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For a great tutorial, check out the Baking Bible Bake Along with ROSE'S ALPHA BAKERS. The link is on the left side of the blog. We will also be posting "OUT-BAKES" from the book, on this blog, including step-by step photos and other extras.

What is the best chocolate to use for baking?

Mar 25, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose

Generally cocoa (Dutch-processed) gives the best flavor impact in baking. In ganache (heavy cream and chocolate) or chocolate cream pie, where the chocolate is the main ingredient and does not get subjected to long heating, bittersweet chocolate is a good choice.

Brand of chocolate is entirely a matter of personal preference. What tastes good by itself will also taste good when mixed with other ingredients. You be the judge!

Comments

If you do need to order online, the options on Amazon are not bad. But as Rose said, Whole Foods is a good place. Also, The Fresh Market (if there is one near you).

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lisa, sadly green & black's has, at least for the moment, stopped exporting their wonderful cocoa to the US. the onther ones listed are available in whole foods, williams, sonoma, dean and deluca, some supermarkets and specialty stores.

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I am a newbie to baking, but can't wait to get started. I have looked in supermarkets for the better brands of Cocoa Powders, but can only find Ghirardelli. Where can I find the others like, Valrhona, Green & Black's, Callebaut, Pernigotti. Do I have to order them online?

Thanks in advance for your help!

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I tried to post a message earlier today, but I got a message saying it had to be reviewed by the blogmaster first. I've never gotten that message before, but it might have something to do with the fact that I included a link to another page from this blog???

Anyway, I'll try to do it again...

Bonnie - since this is only your second wedding cake, why don't you stick with a tried and true proven recipe like Rose's Chocolate Butter Cake recipe. If you frost and fill it with Rose's Dark Chocolate Ganache, it will be extremely rich.

My first wedding cake was exactly that combination... you can read all about it fi you do a search for "Patrincia's wedding cake".

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you could make the domingo in sheet cake pans but if you wanted to do round stacked layers you'll have to experiment with leavening as per the charts. it may take a few tries to get it right--that's what i go through when i perfect cake recipes for the book.
i would say it would stack very well and fine to frost it.

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Bonnie Greenwood
Bonnie Greenwood
09/25/2007 02:54 PM

Hi Rose! I love your book and I'm in the process of making my second wedding cake! My friends want a rich, dense chocolate cake, like a flourless chocolate cake. Is there anyway to convert the recipe for the Chocolate Domingo Cake for 200 people?? But they also want it frosted, and I know you recommend to not frost that particular cake. And it is possible to stack the cake if it can be converted? I love the Perfect All-American Chocolate Cake, but I'm worried it's not dense enough or is there another recipe that would be better converted?
Thanks for all you do!!
Bonnie

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I agree with you, I got the 11 lbs and vacum sealed it in smaller blocks. I find it TOO sweet. In any case, they will make great x-mas presents. It is dark and shiny and perhaps perfect for snacking than for baking. I used my Mom's Chinese cleaver to cut it, perfect.

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do try it before committing to 11 pounds--it is not among my favorites!

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Thanks Rose, that is what I thought. I think I will get an 11 lb block of Callebaut 56.8% (seems to be the most common among local pastry chefs), and some coins of the more expensive ones.

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him/her!!!
oxygen is the enemy of non-living things, i.e. solid block will be exposed to less air than the coins HOWEVER if you have a food vacuumer, then the coins are so practical and will keep just as well as they will not be exposed to air on all the many surfaces.

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Rose, we L_O_V_E how you write!!! Quick question, what is best to keep for about 2 years of use: a block of chocolate or coins?

The evil in me is hoping that one of my guests would be so thrilled with the fountain so it can go home with he/she!!! I rather do chocolate fondue in my Rufoni pot!

I think the ganache(s) will work. In fact today, I will pick up an 11 lb block of bittersweet chocolate, perhaps Callebaut 56.8% or Tobler 59% or Valrhona 72%!!! I can't make up my chocolate mind.

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that is some gift (for the baker who has everything) and everyone listening: do not send me one! though with all the entertaining you do hector i'm sure you'll have great fun.
i have absolutely no idea how they work or what consistency is required but i can say this: if it works--light ganache will be fabulous bu then so would dark--and what about my favorite--the raspberry ganache!

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Hector - you might want to make sure your guests don't "double dip" into that fountain!

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Dear Rose, I know you don't practice chocolate fountains, neither do I!!!!! there is not much baking on it. However, I was given one, and now I need to use it. I have been reading recipes for fountains, and most call for vegetable oil or cream. What I plan to do is use your Light Whipped Chocolate Ganache recipe, pour the hot processed mix onto the fountain, I think the consistency is right, and then the left overs will turn into strawberry flavored chocolate ganache? (we will just dip strawberries). Can you sense that this will work?

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i used to use tobler extra bitter sweet. now i'd try valrhona le noir gastronomie which is i think around 61% or maybe even a higher % valrhona to balance the sweetness of the nougatine.

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Dear Rose, lets say I will make a Triple Chocolate Cake for you. Which chocolate will make Rose happy?.

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/chocolate.html

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probably the cakes are low in fat which protects them better from moisture and flvaor loss. i suspect that freezing always results in a decrease in virbrancy of flavor--in some cakes more significant than in others.

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I tend to make a batch
flourless chocolate cakes that I freeze and use over the course of a month. I've noticed that at that time the chocolate seems to weaken in flavor. Can you suggest a reason/remedy ? Thanks.

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Rose & Aaron, thank you so much for solving this mystery. I've made this recipe twice, following it to the T and still could not figure out why the texture was dry. Earlier tonight, I even told my husband I'd have to try another choc. cake recipe next time, but after reading this thread I absolutely plan to give it another shot. Thanks again.
Rose, I love your book--it is one of my most-used wedding gifts. :-)

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Wow... deeply indebted? Because I still haven't had a chance to pick up a copy of the revised Cake Bible yet... and I'm a *huge* fan of you and your work, Rose... and I think books are so much nicer when they've been signed by the author... :-D

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this is more than a minor footnote--this is an all important cake! and i use the technique of liberating flavor with boiling water added to cocoa for several wonderful chocolate cakes so truly we are all deeply indebted to you.
we are planning for the fall of 2008.

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You're welcome! I'm glad I could help - it drove me crazy until I figured out what was going wrong. Having contributed even a minor footnote to the new book will have me doing happy dances all week!
Speaking of the New Book, any idea when it may be released?

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Thank you very very much, Aaron!!

I will definitely remember your tip the next time I bake a chocolate cake.

Rose, Thanks for mentioning the cover part because I never cover the chocolate mixture anyway, so Aaron's point does make a lot of sense, especially in a warm kitchen.

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aaron, i am so enormously grateful to you. after 18 years you are the only one to solve this problem. i thought it was over -baking.then i thought it was mis-measuring the flour. finally i thought i'd never figure out what people are doing without actually being there and if not for you i probably never would have.

you see i always cover everything with plastic wrap that is not going to be used right away--especially chocolate and water!

now i will be sure to add this vital piece of information to the new book.

this is so important i'm going to post it in the FAQ's so everyone will be sure to see it.

thank you!!!

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I have a comment for Juliana, so I hope she sees this -

I've been using Rose's chocolate cake recipes for nearly two years, and always had the same problem - I weighed every ingredient carefully, had the oven spot on 350, and every time, the cake would bake perfectly, but would serve out dry and crumbly. The strange thing was that when I made yellow or white cakes, this didn't happen. Last week I figured out why.
When you use hot water to dissolve the cocoa powder, then let it sit to cool, some of the water evaporates. I stated measuring the water/cocoa mixture *after* it cooled, and found that I was loosing as much as two ounces of water, depending on the conditions in my kitchen! Adding a little room-temp. water, just before mixing the cocoa/water with the other ingredients has totally solved this problem. Just last weekend, I made a wedding cake with a 12-inch, two-layer middle tier of chocolate, baked and iced the day before the event. When served, the cake was soft and moist and the texture perfect.

I hope this helps!

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the original recipe called for two 1 1/2 inch high pans so for the revision i suggested the more available 2 inch high pan and two-thirds the recipe. since it is now a deeper pan it takes longer to bake. look at the suggested baking times for 2 inch high cakes for a guideline.
i find it is safe to remove the cake for testing with a thermometer toward the end of baking when it doesn't quite spring back but is almost at that point.

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Hi Rose,

I baked your Perfect All-American Chocolate Butter Cake recently, using 2/3 of the recipe to make one layer. The recipe said bake for 25 to 35 mins. After 25 mins, the cake wobbled slightly when I pull out the pan a little, so I left it for another 5 mins. After 5 mins, the cake cracked and the cracks looked wet, so I left it for another 5 mins. After 5 mins (which is the max time that your recipe recommended), I press the surface and it sprang back, so I took the cake out. It looked moist.

But after the cake has cooled and I serve it, I find the cake to be quite dry and crumbly.

I didn't try the thermometer method that you recommended because even though my thermometer is an instant-read digital thermomether, it still takes some time for the numbers to reach the actual temp, and I was afraid that leaving the oven door open for that time to check the cake would cause it to collapse (if it was underbaked).

At which point could I remove the cake out of the oven or safely test its temp without it collapsing?

Thanks.

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Hi Rose,

Thanks very much for your advice. I'll remember that when I bake a chocolate cake next time.

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an instant read thermometer should register 190 degrees fahrenheit and the cake tester (best to use a wooden tooth pick or skewer comes out with barely any crumbs on it.

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Hi Rose,

The chocolate cakes that I make from your recipes tend to come out somewhat dry. I suspect that it could be because they are overbaked.

Your recipes usually give a range of time (eg. 30 to 40 mins) for baking. How do I tell whether I should continue baking or if the chocolate cake can be removed from the oven even though it still looks wet?

I have this problem with both cocoa-based cakes and chocolate-based cakes.

Thanks.

Juliana.

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1. do a search on this blog--i know i've addressed this before

2. in case you don't find it: rolled fondant is the most stable--mousseline the most stable of the buttercreams--depends on the temperature of the location.

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I am having a Sep 3 wedding and the baker plans to cover the cake with buttercream frosting, which I think is too soft since it's still warm that time of year and the reception is being held in a canopied garden area. What option do you recommend. I love the taste of the buttercream, but I think it is too delicate and unforgiving for the florist to decorate with fresh flowers. Suggestions?

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i don't make this type of cake but i did see something on it in sweet celebrations "mailbox news" one issue back. why don't you give them a call. they have an 800 # in MN.

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HI!!
I am looking for some input on how to stack the "crooked" or "cattywhompas" shaped cakes. I normally use the "Coast" pillar and plate system which I find to be to most simple to assemble and reliable in transporting a stacked tiered cake. But, it won't work for the irregular shape of these cake tiers. I have read about using dowels and foamcore as support, but am wary of the transportation stability. Any suggestions?
thanks in advance!
Kelly
Glass Slipper Gourmet

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wilton wouldn't make them if it weren't advisable to stack them that high. the biggest problem is transporting a stacked cake in which case bakers usually place a stack through the entire cake. of course with the dividers you can't do this without drilling a hole through the centers but it isn't necessary if you're stacking them in the reception hall!

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Hi!! What is the normal recommendation for how high you can stack a tiered wedding cake? I want to use the whole set of wilton's crystal clear cake divider, with the 7 inch push through pillars. Can I stack a cake that high without it toppling? I have a sturdy table in a reception hall, so it's not outside or anything like that!

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Betsy Markum
Betsy Markum
05/23/2006 05:25 AM

I can't believe it, my co-worker just bought a car for $57775. Isn't that crazy!

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michelle, you can ceratinly use a good quality baking chip for chopped baking chocolate as long as the percentage of cocoa mass is similar. but if the chocolate needs to be chopped into fine pieces in order for the recipe to work, then you will need to chop the chips as well.

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barbara, i know i answered your question somewhere else on this blog so hope you found it. essentially i said to start at least 25 degrees higher as oven temp. drops when you open the door and will take longer to recover with all those pans in the oven!

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i can only speculate. first of all, make sure there is space between all the pans for air flow. use convection if you have the option.
what will happen when you load the oven is that the temperature will drop and will take longer to return to temperature. i would start 25 degrees higher.

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DEar Rose can you substitute good chocolate baking chips for a recipe if it calls for choppped baking chocolate?

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Does the number of cakes in the oven at one time effect the baking temperature? I will be baking six egg shaped pans at a time (they do all fit) but wondered if that will change the baking time & temp.
Thanks

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not a good idea: the moisture in the buttercream would soften the royal icing. and it's o.k. to post wherever it lands--it comes to me!

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I just realized this is not where I should have posted this question..oopsie.

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I was wondering if I can use royal icing as ornamental icing( I want to make my daughter's wedding cake with cornelli lace, all over) on top of buttercream. I mean the real buttercream, made out of granulated sugar and egg whites, whipped together with butter. I just got my buttercream recipe down perfect, but I don't want to ruin it, if the two types of icing shouldn't be used on the same cake.

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