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A New Chocolate Cake for Father's Day

Jun 16, 2012 | From the kitchen of Rose

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The Chocolate Pavarotti

Pavarotti.jpg

Perhaps the most remarkable sound I have ever heard was achieved by Luciano Pavarotti, in a recording of Bellini's Il Pirata, when he reached an impossible sounding E above high C. This cake is dedicated to him and will appear in my upcoming book.

In the past, I've added melted white chocolate to yellow cake, and also to white cake, with excellent results of higher rise and more moistness. One day it suddenly dawned on me that it could be equally wonderful in a dark chocolate cake. Yes!

The Chocolate Pavarotti
Serves about 8

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Bake 30  to 40 minutes

Makes:  A 1-7/8 inch high cake

The Batter

INGREDIENTS

MEASURE

WEIGHT

volume

ounces

grams

white chocolate containing cocoa butter, chopped

.

4 ounces

113 grams

unsweetened cocoa powder (alkalized)

1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon (sifted before measuring)

1.5 ounces

42 grams

boiling water

1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces)

4.2 ounces

118 grams

2 large eggs, preferably Safest Choice Pasteurized, room temperature

1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (3 fluid ounces)

3.5 ounces

100 grams

water

3 tablespoons (1-1/2 fluid ounces)

1.5 ounces

44 grams

pure vanilla extract

1-1/2 teaspoons

-

-

bleached cake flour

1-1/2 cups (sifted into the cup and leveled off)

5.5 ounces

156 grams

superfine sugar

3/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon

5.7 ounces

162 grams

baking powder

3-1/4 teaspoons

-

-

salt

1 teaspoon

-

-

unsalted butter (65˚ to 75˚F/19˚ to 23˚C)

8 tablespoons (1 stick)

4 ounces

113 grams

canola, safflower, or sunflower oil, room temperature

2 tablespoons

1 ounce

28 grams

Special Equipment One 9 by 2-inch cake pan, encircled with a cake strip, bottom coated with shortening, topped with parchment round, then lightly coated with baking spray with flour.

Preheat the Oven Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F/175˚C.

Melt the White Chocolate Heat the chocolate until almost completely melted. Use a small microwavable bowl, stirring with a silicone spatula every 15 seconds (or the top of a double boiler set over hot, not simmering, water, stirring often- do not let the bottom of the container touch the water.).

Remove the chocolate from the heat source and, with the silicone spatula, stir until fully melted. Allow the chocolate to cool until it is no longer warm to the touch but is still fluid.

Mix the Cocoa and Water In a medium bowl whisk the cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent evaporation and cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes. To speed cooling, place it in the refrigerator. Bring it to room temperature before proceeding.

Mix the Remaining Liquid Ingredients In another bowl whisk the eggs, the 3 tablespoons of water, and vanilla just until lightly combined.

Mix the Batter In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter, oil, and the cocoa mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1-1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Starting on medium-low speed, gradually add the egg mixture in two parts, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the melted chocolate and beat at medium speed for about 10 seconds until evenly incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Using a silicone spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface evenly with a small offset spatula.

Bake the Cake Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until a cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean and the cake spring back when pressed lightly in the center. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven. It will have a few cracks in the top.

Cool and Unmold the Cake Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a small metal spatula between the sides of the pan and the cake, pressing firmly against the pan, and invert it onto a wire rack that have been coated with cooking spray. To prevent splitting, reinvert the cake so that the top side is up, and cool completely.

Sprinkle the cake lightly with powdered sugar shortly before serving or frost with your favorite buttercream. Ganache would be a great choice!

Comments

Thank you for a great reply. I made cupcakes with no adjustment to the baking powder and they turned out really well. Moist and tender. I did not let the batter sit and they were plenty flat enough to frost. I frosted half of them with the white 'marshmallow' filling from the Whoopie Pie recipe in RHC and left half unfrosted. People loved them both. Thanks again-looking forward to the new baking book!

REPLY

Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Michael
03/22/2014 10:39 PM

Hi Michael,
Depending on what is trying to be achieved in a cake recipe will determine what adjustments need to be made for converting the recipe for cupcakes. Also, what your preference is for a cupcake. Some people like domed cupcakes, others prefer a flatter top for holding the frosting. We generally strive for a just slightly domed cupcake for a good base for the frosting.
Where we try to achieve as close as possible flat top for a multiple layer cake to give even thicknesses of fillings, Rose prefers a slightly domed cake for a single layer cake.
For most multiple layer cake recipes, we slightly reduce the amount of leavening for the cupcake versions.
For single layer cake recipes, like the Pavarotti, you can stay with the same amount of leavening or a slight increase.
Also, if two flours are stated, you may have to adjust more or less for one versus the other. We do not have leavening conversions on record for all of the layer cakes in our catalog of cake recipes.
In Rose's Heavenly Cakes, we comment that you can make your have a more rounded top cupcakes by allowing them to sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before baking as this weakens the leavenings.
We suggest that you leave the baking powder level the same for your first round of cupcakes. Try filling the liners about three-quarters full, with around 50 grams of batter per cupcake.
Rose & Woody

REPLY

Hello! This cake looks delicious and I would like to make cupcakes. In doing so, would I have to make any adjustments to the recipe? I'll spray cupcake liners with Baker's Joy and portion out 45g per cake, and start checking doneness at a about 20 min. Should I make any changes to the leavening?

REPLY

Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Clarie
02/21/2014 11:03 PM

Hi Claire,
We thank you for sharing your experience. It is always amazing what can result from mistakenly adding or reducing the amount of an ingredient or modifying a technique.
Rose & Woody

REPLY

Thanks Mr.Woody and Mrs.Rose.
I made this cake two times this morning. The first followed your recipe and it was really delicious.
When I was making the second one, I had a mistake: I added 0.5oz more oil into the batter and kept baking it. Surprisingly, my family said that it had been more "velvety" and tender than the last one.

Such a brilliant, gorgeous recipe!

REPLY

Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Clarie
02/10/2014 08:22 AM

Hi Claire,
We added the oil to give the cake more moistness, instead of using only butter.
You may want to make the cake as stated above and then make another one with replacing the oil with the same weight of butter to see which you prefer for taste and texture.
Rose & Woody

REPLY

Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Katja
02/10/2014 08:18 AM

Hi Katja,
In "The Cake Bible", the Wedding Cake and Special Occasions chapter has charts and instructions for making cake round layers from 6 inches to 18 inches and sheet cakes up to 12 by 18 inches. For these sizes, we only adjust the leavenings for each size versus using a flower nail or heating core.
If you are accustomed to using a flower nail or heating core, we suggest that you modify the modify the recipe to your technique.
Rose & Woody

REPLY

Mrs Rose, would you mind telling me what can the little amount of oil can do in this recipe?

REPLY

Thank you for this lovely recipe. Do you think it is necessary to use heating core or flower nail in the middle of the pan for larger size cakes (for this or any other recipe)?

REPLY

Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Shannon
05/23/2013 10:28 AM

Hi Shannon,
We ask if you confirmed that your baking powder is active?
The main purpose of wrapping the sides of a cake pan with cake strips is to insulate the pan's sides to allow the center of the cake to bake more evenly with the sides of the cake. Generally, this technique works best for butter and oil layer cake recipes. Depending on the recipe, you make get slightly higher sides and a slightly wider cake when using the cake strips.
We suggest that if your baking powder is active that you try making a single layer of the All Occasion Downy Yellow Cake. That is our standard testing recipe for trying to identify problems, such as oven temperature.
At this time, we have a policy of not permitting blogger's photos or links to their websites, Facebook, or other sites.
In Rose's Heavenly Cakes and our next book, we include using cake strips as part of the Special Equipment instructions where their application produces a better cake.
Rose & Woody

REPLY

I've been using metric measurements for years so that's not exactly the issue.


This was the final height of the cakes I baked tonight, everything room temp, scaled, sifted and mixed, and the cocoa mixture covered to prevent evaporation during cooling. It's 3/4" of an inch, volume is slightly improved but it is not great. Would getting cake strips help at all with volume?

REPLY

Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Shannon
05/20/2013 01:42 AM

Hi Shannon,
Our feeling is the same as yours in your concern about mixing, since you now are using a stand mixer. As the recipe states, the egg and cocoa mixture are mixed with the other ingredients on MEDIUM speed with the stand mixer and on HIGH speed with the handheld mixer.
You are using the correct flour. As long as you cover the cocoa and boiling water mixture after combining them, you do not need to add more water. We are assuming that you are removing the water from the stove as soon as it begins to boil. You can also test your baking powder by simply spooning a small amount onto some water in a small glass. If it starts to fizz and bubble, the baking powder is good and active.
We also recommend to weigh most of the ingredients for accuracy and your best results. Ingredients such as salt, vanilla, and baking powder can be measured with teaspoons and tablespoons.
Good luck with baking the Pavarotti. I made it just last month for an occasion.
Rose & Woody

REPLY

It has been a while since I've made a cake but I have made just about every layer cake recipe in this book and have been quite pleased with the results. Though my problem seems to be with volume which I can assume is due to lack of proper mixing? I have a stand mixer now so my results should be different than when I was using a hand mixer.

I am using Swan's Down cake flour as it is the only cake flour available in my local market. The problem would be lack of water hydrating the starch molecules, then? When the cocoa thickens up would it be prudent to add a bit more water to the mixture to loosen it a little?

My problem is mostly with the height of the cake, it never rises the way it is supposed to and I keep wondering if it is because I am improperly mixing things or it's something with how I am scaling the ingredients. I am also using Rumford's aluminum free baking powder, and I do not think it is old, I only just bought it two months ago and I go through baking powder pretty quickly, it never lasts more than 4 months.

I have not tried this recipe yet, but I have copied it and will try it for my friend's birthday.

REPLY

Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Shannon
05/19/2013 11:10 PM

Hi Shannon,
We ask have you good results matching Rose's descriptions and heights with other butter cake recipes from The Cake Bible?
We stated in the above recipe and recommend you include this step with all recipes where you are making a cocoa and boiling water mixture, to cover the bowl with plastic wrap to prevent evaporation and cool to room temperature.
You may have lost some height from the cocoa mixture losing some water.
Are you using bleached cake flour?
Have you tried making the above posted recipe?
Rose & Woody

REPLY

I'm having a bit of a kerfuffle with a cake recipe I am using in the Cake Bible. The height for your "Perfect All-American Chocolate Butter Cake" is listed as 1 1/8" but every subsequent cake I've made from this recipe comes out 1/2 an inch. I've read both the "Understanding Cakes" and very beginning of this book to figure out what exactly I am doing wrong and I cannot figure it out! My baking powder is fresh, the expiration is July of 2014, I mix the batter no longer than I am supposed to, tap my cake pans of any excess flour that might be hugging the inside, yet they come out the same 1/2" lackluster height every time.

What am I doing wrong? Please help!

REPLY

rose Levy Beranbaum
rose Levy Beranbaum in reply to comment from Lucy
05/09/2013 09:33 AM

hi lucy--so lovely to meet you at last and over one of my fav new cakes! glad you used the bleached flour as it makes a real difference for this cake unless, of course, you use kate's brillian heat treated kateflour!!!

REPLY

Hi Rose,
It's the first time I've made one of your recipes - I'm terrified of making cake's as my sister's so good at them. However, your recipe worked a treat! I used some American flour I bought in New York whilst visiting last year (I believe it was the King Arthur - Queen Guinevere - type). ANyway, thank you so much for making me a successful cake-maker!

REPLY

I just printed the recipe out...going to make it this weekend with Ganache filling and strawberry mousseline buttercream.

Can't wait.

REPLY

Thank you Woody! I always thought all measuring spoons are the same and in standard sizes! I have to buy pourfect spoons!

REPLY

Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Amanda
06/19/2012 05:03 PM

Hi Amanda,

We suggest that if you have Rose's Heavenly Cakes or The Cake Bible to look at the extensive entries on cocoa powder and chocolates.
Cocoa powder gives a richer chocolate taste for most butter cake recipes than dark chocolate. The white chocolate's chemistry adds to the melt in the mouth taste and structure for making the cake rise.
We also wanted to engineer a new chocolate butter cake with a different combination of chocolate components rather than just modifying previous proven chocolate cake recipes.
Rose & Woody

REPLY

Thanks for sharing this recipe, Rose. What immediately caught my attention is that little bit of oil added to the recipe. As you might remember, I substituted a small portion of the butter with oil for some of the RHC recipes with great success. You still get the dominant flavor from the butter and a little extra moistness from the oil. I made your German Choc Cake over the weekend, filled it with Choc Whipped Cream and frosted it with Midnight Ganache (super awesome!!). I have some ganache left, so I might have to try the Pavarotti cake.
Also a big Thank You for clarifying the difference between regular (bleached) cake flour and KAF's unbleached cake flour. Good to know it's not a 1-1 substitution.
I'm very much looking forward to testing from TBB.
Happy baking!
- Hanaâ

REPLY

Made this cake yesterday, and it is very good! Why use white chocolate and cocoa instead of just a dark chocolate? Does this combo provide a higher quantity of cocoa solids, or of cocoa butter?

REPLY

Thanks so much for posting the recipe.

REPLY

Rose Levy Beranbaum
Rose Levy Beranbaum in reply to comment from ricardo
06/18/2012 12:47 PM

Ricardo! Cake poetry! Love it!!!

REPLY

The cake is nothing short of a scandal of deliciousness

REPLY

Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Olawale
06/18/2012 09:43 AM

Hi Whales,
There are a several oil instead of butter cakes in Rose's Heavenly Cakes although the main flavor of the cake is another ingredient such as banana or pumpkin. For plain cake using a combination of flour, eggs, and a dairy ingredient, We prefer the taste of butter as it will be predominant.
Rose & Woody

REPLY

Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from faithy
06/18/2012 09:27 AM

HI Faithy,
We have to say that standard drinking water weighs 237 grams per cup/14.78 grams/tablespoon anywhere in the world. If you are first measuring with a tablespoon the difference in weight could be that your measuring spoons are inaccurate. Rose and I only use Pourfect measuring spoons after Rose tested them to confirm their accuracy.
Rose & Woody

REPLY

Hello Rose,

Thanks for the cake recipe. I truly admire you because I have seen some changes and "open minded-ness" in your new cake recipe. You called for Canola, Safflower and even Sunflower...Here in Nigeria, the general public or pool of bakers only have access to Canola (Wessons) and Sunflower oil.

Thank you so much for sharing and including this in your new recipe...makes it more easier for us to bake your cakes.

Also, Please, can you kindly create a plain cake that uses "OIL". Not a combination of oil and butter..Just Oil only as the fat, also it must not be a chocolate cake. I have a chocolate cake made with oil from Tish Boyle. Dorie Greenspan, has 2 plain "oil cakes", one made with Canola/Safflower and another Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, which is just thesame recipe but a change in the oil and flavor.

Pls kindly consider this.

Thanks.

Wale Taiwo

Cakes By Whales

REPLY

Thank you......it's a wonderful cake so I'll definitely be baking it again but at a slightly higher temperature.

Sophia

REPLY

Looks so good! I have to try! I always love your chocolate cakes! BTW, i just realised when i baked chocolate cake from Heavenly Cake book that 3 tbp of water is lesser than 44g? Does water weighs differently in different countries? I'm just wondering.

REPLY

Woody Wolston
Woody Wolston in reply to comment from Sophia
06/17/2012 07:49 PM

Hi Sophia,
We have seen that ovens can vary easily in temperature compared to oven setting that you set. It sounds like our oven is too cool, which you could verify with an oven thermometer. You may want to make it again and raise your oven temperature 5 degrees.
Rose & Woody

REPLY

Cynthia Renee
Cynthia Renee
06/17/2012 03:53 PM

Thank you Rose...It is out of the oven and I will report later. I am surprised that someone beat me to it....but I was tired last night. I expect to post on the forum

REPLY

The cake is fabulous, Rose. Thank you for posting the recipe.

I had no intention of making this for Father's Day, but unexpected company yesterday ate the chocolate tart I'd made!

I think I may have oven temperature issues though, as the cake didn't turn out exactly as it should have: it took 46 minutes to bake and it didn't quite achieve the correct height - it was only 1 5/8" tall. Also, the top didn't crack. I haven't calibrated my oven since January - do you think a too cool oven may be the problem?

Regardless, the crumb was velvety and tender and the flavour, delicious.

Thank you again for sharing this.

Sophia

REPLY

ב''ה

Ooh. This looks great. I'll have to try this (and blog about it. )

:)

REPLY

Thank you Rose! I can't wait to bake it!

REPLY

Fabulous recipe, Rose!

REPLY

Shoot, I like Julie, have just finished putting together a chocolate cake for tomorrow, it's your Devil's Food Cake with Midnight Ganache. So wonderful!
I have used chocolate syrup in chocolate cakes with good results, can't wait to try white chocolate.
A nice tribute to a great man.

REPLY

Aha! Those pesky marketers....

REPLY

Thanks for this cake, Rose! The White Chocolate Whisper Cake and the Golden Deluxe Butter Cake are two of my top faves, so I'm sure this chocolate cake will join their ranks!

I never liked chocolate cake until I made yours, and now I find them hard to choose among (Chocolate Fudge Cake has recently edged-out Perfect All American Chocolate Torte), but I think this one will be a strong contender for a new #1 chocolate! I have a chocolate cake on the agenda for August (to be paired with pineapple mousseline or pineapple creamy dreamy), so I'll know soon!

Much appreciated!

--ak

REPLY

rose Levy Beranbaum
rose Levy Beranbaum
06/16/2012 11:28 AM

good question zach. i now have to put bleached in front of cake flour because king arthur flour is now marketing what they call an unbleached cake flour. one of our bloggers looked into this and reported that it is their unbleached all-purpose flour combined with cornstarch. from our many tests we have found that this is not going to perform the way bleached flour does in a cake.

REPLY

Can't wait to make it! I've already made the black chocolate party cake for this Father's Day, hopefully another chocolate cake opportunity will come up soon. If not I may have to "invent" one :).

REPLY

This is very exciting Rose, and I will definitely be making this soon. Question, and I know you're addressing it somewhere, why the addition of "bleached" in front of cake flour this time?

REPLY

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