All I have are ingredients, no directions. 
Posted: 02 November 2013 07:09 PM   [ Ignore ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  1
Joined  2013-11-02

I promised someone that I would make a cake for their birthday using their grandmother’s recipe, but when I got it all it has is the list of ingredients. I don’t know what kind of cake it is, or how to put the ingredients together. The recipe says to bake it at 350 for approximately 25 minutes, but it doesn’t say for what size pan. I’m supposed to have this done by tomorrow morning, and I’m only going to have one shot to get it right. I’d appreciate any kind of help or tips or anything at all. The ingredients are as follows

2 cups pastry flour
1 1/2 tsp soda
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs well beaten
2 sqs unsweetened chocolate
3/4 cup sourmilk or buttermilk
1/3 cup boiling water

Also, I only keep bread (and wheat) flour, is it going to be that much different from pastry flour?

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 November 2013 07:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1329
Joined  2008-09-27

Bread flour won’t do, nor will whole wheat flour, if that’s what you meant by “wheat flour”.

There are several ways to mix the batter. Most commonly, you cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, add the beaten eggs slowly, then add the melted (but cooled) chocolate, slow your mixer and alternate adding your dry and liquid ingredients. Not sure why they specify the boiling water, but regardless, you don’t add it boiling to the mixture, because it would melt the butter.

Pastry flour is hard to come by, although I’ve seen it at Whole Foods. I’d probably try using cake flour or a low protein all-purpose, but either way, you’re experimenting, which is dangerous the night before your homework is due.

Getting it right the first time is a low-probability event; I’d recommend that you have a plan B.

 Signature 

If error is corrected whenever it is recognized as such, the path of error is the path of truth.

—Hans Reichenbach

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 November 2013 08:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3127
Joined  2010-04-25

My guess is the unsweetened squares are melted in the boiling water, and the mixture is cooled to room temp before proceeding

Profile
 
 
Posted: 02 November 2013 11:48 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1329
Joined  2008-09-27
Anne in NC - 02 November 2013 08:29 PM

My guess is the unsweetened squares are melted in the boiling water, and the mixture is cooled to room temp before proceeding

That occurred to me, but 1/3 of a cup seemed such a pitiful amount of water. I guess it’s enough to melt two squares. And it may have a blooming effect, too.

 Signature 

If error is corrected whenever it is recognized as such, the path of error is the path of truth.

—Hans Reichenbach

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 November 2013 12:47 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1534
Joined  2011-02-17
Berry - 02 November 2013 07:09 PM

Also, I only keep bread (and wheat) flour, is it going to be that much different from pastry flour?

Yes.

Chef Bo Friberg, a master chef, instructor and author of professional baking text books, does not use all purpose flour. If I remember correctly, he feels it does not belong in a professional kitchen.  He uses a combination of whole wheat pastry flour and bread flour.

Whole wheat pastry flour is soft. Bread flour isn’t and neither is whole wheat flour.

Bob’s Red Mill carries whole wheat pastry flour as does King Arthur Flour.

You can check with your local markets. It might be more readily available in some areas than others.

I’m sure you can just use all purpose flour but the end results will not be the same. However, it still may be good. If you can’t find the pastry flour, I would try the AP flour because, from what I understand, the bread and pastry flour replaces AP flour.

Good luck.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 November 2013 06:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  591
Joined  2007-11-27

The boiling water might be for dissolving the soda in; letting it cool for a few minutes and then adding it to the rest of the ingredients.  It bubbles furiously then subsides, and that much (or little) water will cool quickly.  There are a few old style recipes that do it that way, I wish I could remember the reasoning.  David Lebovitz’ fresh ginger cake recipes does the same thing (which is a wonderfully good recipe if you are looking for a ginger cake to try!)  The chocolate may have been melted or grated. 


Let us know what happened or if you put plan B into effect wink!

 Signature 

I Dream of Jeanne Cakes selected by Brides Magazine as one of their 100 Favorite Bakers (2013)

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 November 2013 12:01 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
Newbie
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  13
Joined  2007-11-20

hi, your friend’s grandmother had a few secrets! :D I’d ask your friend what the cake was like first: was it a layer cake with the frosting in the middle and outside, or a loaf (like a pound cake)?
This looks to be a standard butter cake to me, which could work either way, but the way the ingredients are mixed could be different. For a lighter layer cake, you’d use the creaming method, and for a pound cake you’d use Rose’s reverse creaming method like most of the recipes in Cake Bible or Heavenly Cakes…

For pastry flour it is usually 2 parts AP to one part cake flour by volume or weight. If you don’t have either one, your best bet is to go with 1 3/4 cups bread flour and sift it with 1/4 cup cornstarch, then mix with the salt and leavening. That’s your dry mixture.
The water should be mixed with the chocolate—the easiest way is to bring it to the boil and pour it over the chocolate, then cover and let it stand util it melts, then whisk smooth. Let this cool, then mix with the sour cream and eggs. That’s your liquid mixture.
From here for standard creaming, you’d beat your butter and sugar, then alternately add your dry and liquid mixtures (3 parts dry alt with 2 parts wet) until it’s very well-blended.
For reverse creaming, add your butter and sugar to your dry mixture with about a third of the liquid. Mix very well, then add the rest of the liquids in 2 parts, beating for at least 2 minutes.
I’say this would bake in either a large loaf pan or 2 8-inch pans for the time given? Either way, stick a toothpick in to make sure it’s done. Good luck!

For extra reference, look up the Domingo Cake in Cake Bible, it is similar in that it uses sour cream, but cocoa instead of unsweetened chocolate.

PS I’m sorry it looks like I was too late for this morning! hope your cake turned out okay.

 Signature 

Reeni
http://www.chefreeni.blogspot.com

Profile
 
 
Posted: 03 November 2013 01:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  156
Joined  2011-06-02

Hmm, I tried searching for some old-fashioned recipes to try and look for a similar method. At first I was thinking it’s maybe an all-in-one method, where all the ingredients apart from the boiling water [the unsweetened chocolate is melted] are placed in a bowl and then it’s beaten together, then the boiling water are added gradually to make a “soft drop” consistency.
But the order of the ingredients is what baffles me. Anyway, when I found some old fashioned recipes [like this one: http://archive.lib.msu.edu/DMC/sliker/msuspcsbs_carn_carnationm18/msuspcsbs_carn_carnationm18.pdf ], I thought maybe the creaming method is the one to go for:
Whisk flour and soda together. Beat butter, sugar, vanilla and salt together. Gradually add eggs. Add melted chocolate. Add buttermilk and flour mixture alternately, then thin the mixture with boiling water. I actually have seen recipes that called for butter-base-chocolate cakes that say to add BOILING water, but letting it cool a bit before adding it is not a bad idea.

 Signature 

McBrownie.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 11 November 2013 11:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
Newbie
Rank
Total Posts:  4
Joined  2013-11-07

It looks like you are trying to make some vanilla cake.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 November 2013 11:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  606
Joined  2012-01-12

Wouldn’t the chocolate get into a big hard lump when mixed w/ water during melting ? I would think that is melting in bain marie and not in the water touching the chocolate. Water is #1 enemy when melting chocolate as grease to meringue, based on my experience.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 November 2013 07:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
Administrator
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  3127
Joined  2010-04-25

Hi, Prettycake!

What you say is generally true except (as I understand it)  when you have enough water to “overwhelm” the chocolate.

Anyone: Please correct me if I am wrong.

—ak

Profile
 
 
Posted: 12 November 2013 08:21 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  606
Joined  2012-01-12
Anne in NC - 12 November 2013 07:42 PM

Hi, Prettycake!

What you say is generally true except (as I understand it)  when you have enough water to “overwhelm” the chocolate.

Anyone: Please correct me if I am wrong.

—ak

Yeah, I have heard of that, but isn’t that done like when making like hot coco? I have never done it like that ever b4. I have always done it w/ butter or oil or ceam or corn syrup, but not w/ water. I guess I just have to try that next time. Thank u Anne.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 November 2013 03:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  156
Joined  2011-06-02
Anne in NC - 12 November 2013 07:42 PM

Hi, Prettyc!

What you say is generally true except (as I understand it)  when you have enough water to “overwhelm” the chocolate.

Anyone: Please correct me if I am wrong.

—ak

I heard that too. Also, there’s a difference between melting chocolate with water, and melting chocolate and then introducing water. I like to think of melting chocolate like a little party. I think that because chocolate is an emulsion- then when you melt it, you’re actually starting the party! And then the fat in it gets “irritated, so you shouldn’t allow [new] unwanted guests in [i.e things with a lot of liquid] smile but if they’re there in the first place, then everybody gets to know one another and become more comfortable!
[based on my experience, at least]

 Signature 

McBrownie.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 November 2013 08:01 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
Newbie
Avatar
Rank
Total Posts:  13
Joined  2007-11-20

1/3 cup of boiling water poured over 2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate (especially if chopped) is enough to melt it, and unlock the cacao flavenoids. It’s going to be thick, but not thick enough that it won’t incorporate. (see Rose’s technique of dissolving the cocoa powder in boiling water—it’s how she does all her chocolate cakes.) You can also add more liquid (in this scenario, the buttermilk) later on when it cools to make a looser liquid. There’s an old Cook’s Illustrated cake recipe that uses unsweetened chocolate, the authour calls it a “pudding” when the chocolate, hot water and sugar are mixed.
When one makes ganache, you use the same technique, often with only equal parts cream/milk and chocolate.
Anyway, as the original poster wrote this the day before she needed the cake, I hope it went well.

 Signature 

Reeni
http://www.chefreeni.blogspot.com

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 November 2013 12:29 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
Sr. Member
Avatar
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  606
Joined  2012-01-12

The recipe on the first post says “chocolate squares” not cocoa powder.. When I use chocolate powder I mix it w/ strong coffee, which brings the chocolate flavor out more.

Profile
 
 
Posted: 13 November 2013 12:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
Sr. Member
RankRankRankRank
Total Posts:  1329
Joined  2008-09-27

I also read the Cooks Illustrated article about the “pudding” which uses the blooming effect for chocolate squares. Just like cocoa powder, they claimed that the hot water significantly boosted the chocolate flavor of the solid chocolate.

 Signature 

If error is corrected whenever it is recognized as such, the path of error is the path of truth.

—Hans Reichenbach

Profile
 
 
   
  Back to top