Lightening up a dense cake
Posted: 09 September 2012 05:18 PM   [ Ignore ]
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I have a recipe for a molten lava cake that I cook longer so it’s not molten in the middle.  The cooking competition will not allow anything that they considered raw.  I won’t to enter this recipe but I need to lighten up a little, it is extremely dense but really excellent taste.  Can someone help me lighten this up with out changing the recipe.  The recipe is as follows for a regular bundt cake pan.

?6 ounces semisweet chocolate
  6 ounces milk chocolate
?3 sticks unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
?12 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
?1/2 cup sugar
?11 large egg yolks
?6 large eggs
?4 tablespoons all-purpose flour

This is a recipe doubled, the original recipe is for individual small cakes, I doubled it to have enough batter for a bundt pan.  It’s killer but boy is it dense, very fudgy browning texture.  Normally it doesn’t bother me but it cracks on top and I think I would have a better chance at a blue ribbon if I lighten it up a bit.

I appreciate any help anyone can give, I have two days to tweak the recipe for the fair competition is Wed afternoon.

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Posted: 09 September 2012 07:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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The most promising technique would be to whip the eggs along with the sugar until fluffy, then fold that into the batter.

Also, I’m not sure what you’re doing with the butter, but it could be creamed with the sugar to provide some leavening.

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Posted: 09 September 2012 07:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I have two thoughts- first would be to separate a few of the eggs (perhaps 3?) and beat the whites to barely stiff peaks, then fold into the heavy batter.  The eggs will give less structure to the batter when you do this, so if it’s already baking up with a flat or slightly sunken center, you may need more tweaking.

The second thought is to sub some of the butter with oil, taking into account that butter is only 81% fat.  This will reduce the flavor from the butter, but give you fat in a liquid form which should help lighten and soften the cake.

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Posted: 09 September 2012 07:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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Thanks for the info.  The butter is actually melted into the chocolate, the sugar and cocoa powder are mixed together and added to the chocolate and the eggs are whisked together then added to the mix and poured into the pan. 

so would I whip the butter, sugar and cocoa, add eggs whisk a little more and then add melted chocolate?

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Posted: 09 September 2012 08:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Aprille - 09 September 2012 10:42 PM

so would I whip the butter, sugar and cocoa, add eggs whisk a little more and then add melted chocolate?

Depends on which route you choose to take.  If you decide to whip the eggs, you can either whip whole eggs, the egg yolks, or the egg whites.  Personally, for the sake of convenience, I’d first try the whole eggs, before I bothered separating the eggs.  If you try any of these, you’d need to whip the eggs and sugar as a complete separate step and fold it into the batter at the very end.  This is similar to how a mousse is prepared.  The amount of whipping goes well beyond just adding the eggs to the butter and whisking a little more.  You’d really need an electric mixer.

If you decide to cream the butter, then the process would be as you describe, but you’d need to add the eggs very slowly in order to preserve the emulsion.  I’m not sure how important the latter is in this particular case; even though a broken emulsion can lead to a dense cake, it would probably still be less dense than the product you’re starting with.

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Posted: 09 September 2012 11:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I think I will try creaming the butter, but when and how would I add the warm melted chocolate and will that completely destroy the emulsion?

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Posted: 10 September 2012 12:19 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Aprille - 10 September 2012 02:36 AM

I think I will try creaming the butter, but when and how would I add the warm melted chocolate and will that completely destroy the emulsion?

You’ll melt the butter if it’s too warm.  Seems like melted chocolate stays pretty soft all the way down to room temperature, does it not?

Please keep in mind that I’m just guessing as to whether this will have much effect.  I don’t know whether creamed butter has enough leavening power to lift such a heavy cake. I’ve seen some cake recipes where this was the only leavening agent, but those cakes were more flour-dominant than this recipe is.  Odds are that you’ll have to perform a number of experiments before you figure it out.  Please keep us informed!

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Posted: 10 September 2012 12:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I was wondering how to get more flour in this recipe to lighten it up but being fairly new to extreme baking I am unsure how to exchange ingredients.  Now ask me for a flavorful garlic cream sauce and I am your girl!

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Posted: 10 September 2012 01:03 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Aprille - 10 September 2012 03:43 AM

I was wondering how to get more flour in this recipe to lighten it up but being fairly new to extreme baking I am unsure how to exchange ingredients.

Well, you said you didn’t want to change the recipe, so I didn’t suggest baking powder.  But a few teaspoons of that might help a bit.  Again, without the flour, I don’t know how easily this mixture will trap carbon dioxide bubbles.  If you starting adding flour, this moves it more into the brownie category, IMO.

Oh, another alternative is to whip the chocolate mixture a bit before you add it to the butter.  I know that chocolate and cream mixtures will lighten up quite a bit when whipped for a few minutes; I don’t know how chocolate alone will behave.


I guess it might be helpful to know what you mean by “lighten up”.  To me, that means make it more cake like, but it could also mean less intensely chocolate.  Personally, I don’t like the flourless cake type recipes.  The taste is just too overwhelming and one or two forkfulls and I’m done.

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Posted: 10 September 2012 09:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Getting more flour into the recipe might help lighten it up, especially if you balance that with leavening (baking powder), but keep in mind that neither will create bubbles in the batter.  You must first introduce air either through whipping the butter/sugar or whipping the eggs or both.

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Posted: 10 September 2012 12:44 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Thanks for the info, I didn’t mean to come across as not willing to change the recipe.  The final product is extremely heavy cake, I would like to lighten the density a bit so it’s a little more cake like than brownie for the competition.  It is very strong chocolate flavor and very rich, I can only eat a few bites myself unless I put the black cherry sauce I make for it and ice cream.  You know it’s too rich if it takes ice cream to cut it!

So I think lighten the cake but leave the flavor so it’s not hidden by the black cherry sauce.

Thanks to all of you for helping the newbie.

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Posted: 10 September 2012 07:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Aprille - 10 September 2012 03:44 PM

The final product is extremely heavy cake, I would like to lighten the density a bit so it?s a little more cake like than brownie for the competition.

Then that will probably call for more extreme measures than what we’ve been currently discussing.  In fact, you might be better off starting with a butter cake or pound cake recipe and then adding your chocolate and extra butter.  Rose’s recipes uses the two stage mixing method, rather than creaming, so that might suit your needs better.  This involves adding the flour to the butter mixture, then beating that for a while to aerate it.

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