Cake has been around for centuries, and for good reason! It is sweet and comforting and is traditionally served during celebratory events. People are often talking about the cake long after a party is over. It's an edible creation that sticks in your memory. I definitely don't remember what gifts I received for my 11th birthday, but I still remember my gumball machine cake like it was yesterday!
It is thought that the ancient Egyptians were the first culture to show evidence of advanced baking skills. They started with simple breads and later began adding honey and dates to make the breads more sweet and cake-like. On behalf of all of us, I would like to thank the ancient Egyptians for 'inventing' cake!
There are so many different kinds of cake and I am only touching on one specific recipe during this class. I encourage you to play with recipes, add new or different ingredients, and make the flavors unique to your liking. I am happy to offer suggestions if you have specific ideas. :)
You are going to love this double chocolate cake recipe. It's moist, rich, delicious, and most importantly, bakes up perfect every single time! This is a great go-to recipe for parties and events. It is most definitely a crowd pleaser and will 'wow' your guests! It's one of my customer favorites. :P
DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CAKE RECIPE
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 3/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules
1 cup milk
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup mini dark chocolate chips
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour (bottom only) two 6-inch round baking pans. If you leave the sides of the pans untouched your cakes will bake up taller!
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and coffee granules. Mix to combine. (If you don't have a stand mixer, a bowl and hand mixer will work just fine!)
3. Add eggs, milk, oil, sour cream and vanilla. Mix on low to incorporate and then beat on medium speed for two minutes.
4. Turn mixer back to low and gently mix in chocolate chips.
5. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
6. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until cake tester (or wooden toothpick) inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean.
7. Cool cakes in the pans for 10 minutes on a cooling rack. (If you don't have a cooling rack, place the pans on a dish towel or hot pad and allow the cakes to cool completely in the pans. It will take them longer to cool, but they will come out of the pans just the same.)
8. Run a knife around the edges of the cake pan to loosen the sides. Transfer cakes from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
If you choose to make a cake from a box mix I recommend adding a few extra ingredients to make it taste more like homemade. Here is a simple formula you can use with any box cake mix.
BETTER BOX CAKE RECIPE
1 box cake mix - any flavor
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cup water or low-fat milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon instant coffee granules (use only for chocolate cake)
1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease and flour (bottom only) two 6-inch round baking pans (see note). If you leave the sides of the pans untouched your cakes will bake up taller!
2. In the bowl of a stand mixer combine dry cake mix, eggs, oil, sour cream, flour, water (or milk), vanilla and instant coffee granules (if making chocolate cake). Mix on low to incorporate all ingredients and then beat on medium speed for two minutes. Pour batter evenly into prepared pans.
3. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until cake tester (or wooden toothpick) inserted in the center of the cakes comes out clean. Cool cakes in the pans for 10 minutes on a cooling rack. Remove cakes from pans to wire racks. Cool completely.
**Pan Size - Most box cake mixes call for 8-inch or 9-inch round pans, however, in order to get tall 2-inch cakes divide all the batter evenly between the two 6-inch pans. It will not overflow. Unless you make strawberry cake (from a box mix)...it will overflow. I'm not sure why, but it will!!
There is much debate about whether cake is better from a box mix or from scratch. I regularly make both and it really comes down to personal preference, but there are definitely pros and cons of each. Let's explore some of the differences.
Pros of Cake from a Box:
Faster - It's much faster to dump a box cake mix into a bowl than it is to measure out all the individual dry ingredients.
Consistency - You know exactly what you are going to get from a box cake mix every single time you make one. The ingredients and amounts listed on the box rarely change.
Convenience - The convenience factor definitely plays in with box cake mix. There is something to be said about the ease of picking up a box and not needing a recipe!
Cheaper - If you don't doctor up a box cake mix (though I highly recommend doing it) this is a less expensive option.
Pros of Cake from Scratch:
Healthier - Let's face it, cake isn't exactly health food, however, when you make a cake from scratch you are able to choose the ingredients used, making it a healthier option.
More depth of flavor - Cakes made from scratch usually have a richer more distinct flavor since there are no artificial ingredients to cover up natural flavors.
Denser - Scratch cakes tend to be more dense making them easier to work with and stack.
Control - Making a cake from scratch allows one to replace or substitute ingredients in order to cater to specific diets and/or allergies.
Cons of Cake from a Box:
Ingredients - There are numerous artificial ingredients and flavors in box cake making it less healthy.
Flavor - Some think box cake has a distinct chemical/artificial flavor.
Cons of Cake from Scratch:
Recipes - Finding a good recipe for a homemade cake isn't easy. It takes a lot of trial and error to come up with a scratch cake that bakes up well and tastes great.
Denser - Scratch cakes are usually more dense than a box cake. If guests are not used to the dense crumb of the cake they will often relate it to being dry. :(
In the next lesson we will learn the proper (and simple) techniques to level, fill, and stack our cake!
Share a photo of your finished project with the class!
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