coldagain (coldagain) wrote in vegancooking,

Chocolate Cake WTF - recipe troubles (ver. 2)

I've tried this Chocolate Fudge Cake recipe, and am far than happy with the results. I'd appreciate advice on how to improve it for next time, as this batch is edible but oversweet bust.

ETA try the second: According to the mods, the only acceptable way is to copy the whole original recipe here - even though I have had all the ingredients listed in my post already the first time around - so here it is, every last detail and all.
Chocolate Cake 2 (AKA Chocolate Fudge Cake)


Cake Ingredients
350g SR flour
25g cocoa
270g caster sugar
150ml sunflower oil
275ml water
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Chocolate Buttercream Ingredients
200g icing sugar (sieve it first)
50g vegan margarine
50g melted vegan chocolate
1 tsp vanilla essence
20ml soya milk

Fudge Icing Ingredients
120 g sugar
60ml water/soya milk
120g chocolate
60g margarine
1tsp vanilla


1) Put self-raising flour, baking powder, sugar and cocoa in a bowl and mix well.
2) Pour over vegetable oil and then the water and vanilla essence.
3) Beat thoroughly with an electric whisk.
4) Pour into two round 8" sandwich tins and bake for about 25 minutes at 180ºC until cooked through.
5) When cool, sandwich the cakes with chocolate buttercream icing, and decorate the top and sides with fudge icing.

For the chocolate buttercream icing: Beat margarine until soft. Stir in icing sugar 50g at a time. Whisk with an electric whisk or beat with a wooden spoon. Add melted chocolate, vanilla essence and 1 or 2 tablespoons of soya milk.

For the fudge icing: Put sugar and water/milk in a pan and simmer for 5 minutes exactly. Remove from the heat and stir in pieces of chocolate and then margarine and finally vanilla. Pour the icing into a bowl and leave it to cool. If it's too runny then put it in the fridge to set, but make sure it doesn't go too solid or you'll need to remelt it.

My biggest peeve is the 'chocolate buttercream icing', which calls for 200g icing sugar, 50g margarine, 50g melted chocolate and 20ml of soy milk. Just looking at this I was very dubious, and 50g of margarine turned out to be barely enough to get my whisk and bowl dirty (think one tablespoon's worth). So, I added the melted chocolate (sweetened but exactly 50g), whisked it together and added a good half of a 250g bag of powdered sugar in. At this point the mass was so dry and powdery I had to use a fork to work in together, and finally I added two tablespoons of water, hoping for some salvation.

Result: very liquid and overly, overly sweet chocolate-y mass. I admit that the second tablespoon of water was probably overkill, but the mass even then tasted of somewhat-melted powdered sugar. I added another tablespoon of margarine, hoping it would save the day a bit, but it was still fairly liquid and remained horribly sweet.

In the end I ended up cooking not one but two(!!) puddings (the glorified flavored cornstarch kind plus the remaining 50g of chocolate, mixed in) and mixing them together till the resulting mass wasn't too sweet to stand. (It's still way, way too sweet for my tastes, but I didn't have any more pudding packets and already had too much chocolate-ish not-buttercream icing cream.)

Question: what's the usual ratio for margarine to sugar in these kinds of creams/icings? 1:4 seems like overkill, and not at all very edible - it's a big bunch of processed sugar, after all, and I was working with less and still never would've called what I was getting "yummy" or even "very edible".

Second, the cake itself called for 350g flour, 25g cocoa, 270g sugar, 150ml sunflower oil, 275ml water and baking powder - I added the correct amount of flour, at least doubled the cocoa (I wanted the batter nicely dark and chocolate-y), some sugar (erm, about 4-5 tablespoons worth? maybe 6?), mixed it all together with some baking powder and some baking soda, mixed till uniform in color, then added a bit more than 1dl of cold pressed soy oil (it was that or olive oil of which I have the strong flavored kind, so this seemed safer taste-wise) and a cup of water, mixed it together with a fork with some more water till the batter was uniform and still thick, baked it till done, and left it to cool.

The resulting cake had a very dry and crusty top layer, and was very crumbly and dry when I tried to separate the sides from the pan with a knife. After some cooling I tried to cut the edges off while still in the pan, hoping to save the cake from breaking into pieces when I tried to remove it from the pan, but the top crust was so dry it kept breaking around the cutting lines.

I finally gave up and cut the cake into pieces and poured the still-hot not-buttercream pudding cream on top, and am now hoping against hope that the cake will suck some of it in and soften up enough to pass for something not-botched-up beyond saving.

My question is, without any surprises, if this cake is supposed to be this crumbly, or if the soy oil really had been the one to make it not turn out as it should?

Back to the original recipe, after the first two key ingredients turned out as botched-up as they did, I didn't try to make the 'fudge icing', which calls for cooking 120g of sugar in 60ml of water for 5 minutes, then stirring in 120g of sugar and 60g of margarine. Since I use a sweet vegan chocolate I was planning to (again) cut the amount of sugar, and with it the water, but the rest just seems like any chocolate icing, to the point I see no use for the cooked sugared mass at all, nor the margarine, as a spoon of oil would soften the chocolate and keep it shiny when spread on a cake.

I won't ask the obvious question, but for anyone who's made this or a similar 'fudge' recipe, do these ratios seem alright to you? And what kind of chocolate should I be using when tackling sugar-crazy recipes like this?

Almost forgot the biggest question of all: why do recipes so frequently use sugar to make up for sheer quantity of the end result? Even a regular baklava is less sweet than the cake this recipe is aimed to make, and baklavas are made to be drenched in sugar syrup. *huffs* (Yes, I'm the type who can make a big cake with 10 cubes of brown sugar - added as a nod towards the cups! of sugar the batter recipes regularly demand - and still end up with a desert no one would complain about not being sweet enough. It's a talent. ;-) )
Tags: -failed-recipes&disasters, desserts-cakes-chocolate
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