Hot Chocolate Layer Cake: Fine Cooking Dec. 2009
Posted: 21 January 2010 05:56 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I?m not really sure why it?s called Hot Chocolate Layer Cake, but it?s now become my absolute favorite chocolate cake. I have baked this cake at least 5 times now, and it is amazing! The flavor is rich and deep in chocolate and the texture is tender and light without being featherweight, and it is also the easiest chocolate cake I?ve ever baked.

It is a half butter/half oil cake in which 60% chocolate, coco powder, butter, oil, and water are heated until everything is melted and smooth. Meanwhile you whisk together flour and sugar in a big bowl, and as soon as the chocolate mixture is ready, you dump it into the flour mixture while it?s still hot. Then you whisk, whisk, whisk until all is smooth and emulsified, then eggs go in one at a time, followed by buttermilk, salt, vanilla, and baking soda. You can also add any other extracts you want (I?ve done chocolate/pepperment, which has been a big hit, and chocolate/almond).

This is a seriously fantastic cake. Let me know if you all want me to post the recipe, and I will do so tomorrow morning.

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Posted: 21 January 2010 06:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Maybe it is called hot chocolate cake because the chocolate is hot when you mix in the other ingredients.  Sounds good and similar to an old family recipe of mine.

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Posted: 21 January 2010 06:40 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hi Roxanne,

YES!!! Please post the recipe for us.  It sounds wonderful.  I am always looking for new cakes to try, especially if they are a tried and true recipe that works well.  You can never have enough cake recipes in your repitoire, especially chocolate ones!!

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Posted: 21 January 2010 07:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Sounds similar to a recipe that’s taken Australia by storm, called Boiled Chocolate Cake. The version I have is all butter and no buttermilk. Haven’t tried it yet. Look forward to learning more about yours.

p.s. Found it with the aid of google. I noticed many of the comments said it was almost too rich. Did you adjust for that, the times you made it, Roxanne?

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Posted: 22 January 2010 12:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Roxanne - 21 January 2010 09:56 PM

half butter/half oil

Why don’t more butter cakes do this?  I know it does wonders for my brownies.  The Fine Cooking website comments all agree the cake is wonderful, but extremely rich.  Perhaps it isn’t a complete substitute for all other chocolate cakes.

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Posted: 22 January 2010 01:32 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Carolita - 21 January 2010 11:33 PM

Sounds similar to a recipe that’s taken Australia by storm, called Boiled Chocolate Cake. The version I have is all butter and no buttermilk. Haven’t tried it yet. Look forward to learning more about yours.

p.s. Found it with the aid of google. I noticed many of the comments said it was almost too rich. Did you adjust for that, the times you made it, Roxanne?


If you pair it with the chocolate icing they include (which is basically a whipped chocolate fudge/ganache type icing), it is too rich, but I?ve been pairing it with a simple vanilla buttercream or whipped cream (you can even bake this as a bundt cake, in a 15 cup bundt pan), and everybody loves it. A seven-minute frosting would also be a good pairing.

I realized this morning that I left the recipe at the shop yesterday, so I will have to post it tomorrow!

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Posted: 22 January 2010 01:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Actually, here it is. Didn?t realize it was on Fine Cooking?s website! I won?t include the frosting, because everybody here has their own favorite buttercreams and what not.
I did 3 changes after the second time I baked this: 1) I used bleached flour instead of unbleached (I think the texture is better); I added the coco powder to the ingredients I was heating and melting (this brought out more flavor and made the chocolate a bit deeper; last, I increased the salt. The recipe originally called for 1/2 tsp of kosher salt (roughly about 1/4 tsp table salt). I didn?t think this was enough, and I prefer to use table salt in baking, so I switched the salt to 1/2 tsp TABLE salt, and the flavors were much more pronounced and the extra salt helped to cut through the richness. Enjoy! This would be a great cake for Valentine?s Day.

Hot Chocolate Layer Cake

6 oz. (3/4 cup) unsalted butter; more for the pans
3/4 cup canola oil
4-1/2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
2-1/4 oz. (3/4 cup) natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup of water

13-1/2 oz. (3 cups) unbleached (I prefer bleached) all-purpose flour; more for the pans
3 cups granulated sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature
3/4 cup buttermilk, at room temperature
2 Tbs. pure vanilla extract
2-1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. kosher salt (I used 1/2 tsp of regular table salt)

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease, flour, and line with parchment 3 8-inch cake pans or 2 9-inch cake pans, or grease and flour a 15 cup bundt pan.

In a very large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour and the sugar, set aside.

In a 2 quart heavy, non-reactive sauce pan combine the butter, oil, bittersweet chocolate, coco powder, and water. Melt while stirring constantly over low heat until the mixture is completely smooth and just hot—do not allow it to simmer or boil or it will scorch.

Pour the hot chocolate mixture immediately into the flour mixture and whisk together until it?s completely combined and emulsified. It should be smooth, lump free, with no streaks of flour. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, then the buttermilk and the vanilla. Right before baking whisk in the baking soda and the salt. Pour the batter into pans and bake until a toothpick comes out clean—about 25-35 minutes for layer cakes and about 50 minutes for a bundt cake.

Let the cakes sit for 10 minutes and then remove them from their pans to finish cooling.

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Posted: 22 January 2010 10:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I have a question about the recipe you posted.  When I compared it to the one on Fine Cooking, I noticed the Fine Cooking recipe had a cup of water in it that you did not include.  Was this a change you made in your recipe or an oversight.  Thanks for the information.

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Posted: 23 January 2010 12:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Patty K - 23 January 2010 02:02 AM

I have a question about the recipe you posted.  When I compared it to the one on Fine Cooking, I noticed the Fine Cooking recipe had a cup of water in it that you did not include.  Was this a change you made in your recipe or an oversight.  Thanks for the information.

You?re absolutely right! The water is in my original recipe, but Fine Cooking left it out on their online version. I just cut and pasted this from their website, and it looks like they made a mistake. I went back and included it in my post above.

Thanks!

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Posted: 23 January 2010 12:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Roxanne - 23 January 2010 04:11 AM

Fine Cooking left it out on their online version.

Actually, they didn’t completely leave it out.  They left it out of the list of the ingredients, but they do mention it during their instructions, and you still have that missing:


...In a 3-quart saucepan, combine the butter, oil, chopped chocolate, and 1 cup water. Heat over medium heat until melted….

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Posted: 23 January 2010 12:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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CharlesT - 23 January 2010 04:15 AM
Roxanne - 23 January 2010 04:11 AM

Fine Cooking left it out on their online version.

Actually, they didn’t completely leave it out.  They left it out of the list of the ingredients, but they do mention it during their instructions, and you still have that missing:


...In a 3-quart saucepan, combine the butter, oil, chopped chocolate, and 1 cup water. Heat over medium heat until melted….


I just updated that, too. Thanks!

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Posted: 23 January 2010 02:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Do you think this cake would work with cake flour?  I hate having to keep too many types of flour on hand; I never used bleached all-purpose.

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Posted: 23 January 2010 03:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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CharlesT - 23 January 2010 06:13 PM

Do you think this cake would work with cake flour?  I hate having to keep too many types of flour on hand; I never used bleached all-purpose.

I would say that it would work fine, but you may have to increase the flour a bit if you use cake flour. I would first make half a batch as a test run and add about .5 ounce of extra flour (which is roughly a tablespoon) and see how you like the texture. If it seems to be too fragile, add another .5 ounce of flour. This is a batter that holds a lot of ingredients so it needs to be more sturdy than a typical butter cake. If you use unbleached all purpose flour, you can try a half and half blend by weight. I can see that working really well.

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Posted: 23 January 2010 05:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Roxanne - 23 January 2010 07:07 PM

If you use unbleached all purpose flour, you can try a half and half blend by weight. I can see that working really well.

Good idea, I may try it that way.  I also plan to substitute dutch cocoa for natural, reduce the baking soda by 1/2 tsp and add 2 tsp of baking powder.  (I don’t like stocking both dutch and natural, any more than I like stocking both bleached and unbleached AP!)

Thanks!

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Posted: 24 January 2010 02:44 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Ok, I just made 1/2 batch using 1/2 cake flour and 1/2 unbleached all-purpose, dutch cocoa, and a reduction in baking soda and an addition of some baking powder.

Conclusion:  this is a brownie with more liquid and more leavening.

My substitutions worked pretty well, but there was a slight dip in the center.  Over-leavened?  I may try reducing the baking powder some next time.

(And now I feel quite ill from sampling about a third of the cake and drinking a liter of cold milk.)

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