Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Whole Wheat Chocolate Cake

Stay with me, here! I did my time eating carob cakes trying to be chocolate, and whole wheat indiscriminately substituted for regular flour where it had no business. So I'm not trying to force chocolate cake into some sort off unnatural healthfulness.

Here's the problem. We moved about a week ago. When we move, it's not pretty:

Thankfully, our place is not that bad now, but it's not a lot better. Which means most of our life is still in boxes. We also haven't taken time to go to the grocery store and really stock up since we moved. So when I get a craving for something sweet, and don't want to leave home to get it, I have to scrounge a little to make it work.

Quick check of ingredients:
Mr. Skitty, Pumpkin Eater
  • Flour--only have whole wheat (ok, I'll make banana bread)
  • Bananas--none AARGH! Maybe I'll not plan this until I see what ingredients are available
  • Oil/Butter--only have olive oil and coconut oil
  • Dairy--about 2 cups half and half
  • Eggs--check
  • Leavening--only baking powder
  • Sweeteners--surprisingly big variety. We have regular granulated, light brown, and powdered sugar, all organic. Honey.
  • Flavorings--a little pumpkin. (But since I use it as Mr. Skitty's filler so he can lose weight, I'm afraid to use it. I always use a clean spoon to scoop it out to mix in his food. The Beloved Husband, however-- who also often licks lids and drinks out of containers), may not have. Don't want cat food in my dessert!) Also some vanilla, almond, coconut, and orange extracts. Oh, and cocoa powder.

Now, to check the internet. For those out there who don't cook a lot, knowing how to play with ingredients is a real boon when you don't have the exact ingredients a recipe demands. After surfing around a few minutes, I found a recipe on Whole Grain Gourmet  for a Decadent Chocolate Cake. Unfortunately, it calls for whole wheat pastry flour, sour cream, baking soda, chocolate, and butter, and I have none of those. But I am really jonesing for some cake by now (go look at the picture on the site!), so here's the version of the cake I made, with notes:

  • 7 T Dutch-processed cocoa (1 oz of unsweetened chocolate roughly equals 3 T cocoa + 1 T oil)
  • 1 1/4 c whole wheat flour (the recipe called for sifting, but I'm a little lazy, so I just put all the dry ingredients together, then whisked it vigorously)
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1/4 t kosher salt
  • 1/4 c plus 3 T coconut oil (since I only had coconut and olive oil, I felt coconut oil went better with chocolate)
  • 1 c lightly packed brown sugar (the original recipe called for 1 1/4 c)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 t vanilla (the recipe called for 1 1/2 t, but I usually add extra vanilla)
  • 1/2 c half-and-half
  • 1/2 cup boiling water

1. Preheat the oven to 375. Grease a 9” cake pan. My pan was evidently a little smaller, because I had leftover batter that I put into a loaf pan.

2. Whisk the flour, baking powder, cocoa, and salt together; set aside.

3. I tried to beat the coconut oil and sugar, the way the original recipe said to do with the butter. It didn't really cream together, so I would simply stir them together well in the future.

4. Add the eggs and beat well, then add in the vanilla and half-and-half.  I tasted the batter at this point. If the cake had not turned out well, I would have saved the recipe and just made it to this point to eat with a spoon. The brown sugar and vanilla made this a rich delicious batter.

5. The original recipe said to mix the flour into the liquid a little at a time, which is standard procedure for baking. As mentioned earlier, I was working with what we had unpacked already. And our kitchen is tiny now, so my counter space was rapidly being taken over by baking implements. So I decided to live wild. I dumped the liquid into the flour, and folded them together with a fork, since I could not find any spatulas. I stirred in the boiling water, and poured it into the pan. I didn't fill the pan for fear of it bubbling over, so I used a loaf pan for the leftover.

Since the cake did not rise much, (and I'm pretty sure it wasn't supposed to), I could have just used the one cake pan and had a thicker cake. I baked mine for 25 minutes total, but I also opened the oven door several times to pull out the little loaf pan, check it, put it back, and then finally to pull out the final cake.
The little hole is where the toothpick went.

We felt it was very tasty, but I probably should have followed the original instructions and added the extra sugar. It would have been perfect just as it was with a little whipped cream, or chocolate ganache, as recommended on the Whole Grain Gourmet site.

So there you have it. Never miss dessert because you don't have the exact right ingredients. There is usually a way, unless all you have on hand are some anchovies and mustard, in which case you don't really deserve dessert, now do you?

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