Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Brown Sugar Chocolate Cake

The halva flapjacks I made recently left me with half a tin of condensed milk to use up, and the recipe thread on Dan Lepard's forum suggested this Brown Sugar Chocolate Cake as one of the uses for such leftovers. It was a reminder, really, as I have made this cake once before, way back before this blog started.

The problem this time was the butter in the recipe, but as this was a slightly unusual method which didn't rely on creaming the butter and sugar together, I decided it was time to take the plunge and see if substituting oil for butter would work. I think, although a trawl through all the recipes using oil might prove me wrong, that this is the first time I've made a substitution, rather than choosing recipes which use oil right from the start! I used 80g of oil instead of 100g of butter, as butter is usually just over 80% fat. After re-reading the discussion about this cake, I also decided to reduce the raising agent a little, by using 100g plain flour and 50g SR flour, instead of all SR flour.

Other than those two changes, I followed the recipe and method exactly. I found it needed about 10 minutes more baking for me to be sure it was cooked right through - the cake was still very wobbly at 40 minutes, which made me worry that using oil wasn't going to work, but seemed to set properly after that. The cake sunk a little while cooling, but nothing too disastrous.

The cake was light and moist, but I felt there was something wrong with the flavour. The overwhelming flavour and smell was cocoa, which strangely, tasted raw too! I don't remember complaining of this the first time I  baked it, so either the lack of butter, or reducing the raising agent, may have affected the balance of flavours. It's a shame as I was very happy with the texture of the cake, and pleased that using oil hadn't seemed to have an adverse effect. Back to the drawing board!

14 comments:

Foodycat said...

Hmmm, I am going to have to have a plan for that half tin of condensed milk, otherwise I am likely to just eat it with a spoon!

C said...

How weird, I'm literally just about to start baking this one! I've been reading through the thread on Dan's forums and can't decide whether to go with exactly what he's written or now, having read your review to reduce the raising agent a little. I'm going to use butter though! Guess I'll just have to try it out!

Katie said...

Your cake looks delicious and very deep and dark. Well done for doing a bit of experimenting in the kitchen. Don't be put off trying again as you're so skilled I'm sure you can create your own delicious bakes. Love the idea of using the condensed milk and I bet the oil did make it lovely and moist

Les rêves d'une boulangère (Brittany) said...

Shame it didn't work out for you! This picture looks good though.

Suelle said...

Foodycat, I'm told condensed milk keeps a long while in the fridge, so it doesn't have to be an immediate plan, although you might prefer an immediate plan to avoid temptation!!

C - I hope it works out for you, whatever you choose to do!

I may be being over critical - both the children have eaten the cake without complaint, and FB is quite fussy, although it would have to be really bad for CT not to eat something chocolate flavoured!

Anne said...

The cake looks really moist and delicious, am sure with a bit more tweaking it will be taste great too - am big fan of oil in cakes for adding moisture.

Chele said...

If at first you don't succeed and all that jazz -although this looks a pretty good effort to me!

Celia said...

Suelle, I reckon you're close to nailing this one. The texture looks very good! Maybe you could try using different cocoa (dutched vs natural?) or change the oil? We use grapeseed oil for almost everything where we need a neutral flavour...

Suelle said...

That's a good point, Celia - if the cocoa is the predominant flavour it probably pays to use a good quality one. I can't clarify to my satisfaction whether or not UK brands of cocoa are dutched or natural - there's no indication on the packaging of the ones I've checked - it's something to investigate further.

Celia said...

Suelle, you can usually tell by the colour - the dutched cocoas tend to be very dark brown, whereas the natural cocoas are lighter. We use Blooker and Callebaut brands, both of which are dutched.

Suelle said...

Thanks Celia - a bit of research has shown that all UK brands are likely to be dutched, unless everyone else is as confused as I am!

Foodycat said...

http://www.bestrecipes.com.au/recipe/Cafe-Choc-Chip-Cookies-L2067.html I think these will be my backup condensed milk plan.

Choclette said...

Suelle - I think you'll find Green & Black's is a dutched cocoa. Your cake looks really good to me and I've never used condensed milk in a chocoalte cake before. So thinking will just have to take the plunge and make your flapjacks and this cake.

Suelle said...

Foodycat - I've still got enough condensed milk for those - you'll need to make a double batch! LOL!