Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Honey, I Blew Up My Waistline


Honey Chocolate Cake
After making chocolate cake over and over again, and not being satisfied with it, I chanced upon this recipe. For me, the ultimate chocolate cake will always be Goriawala’s chocolate cake, complete with gelatinous chocolate icing (it's a very Bombay thing - if you haven't lived here, you won't know it). And none of the cakes I had made till then were moist enough or dense enough. Until this one. Its sweet, its soft, its silky and the honey and sugar caramelize around the outside to give you and amazing crunch every few bites. I’ve made this cake 6 times, with a few variations, and it has met with rave reviews.

I have actually miscalculated the amount of honey to put into the cake once, and ended up adding 2 different kinds of honey and half a can of golden syrup into the batter. It was great! There’s no hard and fast rule here about what you add into it. Golden syrup is sweeter than honey, and works just as well.

I usually start making this cake when I have nothing to do, and I think 'oh I can kill an hour or so'. Its a slightly long process, and pre prep takes longer that mixing the actual batter. I decided to become smarter and make things easier on myself. You don't get chocolate buttons and the like in India. What you do get is solid slabs of cooking chocolate. I spent an afternoon cutting 3 of these slabs (yes it took almost the afternoon!) into shavings and small pieces that I store in a ziplock bag in the fridge. Presto! 20 minutes saved per cake! 

Pretty Perfect Honey Chocolate Cake 

(Adpated from here, and my comments (here))

FOR THE CAKE
100 grams dark chocolate, broken into pieces (I have used dark chocolate, milk chocolate and semi sweet chocolate for the cake, and loved the results with all.)
275 grams brown sugar
225 grams butter – room temperature
125 ml runny honey or golden syrup
2 eggs – room temperature
200 grams plain flour (I use an equal amount of self raising flour because I like it when the top of the cake domes)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 tablespoon cocoa
250 ml boiling water

FOR THE ICING
60 ml water

100 ml runny honey or golden syrup
100 grams dark chocolate – finely chopped
60 grams icing sugar

Step 1
Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius and butter and flour a loose bottom cake tin (20 to 23 cm).

Step 2
Melt the chocolate for the cake (100 grams) in a bowl, either in the microwave or suspended over a pan of simmering water. Set aside to cool slightly. (Make sure the chocolate cools or you will scramble the eggs later.)

Step 3
Beat together the sugar and soft butter until airy and creamy, and then add the honey. (My butter and sugar never gets airy and creamy, it just turns a yummy yellow with brown bits of sugar in it.)

Step 4
Add one of the eggs, beating it in with a tablespoon of the flour, and then the other egg with another tablespoon of flour.

Step 5
Fold in the melted chocolate, and then the rest of the flour and the bicarbonate of soda.

Step 6
Make sure you strain the cocoa before adding it to the batter, or you will get big lumps in it.

Step 7
Beat in the boiling water very quickly and mix everything into a smooth batter. (The batter will be slightly on the thin side, don't worry about that.)

Step 8
Pour batter into the cake tin and bake for up to an hour and a half. Make sure you check it at 45 minutes and every fifteen minutes after that. It is done when a toothpick or skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Step 9
Let the cake cool completely in the tin. (I make the mistake of leaving it for hours and hours in the tin, and usually have to pry the bottom off the tin. My suggestion is separate the cake from the bottom of the tin after an hour while it’s still a little bit warm.)

Step 10
Make the glaze while your cake is baking.
Bring the water and honey to a boil in small saucepan.
Then turn off the heat and add the finely chopped chocolate. Swirl it around to melt in the hot liquid. Leave it for a few minutes then whisk. Sieve in the icing sugar and whisk again until smooth.

(Its important to sieve in the sugar, otherwise the icing gets lumps. My glaze usually has tiny bubbles of air that pop through it, leaving the cake looking lovely and interesting.

If you compare this recipe to the original, you will see that I have cut down the quantity of the glaze by quite a bit. This is because I have made this cake 6 or 7 times now and always had half the icing left over, even after pouring it onto the cake in excess.)

Step 11
Choose your plate or stand and cut out four strips of baking paper and form a square outline on the plate. This is so that icing does not run everywhere (though you will have to clean up the base a bit.)

Step 12
Pour the icing over the cold cake and smooth it down the sides. The glaze stays sticky ages (I have once made it 24 hours in advance and not had a problem icing) so ice in time for the glaze to harden a little, say at least an hour before you want to serve it.

Step 13
You can then very gently slide out the strips of baking paper to reveal a clean plate. Use a damp cloth to clean any stray bits of icing that follow the paper.

Step 14
Serve, enjoy and save some for me!

My first attempt