Archive for June 18th, 2008

Chocolate Disaster Cake


Okay, I don’t like to admit my mistakes, especially when they’re foolish ones.  But sometimes our mistakes are too good to keep to ourselves.  We were on vacation 2 weeks ago and I did a good amount of baking at that time (yes, baking was a planned part of my vacation, I don’t get that kind of time at home).  I wanted to start the week with a simple dessert, but something that would be appreciated by a chocoholic.

Enter the Flourless Chocolate Cake.  I’ve made these before.  Several years ago, I made this in mini bundt pans for a ladies tea my wife was hosting.  I served them with a light dusting of powdered sugar and a small raspberry sitting in the little indentation on the top of the mini cake.  They were a huge hit.  Very chocolatey, dense and somewhat creamy.  Well, I had come across a similar recipe on King Arthur Flour’s website via their Baker’s Banter blog (you can read their entry on this recipe here).   Theirs was similar, but also added a very tasty chocolate ganache as a topping – whoa, that sounded really good!

I didn’t have any cake pans available at the vacation rental house, but I did have some loaf pans, so I thought I’d give it a try and just extend the baking time.  So, I lined the loaf pan like the recipe said, leaving some extra parchment hanging over the edges to help lift the cake out at the end.  I started baking the suggested time for a cake pan, and, of course, it wasn’t done.  I started adding time in 5 minute increments.  I checked a second time and a third, still not done.  That’s where everything went south.  Something else missing in this vacation rental home was a second oven mitt.  I usually like to use both hands when putting things in or taking them out of the oven, just so I keep the batter level and avoid spashes, etc.  This time, with only one oven mitt, and therefore, only one hand on the pan, I lost it.  I had sprayed the pan with nonstick baking spray and had gotten some on the lip of the pan.  Let me tell you, that stuff is slick – literally.  My thumb slipped and the pan fell out of my hand – upside down, onto the open oven door.  Quickly, I lifted the pan off the door in the hopes that maybe I could save it – no luck.  The parchment did a fantastic job and released the entire cake from the pan, cleanly. 

The interior of the cake wasn’t done yet, so the gooey batter spread out amidst the baked portions.  Everything began to bake onto the ungreased, unprotected oven door.  I stood there, amazed, wondering what to do.  My wife heard the comotion and quickly assisted by scooping up everything that wasn’t baked onto the door back into the pan.  That was that.  Some serious cleaning ensued (baking soda and water worked very well to remove that nasty mess from the door) and I was left with a pan of partialy baked cake.  My wife encouraged me to make the best of a bad situation, and that’s when the muse struck – Chocolate Disaster Cake would be born.

I had already prepared the ganache and didn’t want it to go to waste, so I scooped out some generous spoonfuls of the batter – some baked, some not and topped it with the ganache.  You know what?  It not only tasted fantastic (kind of like a molten lava cake), but actually didn’t look too bad – you can see for yourself.

The moral of the story?  1.  Always use 2 hands and 2. Make the best of even your worst disasters.  I haven’t yet tried to reproduce this in the loaf pan to see if that would have worked, but considering the outcome here, I may have a hard time letting the next one bake all the way before I start hacking into it.  Ahh, sweet defeat.

You can find the recipe for Flourless Chocolate Cake by King Arthur Flour here.


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