Saturday, April 13, 2013
Chocolate! Need I Say More?
In general I've been fairly successful with my diet changes, mostly so I don't have a repeat of January, but also for weight loss. There are times, however, when I really, really want something sweet. Although I love cookies and have little will power around candy, for some reason the item that kept popping up in my mind was chocolate pound cake. You know the kind...moist, deeply chocolate, fine grained, just a bit buttery.
This week I decided that the solution was to make a chocolate pound cake type cake, but to bake the batter in small loaves. One was left in the fridge for snacking and the other three went into the freezer. Now you might think that a cake in the freezer is still potent temptation, but that means you haven't seen the state of my freezer. Sometimes items disappear for months!
This lovely chocolate cake is from one of the best books for a chocolate lover...Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts. Two of my all-time favorte recipes can be found in the book: 86 Proof Chocolate Bundt Cake and Chocolate Fudge Pie.
The one I made this time is also excellent; Sour Cream Chocolate Loaf Cake. Because I had some new Bensdorp Cocoa from King Arthur Flour which is a deep, dark wonderful cocoa, I changed the recipe some so that I could use cocoa instead of semi-sweet chocolate. I also adore the addition of Bourbon in the 86 Proof cake, so I substituted some for some of the water called for. I confess, since I also used some egg substitute instead of one of the eggs, and some lowfat plain yogurt instead of the sour cream, this recipe has only a resemblance to the original. Still, that's half the fun and the changes resulted in a delicious, not too sweet, slightly bourbon-y chocolate loaf cake that doesn't even need the icing that the recipe calls for. It had a wonderful chocolate flavor. A couple slices of the mini-loaf took care of my chocolate cravings for the day. It's three days later and I still have some in the fridge. Might have to have another small slice with tea after some gardening. I might have to clean out my freezer sooner than I thought...
Chocolate Loaf Cake
based on a recipe in Maida Heatter's Book of Great Chocolate Desserts
2 teaspoons dry espresso coffee
3/4 cup boiling water
1/4 cup bourbon
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup dark cocoa powder (like bensdorp Dutch-process cocoa*) or 1/2 cup regular cocoa powder (like Hershey's unsweetened)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 pound (1 stick) sweet butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups brown sugar, firmly packed
1 large or extra-large egg
1/4 cup egg substitute
1/2 cup lowfat plain yogurt (Greek style is fine)
extra flour and cocoa for the pan(s)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F and place oven rack one-third up from bottom of oven.
Butter a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan or a combination of small pans that equals 8 cups volume, then dust with a mixture of flour and cocoa, using a fine mesh strainer. Tap out any excess flour/cocoa mixture. Set aside.
In a heat-proof 2 cup measure, place the dry espresso, then the boiling water. Stir to dissolve the coffee. Add the bourbon. It should reach the 1 cup mark. Set aside to cool.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In the large bowl of an electric mixer cream the butter. Add the vanilla and brown sugar and beat to mix well. Add the egg, mix and scrape the bowl well. Add the egg substitute and beat until all is incorporated. On low speed gradually add half the sifted ingredients, scraping the bowl with a rubber spatula and beating only until smooth. Add half the coffee mixture and again beat only until smooth at low speed. Add the rest of the dry ingredients and the rest of the liquid mixture on low speed. Mix until incorporated, scrape the bowl and mix again only enough until mixture is smooth. Batter may be thin.
Pour batter into the prepared pan(s). If baking the full loaf pan, bake for 60 to 75 minutes until a cake tester comes out clean and dry. If baking smaller loaves, place them on a baking sheet for stability and bake about 30 minutes, testing at 25 minutes. Cake is done when tester comes out clean and dry.
Cool cake in the pan for 2-3 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack and cool, right side up. Can be frosted with your favorite icing or ganache. To freeze, wrap in plastic and then wrap in a zip-closing bag. If not freezing, wrap in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator. Bring to room temperature before serving.