My friend Brains decided to throw a garden party for his birthday this year, to show of all the work he's done to his yard as well as have an excuse to brew a batch of beer and build a fire on the patio. Luckily, his party fell on the first day of 2011 that was 70 degrees and sunny so the turn-out was pretty good as well as in a good mood. I asked if he wanted a birthday cake, and if so, what was his request. His answers were yes, and surprise!
So I spent a few weeks in indecisive turmoil, but after Kristina pointed out that everybody's favorite chocolate cake, Miette's Tomboy, was basically a mayonnaise cake, I decided to compare it to the one Rose has in The Cake Bible.
Also, I would like to apologise for the slightly blurry photos. Unfortunately, there are a lot of them.
April 23, 2011
Name of Cake: Tangy Chocolate and Stuff
Occasion: Brains's Birthday!
Constituents: two 9 inch layers Down-Home Mayonnaise Cake filled and frosted with Sour Cream Ganache and defrosted raspberries
The recipe in The Cake Bible is scaled for two 8 x 1.5 inch pans, but armed with my new-found discovery that typically butter and oil cakes that fill two 9 x 2 inch pans require about 400 grams flour and sugar, I decided to scale up and see what happened. The original recipe called for exactly 200 grams flour and sugar, so I doubled the recipe and figured if had somehow how leftover batter I'd bake off a couple cupcakes. I am pleased to report doubling the recipe resulted in two nice 9 inch cakes that were a little less than 2 inches in height once cooled.
Interestingly, Rose mentions that the cakes will dip a bit in the center when they cool, but neither of my layers dipped, in fact one of them domed a bit giving the center of the cake a height of just a little more than 2 inches! I only had 200 grams cake flour so the other 200 grams is BAP, maybe that is why? Don't know.
The cake is very easy to put together. A chocolate paste is made, and it seemed a lot waterier than usual. Once cool, the mayo and vanilla are whisked in. The dry ingredients are whirred around in the mixing bowl, the mayo mix in poured in all at once and the batter is mixed for about a minute. And that is it. The batter is quite thin and fills the pans only 1/3 full. Mine were finished around 30 minutes.
The resulting cake has a glossy crust, and like Rose describes, very moist with a tender yet coarse crumb. The mayo cake really has the others beat when it comes to a moist crumb. Good, rich, chocolate flavor that wasn't too sweet.
The ganache is one of the easier ganaches in the book, mainly because it doesn't require the food processor. I think in Heavenly Cakes the Sour Cream Ganache is food processed, but this is the old school way which I love. The recipe is for a one layer 9 inch cake, so I doubled it which was more than enough. I think doing 1.5x the recipe for filling and frosting a two layer 9 inch cake would be sufficient. But who's complaining about having extra sour cream ganache--not me.
I used IKEA dark chocolate, which is nice because it is cheap and good and I needed over 700 grams of it. The chocolate is melted in a double boiler, and the sour cream is mixed in. And there you have it.
I thought some defrosted raspberries would go well with the tangy sour cream ganache, so I added a layer in the filling, and with the 3 tbsp left over, made a little well for them on the top of the cake.
Everybody seemed to like the cake. Brains whined that maybe he cut himself too big a piece because it was so rich, but he was able to finish it by the end of the evening. I thought a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream kept the richness in check. Sadly I thought the raspberries weren't very noticeable, but felt the ganache was a nice compliment to the cake. Bobbi, a self-confessed frosting hater, loved this one because it reminded her of the inside of a truffle.
I liked the cake, and I loved how easy it was to make. I am not the biggest fan of Best Foods Mayo (Hellman's on the east coast) as it is made from soybean oil and I am sensitive to soy. I was hesitant to experiment with a canola oil mayo as I was worried it would throw the recipe off and I was giving this cake away. When we made Miette's Tomboy, we basically made our own mayo by emulsifying canola oil and eggs. I now realise the Tomboy really is the improved version of this cake. This was a good, moist, easy, chocolaty cake so no regrets, but given the choice I would go Tomboy every time.