Sunday, 22 April 2012

Moist Double Chocolate Gluten-Free Cake, from Christina Marsigliese

A food scientist whose blog I follow religiously, the wonderful Christina Marsigliese :)
I reallllly want her recipe book - Scientifically Sweet :) 
(I also want Zumbo's awesome recipe book as well!!)
Check our her website here. I used her awesome fluffy-as cupcakes recipe in a previous blog post, and the texture turned out perfect! 

Ahh, the pleasure of cooking and baking.  I always loved just following recipes, especially those failsafe and extra simple ones like cupcakes and shortbread cookies.  But it always interested me, seeing my grandma and mum in the kitchen just cooking everything to their palates, and chucking in random amounts of everything, and magic on a plate results, whether it is a homely dish, or a special one for the weekend family dinner.  I've been wanting to learn that measure-by-instinct ability ever since.  It comes with a lot of practise, I bet.  Hopefully next year after this HSC I'll go into the kitchen more, haha. 

And now that I've been recently browsing the web about food science, it's a whole 'nother world out there!! :)

Gosh the science behind food intrigues me.

Learnt how to make mayonnaise in Chem class around 2 weeks back. Tasted awesome, but we were learning about "egg having an emulsifying agent called lecithin..."
*starts zoning out of what the teacher's saying and starts becoming mesmerised by the awesome food world*
"...beating with a whisk takes ages.  Time to taste, girls!"
Well, Blumenthal didn't really say so in his How to Cook Like Heston Egg episode, he even demonstrated it with his trusty whisk...and then full-on wreak havoc with his awesome friend Otto later, with a huge electric beater, getting 7 times the amount of oil into that egg more than what mayonnaise recipes usually say!

But it got me thinking, my love for chem + my love for food = wow, this could really get me somewhere.  Man this is interesting as!! Well, kinda disappointed I didn't read into food science and molecular gastronomy sooner.  But better late than never, eh? :)

Anyway, so this is the recipe from Christina's website, and any additional notes of mine will be in blue italics.

Moist Dark Chocolate Gluten-Free Cake
Makes 8-10 servings - I reckon it makes about 8 to 12 servings. 

  • 110 g white rice flour
  • 20 g  unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder - I used Cadbury Bournville Cocoa
  • ¾ tsp baking powder - according to the blogger who suggested the reason why my cupcakes didn't rise to its full potential last time was because my baking powder wasn't fresh and newly-bought, let's hope this doesn't affect the cake.
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 56 g unsalted butter at room temperature - so it should be soft to the touch, and easy to cut.  I took my block of butter out an hour before baking.
  • 125 g  granulated sugar - also known as caster sugar
  • 42 g bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled – also known as dark chocolate
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature - I reckon a large egg is around 70g.  I didn't have a large egg though, I had a 50g egg.  Maybe this might affect my end result...
  • 45 ml (3 tbsp) full fat sour cream
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 90 ml 2% milk, at room temperature- I couldn't buy 98% fat free milk, I used Dairy Milk Lite White that I bought from my corner shop, it's 95%, but let's hope it's still ok.

1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly butter and flour (since we want to keep it gluten-free, remember to flour with rice flour! :))the sides of an 8-inch/20cm round cake pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper; set aside.
2. Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a medium bowl. Whisk dry ingredients together so that the mixture appears chocolate-y brown. (Instead of whisking them together, I spooned them into the sieve and re-seived it all together, because I didn't want the flour to blow everywhere if I whisk too hard)
3. In another large bowl, beat the butter until creamy using a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. (I didn't have a stand mixer, I just used my electric beater, and I'm not really sure how to tell if it's "creamy" or not.  It felt soft and looked creamy, but it retained most of the yellow butter colour.  I think that might've affected the next part 
4. Add sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. (yeah, does this look light and fluffy? Kinda questionable...) 
5. Beat in melted chocolate until combined. (Best way to melt chocolate is the bain marie method, ie placing chocolate pieces in a glass bowl on top or inside of a pot/saucepan filled with water, on the boil.  I remember back a few months when I couldn't be bothered boiling water and make a bain marie out of 2 small bowls for a small amount of chocolate to be melted.  The chocolate doesn't really melt in the microwave, it oozes but dries instead. 
6. Beat in eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. (I'm not sure what she meant by this, because there was only 1 egg in the recipe)
7. Beat in sour cream and vanilla until well combined, about 1 minute. (If you look at step 4, it then says to mix in the cream again.  I got confused, so I halved the amount of sour cream, and mixed the last half during step 4) 
8. With mixer on low to medium speed, add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with milk, and beginning and ending with flour.  (This part was kinda daunting.  I had to be careful not to let the flour fly everywhere, and the milk not splatter everywhere.  Slow and steady :)) Mix in cream and beat until smooth, about 1 minute. 

9. Spread batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick or skewer inserted into the center of the cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes. (depending on your oven, of course.  Mine was on degree 9 out of 10, at 170°C, and finished in 30 minutes) Transfer to a wire rack and let it cool completely in the pan before slicing.


Final result?

Mmmmm....moist :) Moist indeed :D.
Melt-in-the-mouth decadent goodness.  Not mudcake-dense-type melt-in-the-mouth.  More light, fluffy, kinda crumbly, but not dry-crumbly.  It's a crumbly that's moist and coalesces once again as it enters your mouth.  Every spoonful :) Oh so soft :)

My cake even looked like the one on her website!!! :) I'm not sure if it wasmeant to be this crumbly though, maybe that's because I didn't have enough egg in it to hold it together.  However, what I like about this cake is that it's not as stiff as conventional sponges in cake stores, as the stores use more egg.  And I think the cumbersome sieving and beating alternately, all these steps really helped bring out the melt-in-the-mouth soft and moist nature of this cake.   

Hmm, serving suggestions anyone? I couldn't think of anything, and as I haven't actually baked a cake for the family like this before, I didn't have the whipped cream or ready-to-frost frosting available, so I grabbed the berry yoghurt from the fridge. (Yoplait Formé, No fat, field berries flavour"
The mild bitterness of the dark chocolate blends wonderfully with the slightly sour berry flavour.  What I love about no fat yoghurt (haha, 1g of fat for an entire 1kg tub? Impressive.  But it changes the taste and texture definitely) is that it's very light - not creamy and dense - and I reckon it complements the cake well, in that it doesn't make the cake seem dense in my mouth.
But at the end of the day, moral of the story is to not wear black while handling flour products :P

On a different note, this will be my last post for a while.  Hmm yeah, Term 2 is kicking in, so that means a roll in of the 3rd assessments :\  To blog or not to blog until then, that is the question... ;) Hamlet is awesome to study, by the way :) And cheers to Kenneth Brannagh for acting so well in that film version of this Shakespearean tragedy!

Hmm, don't think I'll take that long though, I'll likely be suffering from withdrawal symptoms if I break up with blogging for any more than 3 days, hahaha.  But I'm considering exporting these blog posts and changing to Wordpress, seeing that a lot of Wordpress layouts are much cleaner and easier to use, and there's even a downloadable program to work on blog posts and organise things What do you think? :)

Well, I gotta look on the bright side, a step closer to 3rd assessments means a step closer to being able to:
  • Watch Dark Knight Rises.  My most. Anticipated. Movie. Everrrrrrrrr!!!!  OMG Christian Bale and Tom Hardy <3 (Was going to add Joseph Gordon Levitt to that list, but he belongs to my friend Monica already, haha) Thank you Chris Nolan for making movies worth watching :) (Oh, and add to this --> rewatch Inception, and Nolan's Batman series)  I could "StumbleUpon" Inception forever and not get bored, I've done that quite a few times actually... ;)
  • see AJ Rafael in Sydney!! - This independent YouTube artist is so talented, but unfortunately his Sydney show scheduled in Jan was cancelled, so we're still waiting for him to confirm his show date in late July (which will be an awesome 17th birthday present for me, yayyy! And then HSC trials commence the week after...)
and then...
  • Year 12 Formal
  • Coffs Harbour for schoolies!!! :)
  • My still very much anticipated 30 Day Food Tour, so anticipated in fact, I've already invited quite a few close friends and food-loving friends along
  • Buy Christina Marsigliese's Scientifically Sweet, Adriano Zumbo's Zumbo, and an accurate electronic kitchen balance!
  • Master the art of macarons (I've managed to suceed the perfect macaron shell once out of my 10 attempts.  And even then, I perfected 2 macarons. Two!! Out of a whole entire batch of like twelve!) I like to read Tartelette, Mardi's blog "eat. live. travel. write." and BraveTart for their methods, delish and utter-perfection macaron pics (I really admire Mardi's macaron journey, and her courage to post up all her past attempts.  I've failed much more than her, but I'm definitely gonna learn to master it soon)
  • Get work experience at any Zumbo Patissier, or Guylian or Lindt Choc Cafe, or another awesome restaurant/cafe place
Hmm, let's hope I can tick these all off :)

(Blogpost edited 24/2/13)

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