Sunday, November 30, 2008

Chocolate Yogurt Cake

This recipe comes from a chocolate cookbook that I got on clearance forever ago and never even make anything out of because after I bought it, I saw that it's from Australia, and all the measurements are metric. There is a conversion table in the back, but I just never wanted to put that much effort into baking something.

For Thanksgiving, however, I thought I would pull it out again and look for something yummy to make for dessert. I figured for a special occasion it was worth it to do the math. The great thing about taking a second look is that in addition to the metric cup/teaspoon/tablespoon measurements, each recipe also lists the weight for each ingredient. Fabulous! I do have a kitchen scale, and I've always known that for baking it's better to measure in weight anyways, so I decided on the Chocolate Yogurt Cake and I'm so glad I tried it. Delicious! The yogurt makes the cake really moist and also lends a little depth to the flavor.

Measurements are listed in both grams and ounces. For my cheapie, non-digital scale, I found it more accurate to use grams. I did make a few modifications for the high altitude we live in, and I've noted those where appropriate. Also the recipe doesn't call for strawberries, but I figured I could decorate it however I wanted, and I had the strawberries, so I put them on top.

Chocolate Yogurt Cake
125 g/4 oz self-rising flour
40 g/1 1/3 oz plain four
30 g/1 oz cocoa powder (the higher the quality of cocoa powder, the better the cake will be)
125 g/4 oz butter
310 g/9 3/4 oz caster sugar (this is super fine sugar, I use C&H Baker's Sugar) Omit 1 Tbs for high altitude
2 eggs, lightly beaten
125 g/4 oz plain yogurt
125 ml/4 fl oz water (for high altitude add 3 extra Tbs)
125 ml/8 fl oz cream, whipped (I used stabilized whipped cream, recipe below, since I made mine in the morning and I didn't want the whipped cream to deflate by the time we ate)

175 g/approx 6 oz white chocolate, roughly chopped
60 ml/2 fl oz cream
60 g/2 oz dark chocolate, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (370 for high altitude). Brush a deep 9" round cake pan with melted butter or oil. Line base and sides with baking paper (parchment paper). (Later the recipe calls for you to split the cake in half horizontally, so I just used two 8" cake pans and divided the batter between them).

Sift flours and cocoa together. Using electric beaters, beat butter and sugar in large bowl until light and creamy. Add the eggs gradually, beating thoroughly after each addition. Combine yogurt and water in small bowl.

Using metal spoon (I used the paddle on my Kitchen-Aid mixer and did not do this by hand), fold mixed flours/cocoa alternately with yogurt mixture into creamed butter. (I did this in thirds, mixing well after each addition and scraping down the sides of bowl). Stir until well combined and mixture is smooth. Pour into prepared baking pan(s) and smooth surface if necessary. Bake 45 mins or until toothpick inserted into center comes out clean (baking time was approx 25 mins for me with the increased oven temp for altitude plus the fact that I split the batter between two pans). Leave cake in pan 10 mins then turn onto wire rack to cool.

To make topping: combine white chocolate and cream in double boiler and melt, stirring frequently until smooth. Cool slightly.

To assemble cake: cut cake in half horizontally. Spread whipped cream over one half of cake; top with other half. Spread white chocolate mixture gently over top of cake. (I don't think I let my white chocolate cool enough before doing this as it ran right off the edges of the cake and it's not supposed to do that). Place melted dark chocolate in piping bag and pipe rings around cake. Use a toothpick to draw lines from center of cake out to form "feathered" pattern. (You'd have to see the pic in my cookbook to know exactly how this pattern is supposed to look. I decided to top mine with strawberries, then pipe the dark chocolate on top like drizzles).

Stabilized Whipped Cream
(this is using American measurements)
2 teaspoons water
3 teaspoons brandy, rum, or other liquor
1 teaspoon unflavored gelatin
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup confectioner's sugar (for a healthier version, I substituted 1 packet Truvia, you could also use a tablespoon or so of agave nectar or other natural sweetener.)

-Chill bowl and beaters in refrigerator
-In a small, heat-resistant bowl or cup, sprinkle gelatin over water and brandy, let stand 5 mins
-Place cup in pan of very hot water, stirring until gelatin dissolves. Remove from heat and let stand, stirring frequently, until it reaches room temp.
-While gelatin cools, beat cream, remembering to stir gelatin frequently so it doesn't solidify
-Once cream is a medium consistency, keep beating and add sugar or sweetener and gelatin all at once. Keep beating until stiff peaks form.
-Cover and chill. Will keep upto 2 days.

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