Friday, December 13, 2019

A Festive Chocolate Cake

At this time of year you are often asked to bring a potluck dish or a dessert to a gathering, especially if people know that you are a good baker. Here is a good choice. Almost everyone likes chocolate!

This cake is a single layer or can be a loaf cake. It's a pound cake with a fairly tight crumb. The intensity of the chocolate flavor depends on the cocoa you use. This time I used Trader Joe's cocoa and it was delicious but mild. For a deeper chocolate flavor I've used King Arthur Flour's XX cocoa. I also went off recipe as usual and added just a touch of espresso powder (1/4 teaspoon added to the dry ingredients) to deepen the flavor profile.

This cake goes together fairly quickly. If you bake it in a decorative, flatter pan as I did, it's also fairly quick. I think it took 35 minutes to bake. In a loaf pan it takes longer, just over an hour. That's the recipe I'm giving below.

If you bake it in a loaf pan, drizzle the mint icing over the top and sprinkle the crushed peppermint candies over it. For the snowflake pan I put the icing into a ziploc bag and cut off the tip and piped it over the snowflake pattern, then added the candies to just those areas.

Hope you find some time to make this delightful cake!

XO, Elle

Chocolate Cream Pound Cake
Makes one 9x5 inch loaf cake(Recipe from Cake Keeper Cakes by Lauren Chattman)

6 tbsp unsweetened Dutch process cocoa powder
¼ cup heavy cream
1 cup plus 2 tbsp all purpose flour
¼ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
½ cup (1stick) unsalted butter, softened
1½ cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

MethodHeat the oven to 325F. Grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan and dust with flour.

Sift the cocoa powder into a heatproof bowl. Place the cream in a microwavable bowl and heat for 30-60 seconds until just boiling. Pour the hot cream over the cocoa and stir and mash with a spoon to make a thick paste. Set aside to cool.

Combine the flour, baking soda and salt in a medium mixing bowl.

Combine the butter and sugar in a large bowl and cream with an electric mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice as necessary. Beat in the cocoa powder paste until smooth.

With the mixer on medium-low speed add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Stir in the vanilla.

Turn the mixer to low speed and add the flour mixture, ½ cup at a time, scraping down the sides after each addition. Add the last addition, mix for 30 seconds on medium speed.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula. Bake the cake until it is firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean, about 1 hour and 10 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Invert it onto a wire rack and then turn it right side up on the rack to cool completely. Slice and serve, or decorate with icing and crushed peppermint candy canes:

Mint Icing
Heat 2 teaspoons milk in the microwave or over the stove for a few minutes until just hot. Add two drops mint extract.

In a small bowl sift 1 cup confectioners' sugar. Add the hot milk, a little at a time, mixing with a small whisk or a fork, until consistency desired. There may be milk that is not used; discard.

Drizzle icing over loaf cake with a fork or put into a sealable bag and cut tip and use to pipe a design. Immediately sprinkle with peppermint candy that you have crushed in a disposable bag using a rolling pin. 

Store uneaten cake in a cake keeper or wrap and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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