CakeLove, How to Bake Cakes from Scratch by Warren Brown, shows you how make the best cakes with excerpts like The Secret to the Best Chocolate Cake and recipes like Chocolate Pound Cake and Chocolate Apricot Pound Cake.
Yield: one 12-cup Bundt cake or 32 Crunchy Feet
This cake is a trusted standby for chocolate lovers. The taste is simple, it's familiar, and the chocolate flavor is just rich enough. Slices of this cake are even more delicious lightly buttered and warmed in a frying pan. Happy baking!
This recipe makes a lot of batter. You may even have to use two sheet pans and two oven racks to bake 32 Crunchy Feet at the same time.
Equipment: mixing bowls, standing mixer, one 12-cup Bundt pan or small brioche pans
Alcohol-free variation: Omit the brandy and vanilla extract. Substitute the seeds from 1 vanilla bean and 2 additional tablespoons whole milk. Whisk to combine with the liquid ingredients.
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (conventional) or 335°F (convection). Set the rack in the middle of the oven. For Crunchy Feet, set racks in the upper-middle and lower-middle positions.
2. Set out the ingredients and equipment.
Sift the flour directly into a bowl on a scale for accurate measuring.
Measure the other dry ingredients into a separate mixing bowl, add the flour, and whisk for 10 seconds to blend. Set aside.
Measure the liquid ingredients into a separate bowl, whisk to combine, and set aside.
Measure the butter and sugar into separate bowls and set aside.
Crack the eggs and yolk into separate bowls and set aside.
3. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the butter and sugar on the lowest speed for 2 to 3 minutes.
4. With the mixer still on the lowest speed, add the eggs one at a time followed by the yolk, fully incorporating after each addition. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl.
5. Add the dry ingredient mixture alternately with the liquid mixture in 3 to 5 additions each, beginning and ending with the dry mixture. Move swiftly through this step to avoid overworking the batter. Don't wait for the dry or liquid mixtures to be fully incorporated before adding the next. This step should take a total of about 60 seconds.
6. Stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl all the way down. Don't miss the clumps of ingredients hiding on the bottom of the bowl. Mix on medium speed for 15 to 20 seconds to develop the batter's structure.
7. Prepare the pans. For a Bundt cake, spray the pan well with a nonstick spray. For Crunchy Feet, place the brioche pans on sheet pans (16 per half-sheet pan is a snug fit) and spray them liberally.
8. For a Bundt cake, fill the pan about three-quarters full by depositing the batter with the rubber spatula in small clumps around the prepared pan instead of by pouring it into one spot. Level the batter with the rubber spatula. Bake any leftover batter as Crunchy Feet or cupcakes. For Crunchy Feet, use a 2-ounce, trigger-release, ice-cream scoop to deposit the batter into the prepared pans so they're three-quarters full.
9. Follow the approximate bake times listed below.
Item | Sea Level | High Altitude
12-cup Bundt | 50-55 minutes | 60 minutes
Crunchy Feet | 15 minutes | 32 minutes
10. Once the top of the cake doesn't jiggle in the center, test for doneness by inserting a bamboo skewer in the center of the cake. When the skewer shows just a touch of crumbs or comes out clean, and the color is an even medium brown, the cake is done. Remove the pan from the oven and place on a heat-resistant surface or wire rack .
11. For Crunchy Feet, carefully invert the brioche pans to release the cakes 3 to 4 minutes after removing them from the oven-well before they cool completely. You may have to tap each pan firmly-or even slam it-against the sheet pan to release the cake. Place on a heat-resistant surface or wire rack to cool. Immediately soak the pans to make cleaning easier.
12. For the Bundt cake, once the cake has cooled for 5 to 10 minutes, remove the cake by inverting the pan onto a flat surface. Allow it to cool to room temperature, about 30 minutes, before glazing.
Serve at room temperature naked or with a dusting of confectioners' sugar. Or use a fruit preserve glaze from the Frostings and Glazes chapter (page 176 of the book). For something even richer, serve covered with Ganache (page 172), as on page 36.
Store under a cake dome at room temperature, or wrapped in plastic in the fridge for up to 1 week. To store longer, label, date, and store the plastic-wrapped cake in the freezer for up to 1 month.
This page created August 2008
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