as I was busy cleaning up the house and washing and ironing loads after loads of laundry :(

Back to the theme of this post...


I have in mind to bake this classic chocolate torte for my cake friend just before the end of the school term. I thought it would be a good way for her to celebrate the start of the school holidays with her children. I was quite confident that even the most picky eater would not be able to reject a slice of chocolate cake :)


So far this is the 'safest', almost fool-proof cake for me to bake and give away.

The ingredients are simple enough...they are items that are easily retrieved from most home bakers' pantries.

The preparation method is almost similar to baking a chiffon cake...the only difference is, this cake is baked using a normal round cake pan.

There is no worry about the cake not rising tall and mighty in the oven, what we really want to achieve is a dense, sunken and cracked cake!

There is no frosting required to decorate the cake. Just a simple light dusting of icing sugar does the trick.

Even though I have not made this cake for ages, I was very satisfied with the result...at least it was something that I wasn't too shy to give away, especially to a fellow home baker.

This time I managed to deliver the cake in one piece :)
It was indeed a delight to hear that my cake friend liked it, and to top if off, this is the exact same cake which brought her to my blog. She was wondering why someone would blog about a cracked and sunken cake (^^''')



After hearing from my friend how the texture of the cake turned out...smooth and soft...just the way it should be, I couldn't resist the temptation and went on to bake another one a few days later. This time it was for my husband when he came home to spend a week with us.

This second cake appeared to crack more than the previous one even though I didn't do anything different. The cake produced a nice dome while baking in the oven. Towards the end of the baking time, it started to sink. Upon cooling, the cake collapsed further forming a very sunken centre and kinked sides.


Don't be deceived by its ugly appearance...the cake was wonderfully moist and chocolatey. However, I must alert those with sweet tooth...the semi-sweet dark chocolates, with at least 60% cocoa content, plus the unsweetened cocoa powder I used, made this cake tasted a little bitter. But for those who prefer dark chocolates to milk chocolates, this is the cake to make whenever you crave for something with a very intense chocolate taste.



Although the cake looks dense and 'kueh-like', the texture is actually very smooth and soft, almost like eating a slice of cheesecake. I attribute the soft and fine crumbs to the minimal flour used in the recipe. This cake is best eaten at room temperature and as with most chocolate cakes, the cake tastes even better when left overnight. I have planned to submit this post for the last Aspiring Bakers event, but I didn't manage to meet the deadline, hope I am able to participate in the next round.



Classic Chocolate Torte

Ingredients:
(make one 18cm cake)

150g dark chocolate
100g unsalted butter
3 egg yolks
20g caster sugar
30g cake flour
15g cocoa powder

3 egg whites
50g caster sugar

icing sugar for dusting


Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 170 degC. Line the bottom of an 18cm round pan (with removable base) with parchment paper. Grease and flour the sides. Separate egg whites from egg yolks when the eggs are still cold from the fridge. (It's easier to separate eggs while they are cold). Sift together flour and cocoa powder, twice, set aside.
  2. Melt dark chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of simmering water (make sure the bowl is able to sit above the water and it should cover the pot so that steam will not get inside the bowl). Remove from heat. Let cool.
  3. With a manual whisk, whisk egg yolks with 20g of the caster sugar, till the mixture turns pale, becomes thick and creamy. Add in the melted chocolate/butter mixture. Whisk till well mixed. Add in flour mixture and fold gently with a spatula. Set aside.
  4. In a clean, dry mixing bowl, beat egg whites with a handheld electric mixer on low speed until mixture becomes frothy and foamy.  Add half of the sugar amount and turn to high speed and beat the mixture. Continue to add in the remaining sugar and beat until the egg whites reaches the soft peak stage.The soft peak stage is reached when the peaks of the whites curl over and droop slightly. The egg whites should appear smooth and glossy. (Do not over beat the whites still stiff, it is better to beat the whites still soft peaks for easy folding with the yolk batter.)
  5. Add the egg white to the egg yolk mixture in three addition. Each time, fold in gently with a spatula, making sure all the egg whites are incorporated into the batter. Note that any unmixed egg white lumps may cause holes in the final product.
  6. Pour batter into the prepared cake pan. Tap the cake pan slightly on tabletop a few times to release any trapped bubbles in the batter. Bake at 170 degC for 30 ~ 35 mins, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out with a few moist crumb. The cake surface will start to crack while still in the oven.
  7. Remove cake from oven, leave it in the pan for about 5mins. Unmould and let cool, right side up (do not invert) on wire rack. The cake is best eaten at room temperature. If stored in fridge, bring the cake to room temperature before serving.
Recipe source: adapted from Delicious!! Baked Cakes

49 comments:

  1. ohh... i would love to have a slice of this as well!! lovely torte HHB!

    ReplyDelete
  2. 很浓郁的巧克力,是赞的喔:)

    ReplyDelete
  3. It's so nice to have a cake friend like you.

    I have not baked any choc torte but I think it suppose to look like this. I have a cake book and the choc torte featured in the cake book looks exactly the same as urs. :-)

    Have a nice weekend ahead!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Don't judge a cake by its look.... I love bitter chocolate... yum yum ^_^

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love flourless/ almost flourless chocolate cakes like this. They are very light on the palate and yet are fudgey at the same time. Yes indeed, we can judge chocolate cakes by their looks.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Look so nice! Must be very Yummy!

    Papacheong
    http://home-cook-dishes-for-family.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  7. this looks delicious! i believe i made something like this last year, and it turned out so rich and chocolaty! although the recipe i made called for some chinese 5 spice. yum! can't wait to make this.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi HHB you are making me like chocolate again and again..

    ReplyDelete
  9. It looks sinfully rich and I am sure it taste good.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Just found your blog and cake recipe by accident. I'm glad I did. You make the cake sound so yummy - and it looks yummy too.

    I will have to translate it to cups and ounces. Thanks so much for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  11. This torte looks gorgeous. I am having an overdose of choc right now.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hi HHB, can you share with me your experience with your new oven from Bosch? I'm also looking for a simple oven mainly for baking purpose for my new kitchen. So those information you have written in Nov last year really help. Thanks a lot.

    ReplyDelete
  13. hehe .. sounds like a cake i can try, since it is meant to be sunken and cracked. How easy to achieve those isn't it? hahahaha.

    I am also busy doing what you have written (tasks before your trip). Imagine I am flying this friday and I only have 2 days accommodation confirmed and booked out of 8 days. Does it get you worried now that I said it. hehehe.

    I guess I will be mia in my blog for at least a month too..... Hope you have a nice trip in Malaysia .. so when I go next, I can ask you for itinery lor ;-)

    ReplyDelete
  14. that's so sweet of you (: the cake look so chocolatey! (: sure taste GREAT! (:

    ReplyDelete
  15. another wonderful cake! i must give it a try:D thanks for the great recipe~

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hi Sue,

    Just to let you know, my previous oven is a small 20-litre tabletop oven, there is only top heat, no other function. My review here is based on using it as a point of reference. The Bosch oven has got more functions (compared to my old tabletop)...I tried baking cookies on two trays, using the 3D hot air function they were browned evenly...at least I dont have to turn the tray around half way into baking. I made two pizzas on separate racks, both browned/cooked at the same time too (even the one at the bottom was evenly cooked). The oven temperature is quite stable...unlike my previous one...which could drop by 20degC after I put in the cake. I tried roasting a chicken, it takes about 50mins to get nicely browned, whereas my previous one could take 1.5hrs. But, it was a tedious job trying to clean the oven after roasting as you need to clean the oil stains at the side walls, since it doesnt come with self cleaning function. I have tried baking chiffon cake using the top and bottom heat and it turned out well. However, do note that my Bosch oven is the cheapest, most basic range. It works well for me as I am only using it to bake simple cakes, nothing fancy. Hope this helps :)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi HHB,
    Thanks a lot for your reply. Your reply has more or less helped me to make up my mind which brand to choose. I have seen good comments from other bakers about Bosch oven. As I'm using oven with the same purpose as you, which is mainly baking and maybe roasting, I will also go for entry level model. Thanks also for bringing up your experience with roasting chicken. In fact, I am afraid of the tedious cleaning job after roasting and have not been trying it even though I have the oven for more than 5 years. As for the self cleaning function, i read from some baker said it's energy consuming as it will heat the oven up to something like 500degree for 1-2 hrs just the burn the stain to ush. They said it's easier to use vinegar+soda+water or soda+water (can't remember exactly) to wipe it. Not sure if you have read about this. Need to search for this info again. My memory is really poor nowadays. Thanks again for your much helpful reply.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Sue, so far I find this Bosch oven quite good :)

    After roasting the first time, there were oil stains at the side walls of the oven, cant remove it..luckily the interior is black so the stain is not so obvious ;)

    I have since came up with a way to reduce the oil splatter when roasting chicken...I lined the sides of my roasting pan with alum foil...to create 'four walls' to minimise the oil splatter. Hope you know what I mean? It really helps. but I must say, we should try to avoid using foil in food preparation especially when the foils comes into contact with the food...and especially acidic food.

    Thanks for the tips on how to remove the stains...will look up for the info.

    ReplyDelete
  19. your chocolate Torte look so tempting!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hi HHB
    I managed to find the information from Wendy of Table For 2 or more blog. Go to 果酸豆腐花on Nov 11,2010, some bloggers mentioned about using soda+water and vinegar+soda to clean stain in oven. Hope that this really works. Thanks for the idea of erecting 4 walls with aluminium foil. This will give me more confidence to roast chicken.

    ReplyDelete
  21. The texture looks moist. I wish you are my neighbor :p

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi, I want to make this cake in the form of cupcakes so am i able to reduce the baking time to 20-30mins? Making it for a friend's birthday :)

    Thanks
    Lx

    ReplyDelete
  23. Hi Lx, I am sorry I have not tried baking them in cupcakes form, you can try to reduce the baking time to 20mins, and probably test for doneness at 15mins.

    ReplyDelete
  24. hihi,

    thanks a lot for your wonderful recipes and clear instructions. I'm going to bake this cake tomorrow and would like to ask if it's ok for me to use a 9 inch pan instead of an 18cm one? Do I have to adjust the proportion of ingredients accordingly?

    thanks a lot!

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi Eliza, do not use a 9" pan, the cake will be too short. If you want to use a 9" pan, you will have to increase the portion. I have not tried it, but you can multiply the ingredients amount by 5/3 times, ie use 5 eggs instead of 3 eggs. Do take note to adjust the baking time, you may need to bake it for another 5~10mins longer.

    ReplyDelete
  26. Hihi,

    Thanks a lot for your prompt reply! I managed to get a 7" pan so it was fine:) The cake turned out well too! He liked it a lot, so did the rest of the family. thanks a lot for your clear instructions once again:)

    ReplyDelete
  27. Hey HHB! :D
    I'm a 14 year old SG girl and just got interested in baking. Your blog is super inspiring ^^ I just tried this out, and it tastes uh-mazing. Thanks!
    However, for some weird reason, it didn't rise, so it wasn't really chocolate cake, more...chocolate pizza ish. I didn't have cake flour and used self-rising flour instead. Could that have been the problem?
    Thanks! (:

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi Chrissie, Self raising flour has got baking powder added in it, whereas cake flour doesn't...this recipe doesn't requires the use of baking powder, so by right, with the added baking powder, your cake should rise even more.
    very likely you didn't beat the egg whites correctly, or you may have deflated the batter when folding the whites to the yolk mixture, you need to Fold (a technique which u can google for demo videos) and not stir the batter. Hope this helps :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. couldnt you please give us measurements in cups? thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hi, the original recipe is in weight, you may use any online conversion to help you to convert, but the measurement may not be accurate and may affect the result.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Hi HHB,
    I saw this recipe when you first blogged about it in 2007, then again in 2008. Now I've finally made it! I'm a pretty experienced baker but have 1 question though: When combining the chocolate+butter mixture with the whipped egg yolks, how much do you mix?
    I think I overmixed! It became kind of like chocolate ganache: super smooth and no sign of tiny air bubbles! Then when I folded in the flour, it was really thick. (Later, folding in beaten egg whites was ok, but just curious about the yolk+chocolate step!).
    Thanks for such an inspiring blog!!

    ReplyDelete
  32. Hi Anika, thanks for reading my blog and trying out this recipe. Just need to mix the melted chocolate mixture to the eggs mixture until just blended, you need not whisk or mix too hard. and yes, after adding in the flour, the mixture will be very thick and gooey. I think as long as you don't over mix after the flour is added, the chocolate-yolk batter shouldnt affect the final result. How did you cake turn out? Hope you like it!

    ReplyDelete
  33. Hi HHB,

    Thanks for your reply! It was delicious! Such a nice texture! ^_^ I was wondering though: in the two older posts on this cake, did it also sink? (you mention explicitly in this post that the cake sank in the middle)

    Anika

    ReplyDelete
  34. Anika, yes, the cake sank, it is meant to be, with a nice sunken centre :):)

    ReplyDelete
  35. hi happyhomebaker :)
    it's been a while since i've left a comment. but i've still been following your blog all these while and it always inspires me to bake. anyway i've just tried this recipe and it's soooo good!! yummms. thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
  36. hi joyful, glad to hear that you like this cake, it is one of my favourite!

    ReplyDelete
  37. So should i replace dark choc with milk or put half dark and half milk chocolate instead of all dark chocolate as you said it tasted a bit bitter. thanks

    ReplyDelete
  38. Hi, for rich chocolaty taste and flavour please do not use milk chocolate. You may use semisweet dark chocolates with about 55-60% cocoa content. The chocolates I used had 6 more than 6% so it was more bitter.

    ReplyDelete
  39. Hi HHB!

    I commented here last year on 12/3/12 under the name 'Chrissie' and had failed then. Just today, I revisited this recipe to try it as my 15 year old self. It was really good — dense yet soft, moist and chocolatey! Yes, I do think I hadn't learnt how to fold at that time (I think I thought it meant 'stir', silly me.)

    Thanks for your encouragement and prompt reply, it really motivated me to bake more. Keep writing, I love your blog! :)

    ReplyDelete
  40. Hi Chrissie, glad to hear about your successful attempt this time :):)
    With the acquired knowledge to 'fold', I am sure you will have a wonderful time churning out beautiful cakes one after another. happy baking!

    ReplyDelete
  41. Hi hi, just to share that I made this for my birthday a few weeks ago and it tasted wonderful! I really love how moist and smooth it tasted when I bit into a slice. A keeper for sure! Only thing is the hubs thot the chocolate was too strong (I used Valrhona) and asked me to reduce it next time... haha. Thanks for sharing the recipe. I enjoy reading your blog.

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hi, great to hear that your cake turn out wonderful! Can't agree more that the texture is very smooth and moist...just the thought of it makes me want to hop into the kitchen to bake one right now! I have only baked with valrhona 55%, it is not bitter at. I will love to try the 66% or 70% chocolates ;)

    ReplyDelete
  43. Hi! Baked this last week.. though the top crust didnt really crack as nicely as urs, the taste is still very good! Can I check, is it ok if I were to add some macademia nuts or marshmallows into the mixture? What should I take note?

    ReplyDelete
  44. Hi Jas, I have not tried adding nuts to this. I think the smooth, velvety texture may be compromised.

    ReplyDelete
  45. Hi dear I'm baking in process but was wondering does it need to be kept in the fridge if didn't finish it?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can leave it under room temperature for up to 2 days.

      Delete