rich, moist chocolate cake

I've been on a hunt for a rich, moist chocolate cake recipe. At
various restaurants, I've had rich, dark, moist cakes, but the closest
home version I can find is a Duncan Hines devils' food cake.
Does anyone have a from-scratch recipe? Or at least a guide for what
to look for in a chocolate cake recipe (i.e. cocoa vs chocolate,
presence/absence of things like sour cream, etc)?
I've tried a couple of cakes (chocolate pound cake, and the basic
chocolate cake recipe) in The Cake Bible, and they came out drier,
with a paler color than I would have liked. (As a side note, if you
accidentally melt the butter by adding the water/cocoa poweder mixture
while it's still hot in the basic cake recipe, it makes decent
brownies....).
Last week for Thanksgiving, I made a cake called "rich chocolate cake"
from a bargain cookbook that was ok, but certainly not rich. Instead
of cocoa powder, it called for bittersweet chocolate, and used brown
sugar instead of regular. The color was extremely light, and the
chocolate taste only so-so.
Thanks for any hints!
--Elit.
Reply to
Elitsirk
=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D REZKONV-Rezept - RezkonvSuite v0.96f
Titel: Chocolate "Mont Blanc" cake Kategorien: Cake, Chocolate Menge: 1 Rezept
250 Gramm Dark chocolate 100 Gramm Sugar 100 Gramm Unsalted butter, pieces 75 Gramm Plain flour 4 Eggs, separated 2 tablesp. Liquid to flavour *
=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D= =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D QUELLE =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D= =3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D -Erfasst *
RK* 10.10.02 von -H.W. Hans Kuntze, CMC
Melt chocolate with liquid in bowl over hot water. Add butter and stir until melted in. Beat in sugar and egg yolks, then add flour.
Fold in stiffly beaten eggwhites. Pour into greased and floured tin.
Bake for about 40 minutes in oven at 180 degrees, until skewer comes out clean. Watch for burning; chocolate burns horribly.
Note: this cake is called "Mont Blanc" because it's meant to be cooked in a kugelhopf mould, and then the centre hole filled with a mound of cream before serving, so that it resembles a snow covered mountain. It's very nice this way!
*
coffee, liqueur, brandy work well. You must use water if nothing else!
=3D=3D=3D=3D=3D
--=20 Sincerly,
C=3D=A6-)=A7 H. W. Hans Kuntze, CMC, S.g.K. (_o_)
formatting link
, chefcmcchef.com"Don't cry because it's over, Smile because it Happened"_/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/=20
Reply to
H. W. Hans Kuntze
Nothing ever has enough of a chocolate taste to me, so
I bought some Star Kay White's chocolate extract and used it as an addition to brownies, using their advice "It is used to enrich, fortify and enhance chocolate flavored food products." But when I added a teaspoon to a pan of brownies, the brownie had a chemical taste. Perhaps I should have left out the vanilla in the recipe -- maybe I did leave it out, I don't remember now and can't locate the recipe.
Wanting myself a rich moist chocolate cake like Duncan-Hines devils' food cake recipe, I would be tempted to add this chocolate extract, but I think it would take more than this extract to make the taste-alike Duncan Hines devils food cake.
Some might ask if one likes the Duncan Hines mix so well why not use it?
My Answer: I try not to use any product that has hydrogenated oils, vegetable shortening, vegetable oils, etc. in it. Although I have used products that do contain it, I would prefer not to use them on a consistent basis. And I like the process of "trying" to bake a good product.
As an aside, since I bought some "Green and Black" organic hot chocolate mix over the holidays, even it is NOT chocolaty enough for me, and I'm tempted to add some of the chocolate extract to it.
Does anyone use "chocolate extract" often or have a track record with it - I 'd be glad to hear any experience.
Thanks,
Dee
Reply to
Dee Randall
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But their Extract page is hard to find and is at.
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brand is Golden Gate and i've been using them for years, excellent.=20Shipping is free. The extracts are extremely potent, use in moderation, especially the=20 butter pecan for Toll-House cookies. IMHO much-much better than Pennzy's f.i. or the junk you find in=20 supermarkets.
BTW, their persian saffron is great too, best quality.
Although on Vanilla I use "La Vencadora" (hard to get, try Ebay)=20 straight from Mexico. Some of the mexican vanilla is no good, "La Vencadora" is excellent.
--=20 Sincerly,
C=3D=A6-)=A7 H. W. Hans Kuntze, CMC, S.g.K. (_o_)
formatting link
, chefcmcchef.com"Don't cry because it's over, Smile because it Happened"_/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/=20
Reply to
H. W. Hans Kuntze
at Wed, 03 Dec 2003 21:52:56 GMT in , snipped-for-privacy@yahoo.com (Elitsirk) wrote :
This recipe is for the cake portion of "Chocolate Death", my ultimate chocolate cake recipe that I posted some time back. It's hard to go wrong with this one.
Chocolate cake
8 oz. 70%-type bittersweet chocolate (Guittard Bittersweet recommended) 1 cup sugar 2/3 cup flour 8 tbsp butter 4 eggs 1/3 cup water
Preheat the oven to 350F. Thoroughly grease and flour a 9" cake pan. Separate the eggs into yolks and whites. Cut up the butter and allow to soften a bit. Bring the water to a simmer, and in it melt the chocolate over low heat (that's right - *in* the water). Remove from the heat and stir in the egg yolks one at a time. Add the sugar and butter and mix well. Once everything has melted, stir in the flour. Whip the egg whites into stiff peaks and fold in. Pour into the prepared pan and bake at 350F for 45-50 minutes, testing carefully to avoid scorching. Remove and cool.
Now, let me give a bit of a guide on identifying what to look for. I can use the recipe above for examples.
The most important thing to bear in mind is that it's not a question of which ingredients are in a recipe, or even how much of a main ingredient there is, but rather of proportions and method. As a result, you have to look at the relative amounts of ingredients instead of the absolute amounts. This takes some experience and practice. It helps to have an awareness of what different ingredients do, and in what direction they lean a recipe.
Flour lends structure, while weakening the overall intensity of flavour and drying out the result. Low-protein flour (pastry flour) will make a cake considerably lighter and drier. High-protein flour will make it denser and moister, and also more sturdy.
Sugar also contributes to structure, and will make the cake somewhat chewier and more springy. It tends to lean a cake away from the crumbly side and towards the gummy side. Obviously, it makes it sweeter. Brown sugar will make a cake moister and deeper in flavour, and the darker the sugar the stronger this effect. Liquid sugars will make for a very smooth texture. You have to be careful with honey because enzyme reactions can destroy the texture altogether - a real mess! The key point with honey is not to overdo it.
Butter makes a cake denser and richer, as well as browning the outside. It's key also to keeping a cake moist.
Vegetable shortening (e.g. Crisco) makes a cake much lighter and airier. Cakes made with shortening almost never taste as rich as those made with butter, and there's often a bit of a strange pastiness to them.
Liquid oils make a cake very tender indeed, and generally quite light. Some oils (olive, hazelnut, sesame) have very strong flavours which you must use with caution.
Eggs will make a cake lighter and puffier. Too few, however, and your cake turns towards brownie, and ultimately to cookie. Yolks alone will make a cake somewhat richer and more silken, whites alone will make a cake very light and springy.
Chocolate makes a cake much denser and generally drier. It also makes the texture smooth and silken. Cocoa, OTOH, will always make a cake drier and crumblier, as well as lighter. Clearly, both will add intensity of flavour. There are many variables here. Sweetened chocolate will add flavour in proportion to its cocoa percentage - high-percentage chocolates at 70% will add a lot of flavour, low-percentage at 50% will contribute much less. Cocoa adds a lot of flavour whack for little addition, but will give a harsher taste relative to chocolate and the cake will always taste of cocoa, not chocolate. "Dutch-processed" cocoa, as well as chocolate, will make any cake much darker, almost black, but paradoxically with a milder flavour and a characteristic metallic twang. It's crucial to use the best quality chocolate or cocoa you can find. Much "baking chocolate" - the blocks that Bakers', Hershey's, and Nestle sell, is worthless and you shouldn't use them at all. Don't believe that a good recipe will hide a bad chocolate - it's rather the reverse: a bad chocolate can spoil a good recipe. Better to get a quality brand like Ghirardelli, Callebaut, or Guittard. Finally, chocolate chips will almost always make a cake drier and leaning towards a cocoa texture, but without the powerful flavour cocoa provides; rather, the flavour will be mild.
Most of the "white dairy" products, e.g. milk, cream, sour cream, etc. make a cake very tender. Sometimes the acid in the cultured members such as buttermilk, sour cream, and yogurt is necessary to react with leavening agents like baking soda.
Cakes that use chemical leavening such as baking soda or baking powder will be generally somewhat light, but rarely as light as those that use air- leavening (generally, from beaten egg whites), which can be very light indeed, if the volume of egg white is large. If there's neither beaten egg white nor any kind of chemical leavening, the resulting cake will be very dense (e.g. pound cake).
Now, on to method. As I just said, if a recipe calls for beaten egg whites, it's usually going to be quite light. However, to some degree, this depends on how much egg white there is. Really large volumes of egg white almost always signal a very light, airy cake, but small volumes (such as, for instance, 3 egg whites for 2 cups of flour) don't necessarily indicate this. If the recipe calls for yolks to be beaten along with the whites, then the cake will usually be considerably denser. Some recipes ask for yolks to be beaten separately. This is for the lightest cakes of all, especially the sponge-cake family which are all very low density.
If you beat sugar in with the whites, it stabilizes the mixture considerably so that there will be less deflation, and a lighter cake, when this mixture gets blended with everything else.
When egg whites are beaten, they are to be folded in (that is, you take a spatula and lightly draw the other parts of the mix over the egg whites in a scooping, sweeping motion). One question here concerns what is to be folded into what. If the recipe asks that the whites be folded with melted chocolate first, it'll be denser than one that folds flour in first. If chocolate and flour are mixed together first, then the whole folded in, it will be lightest of the 3. The key point: folding melted chocolate directly into egg whites causes a lot of deflation. The more things dilute the chocolate, the less deflation. Cocoa, by contrast, does not deflate egg whites.
Most recipes will ask you to cream the butter. If you don't cream butter, cakes will usually be extremely dense, often leaden and brick-like. It's not necessary to cream vegetable shortening. A very few recipes will call for melted butter, usually in small amounts. As you discovered, this will lean the texture towards that of a brownie.
Recipes that ask you to stir most of the ingredients together tend to emphasize robust structure over tenderness or lightness. Ones that mix things in carefully, in stages, and with different, sometimes seemingly bizarre, specific methods of incorporation usually come out more tender and lighter.
Higher oven temperatures, around 425F and above, generally emphasize exteriour browning. They will make the cake drier on the outside, and moister in the middle for a time, but then suddenly everything will dry out completely. If the recipe starts at a high temperature but then decreases it, the goal is often to set a crucial ingredient, usually eggs. If you started such recipes at a lower temperature, they tend to lose volume, or worse still, separate and become uneven (the usual result: a dense, greasy buttery layer on the bottom, a light, dry, eggy layer on top) Also, high temperatures create many more problems with cake "doming" - the effect where the center rises much more than the edges.
Moderate oven temperatures, around 350F, usually allow for moist cakes with a uniform texture throughout and a somewhat browned exteriour. The outside will not usually be truly crisp, although it can be firm and a bit crusty. These also can dry out if left in the oven too long. With chocolate, there's a risk at this temperature that the chocolate will scorch, and you must remove them before you smell anything that seems even slightly burnt.
Low oven temperatures, 325 and below, emphasize minimal doming and a tender outside. Paradoxically, these can be very dry indeed because they require long baking for the center to be done at all. If the cake is in a water- bath while in the oven, this won't happen, but if not, it could well be designed to be fairly dry. There's much less risk of chocolate scorching at this temperature.
With all this in mind, I will "dissect" the above recipe. While this may not be obvious without experience, the proportions of ingredients reveal much of the secret - it's a cake absolutely *laden* with chocolate and butter, while minimizing sugar and especially, flour. Clearly the objective is to increase the chocolate proportion and decrease the flour proportion as much as sanely possible, before you reach truly brownie-like consistency. 2/3 cup of flour is a tiny amount, while 8 oz chocolate, for that little flour, is extreme. The amount by itself isn't enough to be conclusive - for instance, if it were 8 oz to 2 cups flour, that'd simply be "typical", but when you see it at that ratio, it's clear that intensity is the aim. Then you have the butter. 8 tbsp is already a lot, with those amounts of flour and sugar, and when you add it to all that chocolate, the direction this cake seems to be headed is towards a chocolate decadence. Meanwhile, the number of eggs is merely that which one might find in a "typical" butter cake - in other words, this isn't going to have sponge- cake consistency, especially not with the levels of butter and chocolate.
Now you look at method. Unusually, the butter is to be melted. Again, it's headed towards brownie territory. This recipe is starting to look more and more like a chocolate decadence. And in a bizarre twist, you're melting chocolate *in* water. The reason for this may not be clear, but I'll give it to you: the idea is to add moisture to the cake, so that the high chocolate proportion won't dry it out completely (extreme amounts of chocolate risk making a cake very dry). So what's to stop this "cake" from becoming a chocolate decadence? Reversing every other trend in the recipe, the egg whites are to be beaten and folded in. Now this *is* a surprise. It's rare that a recipe that's been headed denser, denser, denser, suddenly does an about-face and goes...lighter. But here's where the larger vision of the cake comes in to view - the objective was to densify the mix as much as possible, up to a point where one does the most extreme thing possible to lighten it, so that it doesn't end up as a bomb. The net result is that the beaten egg whites lighten it just enough to keep it within the texture range of "cake" rather than "brownie" or "decadence", while pushing the proportions of everything to the limits of the possible. Baking at 350 keeps the uniform consistency (at this density, there aren't going to be many problems with doming, either), so at the end you arrive at a very moist, very chocolatey, very rich cake, perhaps as extreme as you can go.
What this recipe also illustrates is the unusual measures necessary to get a chocolate cake that is both strongly chocolatey and quite moist, without it becoming a brownie. The reason you have to resort to unorthodox tactics is that the natural tendencies of the ingredients fight each other. The problem is chocolate. In order to get lots of flavour, you have to add a lot of chocolate. But this tends to dry out the cake. You can use cocoa, but this only makes the drying problem worse if you do nothing else, and it makes the cake taste of cocoa. You can increase the amount of butter to offset the moistness problem, but this only exaggerates your density problem. So to get around this, you use beaten egg whites, the most powerful way of increasing volume and lightness.
As I hope I explained above, it's not surprising that most book recipes come out this way, because there's a finite limit to how much chocolate you can add to a "typical" or classic recipe before it becomes unacceptably dry and/or dense. So the rich, moist chocolate cake requires a radical rethink of the cake method altogether. Even expert pastry chefs have limits on their time, creativity, and ingenuity, and they may stumble across a magic formula, but generally it's going to take someone unusually obsessed with chocolate to concoct a chocolate cake recipe that is really chocolatey and really moist at the same time.
Reply to
Alex Rast
Thanks for the information on the
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page
I've bought saffron from Penzy's and needed some more and bought it at a global market about a month ago and haven't used it yet, tho. After I got home and looked at it more closely, it did have some "white" in it and I didn't have Penzy's to compare it with, but I couldn't recall Penzy's saffron having white it in at all.
I see that saffron's page sells Iranian (you call Persian?), which I've heard is the best -- I don't know. I've only used Spanish. On the page, which amount do you buy or recommend. I keep my in a closed jar in the refrigerator.
thanks, Dee
formatting link
But their Extract page is hard to find and is at.
formatting link
brand is Golden Gate and i've been using them for years, excellent.Shipping is free. The extracts are extremely potent, use in moderation, especially the butter pecan for Toll-House cookies. IMHO much-much better than Pennzy's f.i. or the junk you find in supermarkets.
BTW, their persian saffron is great too, best quality.
Although on Vanilla I use "La Vencadora" (hard to get, try Ebay) straight from Mexico. Some of the mexican vanilla is no good, "La Vencadora" is excellent.
Reply to
Dee Randall
Thanks for your recipe. I think I may try it in a few days. You are so knowledgeable about this, (after reading your information below) that I feel I can ask you this question.
You recommended 70% bittersweet chocolate. I have in my pantry 62% Scharffen Berger bittersweet pure dark chocolate, a 70% Scharffen Berger bittersweet pure dark chocolate. And a 99% Scharffen Berger "unsweetened" (doesn't say "bittersweet") pure dark chocolate. I should use as you recommended the 70%?
I notice that you do not say unsalted or salted butter. Would it make a difference in this recipe? I have both on hand. My salted butter is Amish, and my unsalted is just typical from Costco.
I'm curious as to the "baking powder" or "baking soda," as I'm not quite sure, having not made many cakes in my life, does this recipe not need a baking powder or soda, but most cakes do?
I am going to use all-purpose flour in this recipe, as I don't use cake flour because it is all bleached. I take it that the flour called for in this recipe is all-purpose? I hope so. I prefer it to cake flour.
I'm glad your recipe didn't include chocolate chips.
Thanks for your extra comments with your recipe, I really appreciate them.
Dee
Reply to
Dee Randall
I hope the gave you a jar of vaseline as bonus.
That is common for the cheaper grades of Mancha.
Yes. That is what it's been called since Methusala. Same with other=20 countries that were renamed. I like the old names better. Ceylon instead =
of Sri-Lanka, etc.
It is Sargol, excellent. Best quality there is, comparable (or better=20 than) to Mancha Coupe or the best of the Kashmiri Saffron. The flavor=20 (Eugenol) is a little different than Mancha.
Whatever you can use within a few month or you can keep it in the=20 freezer a long time. And never ever buy saffron ground, too much monkey business with that one= =2E
[...]
If it is airtight it should not pick up moisture or flavors.
As long/ or if you/ as you prefer spanish saffron, check out:
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an ounce of select Mancha (good quality) goes for around $30 an ounce. At Pennzy's they ask 4x as much for the same thing. Their spices are nice, but way overpriced. Or if you live on the east-coast(same company):
formatting link
Sincerly,
C=3D=A6-)=A7 H. W. Hans Kuntze, CMC, S.g.K. (_o_)
formatting link
, chefcmcchef.com"Don't cry because it's over, Smile because it Happened"_/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/=20
Reply to
H. W. Hans Kuntze
at Thu, 04 Dec 2003 01:54:29 GMT in , :
Can't resist a comment. IMHO it's unfortunate that you have Scharffen Berger, because it's not particularly good, relative to other chocolates in its class. They underroast, resulting in an aggressively fruity taste. Do you like *extreme* fruitiness in your chocolate flavour? If so, you're buying the right chocolate. Otherwise, use this up and then switch to another brand.
As far as which to use of the 3, yes, the 70% would be the choice.
A slight difference at most. If your salted butter is higher-quality, use that.
It doesn't need it because of the egg whites, which add all the leavening. As I mentioned in my original reply, some recipes ask for chemical leavening, others don't. The ones that don't generally either use air leavening from egg whites, or remain very dense.
*I* use pastry flour, but all-purpose will be fine. It'll be slightly denser, but still within the acceptable range. Bread flour, however, will make it too dense (It's that close to the borderline)
Reply to
Alex Rast
Thanks for the answers, but whut's up with the vaseline statement? Do you mean because it's so hard to open? If so, possibly a strap wrench would be in order.
I'll file your answers for future orders. My appreciation, Dee
I hope the gave you a jar of vaseline as bonus.
That is common for the cheaper grades of Mancha.
Yes. That is what it's been called since Methusala. Same with other countries that were renamed. I like the old names better. Ceylon instead of Sri-Lanka, etc.
It is Sargol, excellent. Best quality there is, comparable (or better than) to Mancha Coupe or the best of the Kashmiri Saffron. The flavor (Eugenol) is a little different than Mancha.
Whatever you can use within a few month or you can keep it in the freezer a long time. And never ever buy saffron ground, too much monkey business with that one.
[...]
If it is airtight it should not pick up moisture or flavors.
As long/ or if you/ as you prefer spanish saffron, check out:
formatting link
an ounce of select Mancha (good quality) goes for around $30 an ounce. At Pennzy's they ask 4x as much for the same thing. Their spices are nice, but way overpriced. Or if you live on the east-coast(same company):
formatting link
Reply to
Dee Randall
Nope.
I don't think a strap wrench would help in this case, Dee. :-)
It has more to do with easing the pain of being taken advantage of.
Fair prices would help a great deal more.
But, more power to them.
--=20 Sincerly,
C=3D=A6-)=A7 H. W. Hans Kuntze, CMC, S.g.K. (_o_)
formatting link
, chefcmcchef.com"Don't cry because it's over, Smile because it Happened"_/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/ _/=20
Reply to
H. W. Hans Kuntze
You say, it's unfortunate that you have Scharffen Berger, because it's not particularly good, relative to other chocolates in its class. They underroast, resulting in an aggressively fruity taste. Do you like *extreme* fruitiness in your chocolate flavour? If so, you're buying the right chocolate. Otherwise, use this up and then switch to another brand. ***
Yes, come to think of it, a "fruitiness" now that I think back on using half of the 99%, is the taste that I was wondering about. I was thinking it was just to bitter for me (even tho I prefer dark chocolate for eating), but I believe that is probably what it was.
I am open to suggestions for what is considered a good brand of chocolate that you might recommend. I know that I love Ghiradelli chocolate ice cream AT THEIR FACTORY, and I really like the Ghiradelli cocoa, and have bought a number of brands of chocolate and cocoa from King Arthur over the years, but these have all been bought without recommendation and I haven't really learned anything from it - perhaps my chocolate taste buds aren't sophisticated enough -- yet.
My appreciation, Dee
:
Reply to
Dee Randall
Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha! That's a good one, Hans -- you got me on that one! Dee
Nope.
I don't think a strap wrench would help in this case, Dee. :-)
It has more to do with easing the pain of being taken advantage of.
Fair prices would help a great deal more.
But, more power to them.
Reply to
Dee Randall
at Thu, 04 Dec 2003 04:50:08 GMT in , :
Fruitiness and bitterness are closely related. Scharffen Berger is very deliberate in going for a fruity flavour, but rather like you, most people, it would seem, just find it too aggressive for their liking. Good chocolate isn't deceptive in that sense - if it tastes less-than-ideal, it's less than ideal. Even a 100% can have no bitterness at all (e.g. Slitti) or have bitterness that is by no means harsh (e.g. Cluizel).
For everyday use, Ghirardelli is very good. For slightly upscale, Guittard is excellent. For *definitely* upscale, Michel Cluizel is perhaps the best overall. For an ultra-splurge, experiment with Domori which is as good as Cluizel but with some additional, exclusive varietals (especially Porcelana, Carenero Superior)
Reply to
Alex Rast
Thank you for the very in-depth answer! This is just the sort of information I was looking for. I am looking forward to trying your recipe--it definitely looks intriguing :)
--Elit.
{snip}
Reply to
Elitsirk
Thanks for all of the chocolate info. I'm afraid I don't get out enough and by "good" chocolate (not that I buy bad chocolate instead).
Anyway, since I don't know much about this subject, can you give me your opinion of chocolates such as Valrohna?
Thanks, SC
:
Reply to
Me
at Thu, 04 Dec 2003 21:10:23 GMT in , :
Well, there really isn't such a thing as "such as Valrhona". It's either Valrhona or not. What I mean by this is, you can't "lump" chocolates into categories by associating them with a particular brand. Nor can you do so by country. So it's equally misleading to talk about "French" or "Swiss" or "American" chocolate as it is about chocolates "such as" Valrhona, or Lindt, or Guittard. Even price isn't a particularly reliable guide: there are world-class chocolates available at pittances, and chocolates that cost a bomb that aren't any better than Nestle. Typically each quality chocolate manufacturer has a "signature" taste - it's then up to you to decide which type of taste you tend to like best.
As for Valrhona themselves, they make generally excellent chocolate. The flavour of their chocolates usually leans strongly towards the fruity side. But unlike Scharffen Berger, I've found that they usually don't go overboard, so, yes, it's fruity, no, it's not overbearingly fruity. The other thing Valrhona is well-known for is impeccable texture. Valrhona chocolates are always ultra-smooth and creamy, usually better than similar competitors. While this is valuable when you're eating it straight, it has less of a direct impact if you're using it in baking. There are a few big "winners" from Valrhona : chocolates that are worth your time to track down and try.
Caraibe: Displays the characteristics of Trinitario cocoas. Pungent, molasses flavour. Le Noir Amer: A good reference for a general-purpose 70% bittersweet. Nicely powerful, redolent of currants. Araguani: A refreshingly new direction for them. It's roasted a little longer, resulting in a beautiful, floral taste. Gran Couva: The last 2 I'm listing are definitely a notch better than the others. This one is very complex, with piney and blueberry notes. It varies from year to year. A grand semisweet chocolate. Guanaja: This is the chocolate that started it all: the one that created the revival of interest in ultra-quality chocolate. Lives up to its reputation beyond your imagination. Amazingly intense, tropical flavour, and even the texture somehow seems a little better than other Valrhonas. When it first came out, this chocolate pretty much redefined people's concepts of what good chocolate could be. One of the world's great chocolates.
Reply to
Alex Rast
Alex, I can't get back to your posting re the Chocolate Death cake, so I will piggy-back this message to ask you:
When you say to "thoroughly grease and flour a 9" cake pan," I'm wondering if you would consider using butter instead of shortening -- I don't use shortening. Or what you might use instead of shortening? I don't have any more spectrum. I usually put a teeny-weeny bit of oil (olive oil -- don't scold!) on the bottom of a pan -- not enough to really taste. If I use Pam, I will wipe the majority of it off, as well.
#2 question: What do you think of the suggestion that many cooks make: to use "cocoa" instead of flour when greasing and flouring the pan. I'm not sure what the top limits of degrees -- say 375? would be for using cocoa. Any comments on this appreciated!
Dee
:
Reply to
Dee Randall
at Thu, 04 Dec 2003 23:25:47 GMT in , :
Not only would I consider it, you *should* use butter. That's what I use. Those familiar with this NG know that it would be a rare occasion indeed that I would use vegetable shortening - there is almost always a better fat to use. "Grease" in this context simply means "smear with such solid fat as you prefer". Butter is IMHO the preferred choice.
Using cocoa can be problematic because, as you imply, it burns, and also, it can stick. Cocoa as a dusting agent is less reliable than flour, although if you're baking at low temperatures (certainly no more than 325), it's probably OK and of course does mean there's slightly more chocolate flavour. This particular cake can be tricky to remove if the pan hasn't really been thoroughly greased and floured, so I don't recommend cocoa here.
Reply to
Alex Rast
If this cake can be tricky to get out of the pan, it would be a good idea to use a parchment circle on the bottom of the pan.
Reply to
jlh

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    Baking Crafts

  • I made these kouign-amann based off of allrecipes recipe at This might just be...
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    Baking Crafts

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