I was going to tell you about this giveaway last week, when I debuted my new blog makeover. But I couldn’t decide which recipe to show you. I fought and argued with myself all week, trying to pick my favorite chocolatey recipe. But I’ve been on a chocolate kick lately and I couldn’t decide on which one, so prepare yourself to be inundated with chocolate goodies!
You’ve probably heard celebrity chefs and cookbook authors say that you should always buy the best ingredients you can afford and that is the secret to great cooking/baking, right? They’re not kidding. And I have one ingredient for you that will change every single recipe you use it in from ‘mmm, that’s good’ to something more like, ‘HOLY MOSES! That is AMAZING! You MADE this????’ That’s not hyperbole, its the truth. And I think you can handle the truth.
You know that can of cocoa powder you have in your cupboard? Stand up, go to the cupboard, grab that tin and throw it in the garbage. Really. Now. Go. I promise you’ll thank me later. Now, go to King Arthur Flour and purchase this, Bensdorp Cocoa Powder. It’s absolutely amazing. My sister-in-law’s mother-in-law (you follow? good.) gave me a pound of this stuff last year and it’s changed my life, people!!! And really, it only costs three dollars more per pound than that tin you just tossed, the one that you can get in every grocery store in America. The one that starts with an ‘H’. And ends with an ‘ershey’. You don’t want that stuff in your house. You want this. . . . .
I mean, look at it!!! It’s almost red. It is noticeably richer. When you open the package it smells deep and chocolatey and almost earthy. If you were to smell the box of the stuff you already threw away (but you can’t because you trusted me when I told you to hock it, right???), it smells sugary sweet. Like candy, almost. This Bensdorp cocoa smells like ooey gooey brownies. Or devils’ food chocolate cake. Really, it’s the difference between a chocolate bar of, well, one that rhymes with Schmerchey, and a bar of Valrhona, or Ghirardelli or Scharffen Berger. They all make cocoa powders too, but I think this one is the best. (P.S. Please don’t tell my hubby that I’ve tried all those or how much they cost. He’ll blow a gasket. Thanks.)
All you have to do is leave a comment on this post!
I’ll pick a winner on Friday and that person’s life will never be the same! You’ll shudder when you see that box of drab, flavorless stuff sitting there on the baking aisle, telling shoppers that it will make their chocolatey dreams come true. It’s a liar! Or at least, deluded.
But, that is not all. Oh, no! That is not all! (Name that children's book.) King Arthur Flour is also offering a box of their unbleached cake flour for our giveaway! I’d show you a side by side comparison of that too, but I don’t want to buy a box of the bleached stuff just for a photo op. (I only had a tin of the Schmerchey stuff because it was down in my basement pantry from when we moved in and I had forgotten that it even existed.) But when I tried out the King Arthur’s cake flour I got to see it next to a dab that I had left of some other brand I’d gotten at the grocery. I was sort of expecting the unbleached to be a lot darker. It wasn’t. The bleached stuff was stark white, and the KA cake flour was nice and creamy colored. And it made a wonderful cake! As light and fluffy as you could wish for! I am DEFINITELY making the switch to this stuff. I noticed that my grocery store is carrying it now, how convenient!
So, this is the recipe I finally decided on. For Day One anyway! When I got the box of cake flour from King Arthur I was sort of in a quandary. I had been wanting to make a spice cake, but then there was this really great looking chocolate cake recipe on the back of the box. So, I decided to just combine them, since the quantities were so similar to my spice cake recipe. Oh. My. Gosh. It made SUCH a wonderful cake!!! And my house smelled absolutely incredible while it was baking. I made a simple ganache scented with cardamom to drizzle over it, which I did while the cake was still warm, so it soaked into the cake a bit and made it absolutely scrumptious!
Chocolate Spice Cake
Adapted from King Arthur
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached Cake Flour Blend
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground clove
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
3/4 cup cocoa powder (use the good stuff, not that Schmershey stuff)
1 3/4 cups sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare 2 round 9” pans with baking spray and set aside.
Place a strainer over you mixer’s bowl and sift in the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, spices, cocoa and sugar.
Add the butter and mix at low speed for a minute. While the mixer is running, add the oil and continue mixing until the mixture looks like sand.
Combine the vanilla, milk and water and add all at once. Mix for a minute at low speed, then scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl well and mix another 30 seconds until all the dry ingredients are well incorporated.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well at medium-high speed between additions. The batter will be thin.
Pour into prepared pans and bake 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and cool on a rack.
While the cakes are cooling make the ganache.
P.S. We had a lot of treats around when I baked these, so I only served one layer. After the second layer was COMPLETELY cooled I wrapped it well with cling wrap and stashed it in the freezer.
4 ounces dark chocolate (I used Ghirardelli 60% cacao chips)
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons water
a scant 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
Put the chips in a heat-proof bowl and set aside.
In a small saucepan, bring the cream, sugar, water and cardamom to a full boil.
Pour over the chocolate. Let it sit for 30 seconds, then gently stir the chocolate together. It should take 3-4 minutes before you get a gorgeous, shiny glaze.
Pour the glaze over your still warm cake and spread it around to coat the sides.
Makes enough glaze for one 9'” cake.
So, to enter the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment on this post!
I’ll pick a winner on Friday, so get your entry in by 11:59pm Thursday!