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Saturday, May 28, 2011

Moist Chocolate Cake, steamed.

So I'm finally back in Singapore after a 17-day volunteer trip to Cambodia, specifically, Phnom Penh. The trip was extremely fruitful, to say the least. I managed to do a spot of shopping, and visited the Angkor Wat as well (which was spectacular). Not only did I immerse myself in Khmer food for 17 days, I even had the privilege of cooking AND baking for 150+ people! I'll definitely post more about that once I've sieved through the tons of photos I took! I've been really busy ever since I've got back - going for my brother's convocation and editing those photos, doing admin stuff for my own convocation, shopping for some travel essentials for my next trip, and filling myself up with missed foods - leaving me little time to bake. I only managed to bake an orange chiffon cake which my family had for breakfast and tea yesterday. In fact, I'm actually flying off again tomorrow, for a really really long holiday this time, to Australia. I'll be spending 5 whole weeks in Australia, mainly in Sydney where I'll be staying with Jon <3 

This post is long overdue, because I'd actually steamed this chocolate cake before I left for Cambodia, in the early bits of May. I promise I'll stop lazing around in June and get more food posts up because I now have a hefty backlog of recipes! This is a fantastic recipe by the way, for the times when you don't feel like firing up your oven and just want to do something simple. This chocolate cake is deliciously moist (even more so than normal oven-baked chocolate cakes), and is superb even without any ganache or topping. Of course, having a ganache is the icing on the cake, literally and figuratively speaking. I also tried my hand at doing some food styling in the picture below, which is quite a feat considering I usually snap a few obligatory photographs before gobbling up the food. Food styling does take quite a bit of thought and pre-planning, and I've to say that despite the lack of props, I was quite satisfied with the shot below, deficiencies aside. As usual, I'm open to any forms of critique :]



Steamed Moist Chocolate Cake
Loosely adapted from Ju

For the cake batter
70 g    butter
10 g    heavy cream
80 g    castor sugar
90 g    fresh milk
¼ tsp  vanilla extract
1         egg
65 g    all-purpose flour
20 g    cocoa powder
10 g    dark chocolate, melted
¼ tsp  baking powder
¼ tsp  baking soda

For a simple chocolate ganache
100 g chocolate (I used a mixture of dark and milk chocolate)
90 g   cream 

Method: 
  1. Combine and heat the sugar, milk, vanilla extract, butter and cream in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved and butter has melted. Ingredients need not come to a boil. Remove from heat and leave it to cool once ingredients have melted. 
  2. Once cooled, whisk in the egg, beating until the egg is well combined. 
  3. Sift the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and baking soda in a large mixing bowl. 
  4. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well, making sure the batter is free of lumps. 
  5. Pour the batter into a prepared pan and place it in the steamer. You need not preheat the steamer. Steam over medium heat for about 30 minutes and make sure that the top of the pan is covered loosely with a sheet of aluminum foil. Insert a skewer to test for doneness. If it comes out clean, remove from the steamer, otherwise continue steaming for a further 5 minutes before testing again.
  6. Let the cake cool for at least 20 minutes before adding the chocolate ganache. 
  7. In the meantime, prepare the ganache by heating the cream until it boils. Remove from heat once it has boiled and pour it over the chopped chocolate, whisking rapidly to ensure that the chocolate melts. Allow the ganache to cool slightly before pouring over the cooled chocolate cake. Decorate as desired. 


Janine's Jots: 
  • Note: I've modified the recipe a fair bit - I substituted some of the butter for cream, reduced the sugar, changed the evaporated milk for fresh milk and some of the cocoa powder for melted dark chocolate.
  • Taste: The cake is just sweet enough for me. I had to make the chocolate ganache a tad sweeter so that the cake would be more palatable to others who tried the cake. Because I'd used fresh milk instead of evaporated milk, I shouldn't have reduced the amount of sugar too much. Chocolate taste-wise, I felt that the cocoa taste in the cake was not strong enough. This was saved by the chocolate ganache, which gave the cake a much-needed chocolate boost (in my opinion). My family thought the cake tasted chocolatey enough by itself. I would probably increase the amount of cocoa powder the next time, as well as add some coffee/espresso powder to punch up the chocolate taste. I would probably add in a dash of salt as well.
  • Texture: It was pretty fine, because I substituted 5 g of the all-purpose flour for cornstarch. For a finer texture, I'll definitely try using cake flour the next time. Also, I still felt that the cake was a little oily for my liking - I'll try reducing the amounts of butter used. However, I noted that this oiliness receded after storage in the fridge and it actually helped to keep the cake moist. 
  • Serving size: This halved recipe makes enough for a 12-cm chiffon pan and 2 7-cm wide cupcakes. Do use the original full recipe if you wish to make a full 8-inch cake. 
  • Modifications: For people with a sweeter tooth, you might wish to increase the proportion of milk to dark chocolate, and to add in icing sugar to the ganache. You can also whip the cooled ganache to have a fluffier frosting. 
  • Storage: The cake keeps really well in the fridge - one week later, the cake still retains its moisture. Do make sure that you remove it from the fridge at least 15 minutes before serving to ensure that the cake softens a little and tastes its best :]
  • Would I make this again?: Having tried a number of moist chocolate cakes, I think this one takes the cake (pun unintended) in terms of moisture. The preparation method is also simple, and can be done within an hour. Definitely gonna make this again, but with more variations the next time ;p
  • Other comments: Make sure to thoroughly beat the batter before steaming. I didn't, and you can see the disastrous results below. You can steam the cake in a cold steamer - all you need to do is to factor in an extra 10 minutes. This halved recipe only requires about 30 minutes or so - the cupcakes were done in slightly under 25 minutes and the chiffon cake took a few minutes more. The aluminum foil helped keep the tops of the cake dry from the water droplets condensing on the wok.

In pictures: 

This is the result of not mixing your batter properly - the lumpy bits rise to the surface!


Chocolate is one of my favorite ingredients and foods, and I'd planned to participate more actively in Aspiring Bakers but because of my schedule, this will probably be my one and only submission to Aspiring Bakers #7 – Chocolate Delight (May 2011), hosted by Doris. I really hope that once I'm settled in Sydney, I'll be able to continue my baking and cooking because I'm really missing them dearly!


14 comments:

CaThY said...

very lovely cake. Looks very inviting :)

Tina V. said...

Oh, my...
Oh, this looks so delicious... Amazing!
Love your blog :)♥

Not Quite Nigella said...

That would be SO moist how you've steamed it instead of baking it! :D

Jeannie said...

This looks really moist! I find that steamed chocolate cakes are much more moist than the baked versions too!

Janine said...

@Cathy and Tina: thanks :)

@Lorraine: Yup it's really very very moist thanks to the steaming! I actually never knew it before this!

@Jeannie: Yeah it is :)

sotong said...

Nice photos! I especially like the first 2 photos :)

Michelle said...

your photos turn out really well for this cake! i like the first shot the best. and i hope to hear more about your cambodia trip...i would love to be able to make a trip there...(:

DG said...

Your chocolate cake looks good and sounds very delicious :)

Joyce @ Chunky Cooky said...

The cake looks so chocolately moist and rich ! I love the first picture, looks very professional makes the cake looks so tempting.

Janine said...

@sotong and DG: thanks :)

@Michelle: do make a trip down to Cambodia if you're free - it's really pretty! I hope to update soon too!

@Joyce: thanks so much :D

kwanster said...

love the steaming method!! I will definitely have to try that one out!!
ps: your pictures are stunning! great food styling Janine! I love it!

Cuisine Paradise said...

Drool...... mosit and fluffy chocolate cake with chocolate coating....I am sure it taste super yummy!!!

Yadi I. said...

Incredible! Looks delicious

Neva Modzelewski said...

Oh my sweet heaven! Now I’m craving for chocolate cake! I’ve long been planning to make a moist chocolate cake, but I’m afraid it will be a waste of money and time because I really don’t know how to properly do it. Luckily, I found your blog! I’ll try it right away! Thanks! =)

- Neva Modzelewski

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