Saturday, January 19, 2008

Occasional baker on a diet 2008

Time to mind my weight. There was enough baking in December and early January (aha! there lies the source of my problem) so I still have plenty to talk about over the next weeks. Follow my progress with the ticker at the bottom of this page.

Chocolate sheet cake

Before I start, I'd like to thank you guys for your comments and e-mails. My heart swells!

As my cookbook collection grows, I am realizing how seminal Rose Levy Beranbaum's the Cake Bible is, and deservedly so. Her cakes are some of the most moist and velvety I have ever sampled. One I tried recently is her "Sour Cream Buttercake." The recipe is available on her blog.

Like all her butter cakes, this is an incredibly adaptable recipe. I wanted to take some cake to work, so instead using a springform pan as called for in the recipe, I poured the batter in an 8" x 8" x 2" foil pan.

The baking time was somewhere around 30 minutes, but I rely more on visual cues when altering pan sizes. Butter cakes bake faster at the sides with the middle catching up and doming slightly at some point later. Once this happens, I count eight minutes and then I consider testing the cake with a skewer.

Sheet cakes are incredibly easy. There is only one layer. The frosting does not have to be level, plumb and square at every viewing angle (the hallmark of a fastidiously iced layer cake). Just take some chocolate frosting, pile it on, then take a dinner spoon and swirl the tops.

The resulting dark sea of chocolate will be a sure-fire crowd pleaser.

Here is a good resource for pan size substitutions.

When I tried the recipe in the 8" x 8" x 2" foil pan, the cake rose high and threatened to overflow. In the end, there was enough structure in the cake to prevent it from spilling. However, to be on the safe side, I would recommend just filling the pan to half-full.

On testing with a skewer: if the centre is still jiggly do not proceed with piercing the cake. It is very likely to deflate.


Lewis said...

Well, Julius, good luck with your weight loss goals! But with delicious desserts like these I'm afraid someone has to stay behind and finish this off ;)

Annemarie said...

I know pictures are only pictures, but you hardly look as if you need to trim yourself down for us. As long as your diet doesn't mean you stop posting about some of your wonderful creations, you have my permission to do what you need to do. :)

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A very tempting cake! How gorgeous!

All the best regarding your weight loss! One needs a lot of patience to attain his/her goal...



Julie said...

Mmmm, looks great, Julius! The Cake Bible really is a cake bible, isn't it!

Good luck with your diet! I'm trying to get back on track, too--lots of baking over the holidays ... LOTS. ;D

Christina said...

I don't know if you already are, but doing yoga really helps, too, specifically a power yoga routine.

Beautiful pictures! I especially like how smooth your frosting is and the peaks and swirls.

I don't have The Cake Bible, but I've heard so many wonderful things about it that I really need to check it out.

tooth whitening said...

I have to agree with Christina, yoga is so very helpful! I was always skeptical, and thought it looked weird but I gave it a try after a recent injury. It made me feel so much better!!
Great looking cake too.

Nina's Kitchen (Nina Timm) said...

I had to control myself from wanting to run my finger through the frosting..around here we will say:"a moment on the lips, and a lifetime on the hips..."