Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Chocolate Cake: The Final Verdict

 A few months ago, in anticipation of Ben's party, we set out to find a quintessential chocolate cake recipe. For years, we have been less than satisfied with two recipes, one simple, dry and dull and the other requiring an everlastingly long series of details for a fairly fluffy, deep chocolate, relatively moist cake.
The weekend before last, the Lenz ladies from different generations (you know who you are!) gathered around a table and savored two cakes contemplating between exquisite mouthfuls what is "quintessential" Chocolate Cake. What is the shape of the crumb? Is it small and dense or large and moist? Is chocolate supposed to be sweet or a little bitter. What is the effect of vinegar as a leavening vs. eggs?

In the end most of the ladies concluded Whacky Cake is quintessential cake but The Best Chocolate Cake was the best cake they had ever tasted. :o) If I seem to slight the gentlemen's opinion on the subject, they must acknowledge comments such as, "I like this plate because it has the larger piece" were hardly scientific.  Our reticence in regard to their opinions cannot be taken as a reflection of our estimation of their critique of food in general. :o)

To continue with our review, Whacky Cake was popular during WWII and because of it's wonderful moist texture and light sweetness it was often served with milk for breakfast! It has no eggs and is leavened with vinegar. We'll keep this one in our repertoire because it is incredibly easy to make. Often called "Cake Pan Cake", it can literally be mixed in the cake pan with a fork in a matter of minutes and is simply delicious.
On the other hand, The Best Chocolate Cake is distinctly "desert", according to our connoisseurs.  Still easy to construct, it is rich and moist, with a tastefully intense chocolate flavor and a large light crumb.
If you are bored with cake crumb, pardon the interruption from dinner reports; we'll continue with our regular broadcast next week. :o)
But not before addressing the frosting! Honestly, it was hard to properly analyze a cake covered with the most sumptuous creme you have ever tasted a half inch thick. The fact that Miracle Frosting originated in the South may have something to do with our favoring it, but not any more than its flour based thickening allowing for 1/3 of the sugar content usually required to thicken frosting. Be sure to follow the links next time you require a chocolate cake and benefit from our gracious panel of tasters!

1 comment:

bizlynch said...

Yes thank you for sharing!
I was still thinking about that cake when I got home, I tried this recipe which did not disappoint, though it is a very large quantity so I put my measuring skills to the test making a 2/3 batch. I will definitely try this frosting next time, is was figuratively and literally the icing on the cake of the taste test. I will be following your epicurean experiments going forward!
PS- Let me know if you have a preferred method of contact and I will send you my sour dough thoughts. So glad we were able to meet!