By Alexis Ty for IBT™
Photo: Mastro’s Restaurants
- There are several ways to up one’s chocolate cake game
- The right measurement of ingredients is key in making the perfect chocolate cake
- Even the temperature of the ingredients plays a part in baking the perfect cake
Chocolate cake is a classic favorite, and many chefs and amateur cooks have made their own versions of this delicious treat over the years. National Chocolate Cake Day is celebrated every Jan. 27 to commemorate the baked good loved across the country and around the world.
To celebrate the occasion this Wednesday, here are 12 secrets to making a cake the best and chocolatiest it can be for National Chocolate Cake Day:
1. Use the best chocolate available
Since chocolate is the main flavor one will be tasting, make sure that the quality of the chocolate to be used in the cake is of high quality. A good rule of thumb is to use chocolate that one wouldn’t mind snacking on from a bowl. This ensures that the batter, frosting or filling of the cake will be top-notch.
2. Use high-quality unsweetened cocoa
The deep, rich flavor that comes with chocolate cake is from cocoa, and the darker the hue of the cocoa, the more satisfying the flavor will be, according to Mashed.com. Using unsweetened cocoa will allow one to gauge how much additional sugar is needed to get the best result.
3. Measure flour and sugar carefully
The right measurement is key in making the perfect chocolate cake. Using too much sugar will make the crust too dark, while putting in less sugar will prevent the cake from getting that rich hue always present in good chocolate cake, Domino Sugar said. As for flour, adding too much will cause the top of the cake to crack.
4. Dust parchment-lined pan with cocoa instead of flour
Dusting the pan with flour before adding the batter will help in getting a clean release after baking, but cocoa powder does a good job of it as well. A bonus when using cocoa powder for chocolate cake is that it provides more depth of flavor, per the Los Angeles Times.
5. Mayonnaise is instrumental in making a moist cake
Mayonnaise can add to the moisture of a cake, although this practice is less popular with modern bakers. Follow this homemade mayonnaise recipe to see if it works for you.
6. Add a dash of sea salt
One should never forget salt when baking a cake. Even though the recipe for chocolate cake only requires a small amount of it, don’t underestimate the richness salt can bring to the table. It acts as a flavor enhancer and makes the cocoa more prominent while balancing out the sweetness of the cake.
7. Milk is necessary
Milk gives the cake its creamy texture so a lot of recipes call for bakers to include it or some other type of dairy in their cake-baking process.
8. Use shiny pans
When baking chocolate cake, opt for shiny pans instead of dark ones. Dark-colored pans absorb more of the oven’s heat, which could cause premature over-browning.
9. Use room temperature ingredients
Even the temperature of the ingredients plays a part in baking the perfect cake. Using eggs, butter and dairy ingredients that are at room temperature will create an emulsion that traps air, which eventually expands with the oven’s heat, resulting in a chocolate cake that’s fluffy.
10. Start and end with the dry ingredients
When adding in the wet and dry ingredients to the creamed butter and sugar mixture for cake, be sure to alternate between the dry and the wet, beginning with the dry and ending with the dry as well.
11. Vanilla extract can be skipped
If you wish to experience the rich flavor of chocolate in all its glory, opt not to add vanilla extract to the mixture.
12. Don’t over mix the batter
Chocolate cake batter should never be overmixed as this could lead to tough cake textures.