Friday, January 16, 2009

Recipe Testing, part 2

The next recipe on the list was simply called "Lazy Woman's" Chocolate Cake. Kevin assured me that he didn't think I was lazy, but only found the title to be humorous. Sure, Kevin, I'll bet! Anyway, the recipe is fairly different; unlike most cake recipes, it does NOT call for any eggs. The leavening agents in this particular one are baking soda and vinegar! Definitely a bit out of the ordinary.

Like I mentioned yesterday, the directions for these recipes tend to be pretty vague. I picture these Amish women scribbling the recipe down for a friend on a notepad, short and simple. They inherently seem to know how to mix the ingredients, what size pan to use, how long to bake, etc. However, when publishing a cookbook for the masses, the instructions must be clear, complete, and precise. That is one of the main reasons we are testing them; we also have to make sure they are really delicious and fit for a cookbook!



Although the only directions for this recipe was "Combine all ingredients and bake", I did start out by whisking the dry ingredients together. I made a well in the center for the liquids, then mixed into a batter. Look closely and you can see those bubbles forming from the baking soda/vinegar. Grade school science at it's finest!



The batter was poured into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan and baked. Still bubbling away right before I put it in the oven!



Hot out of the oven, hubby and I were ready for some chocolate cake! I hate to admit we were hasty in our judgement; we did not care for it! Everyone knows how a cake looks straight from the oven, with a bit of a "crust" on top. That crust was a little bit bitter, and the cake itself wasn't too sweet. I covered it in plastic wrap and left it on the countertop overnight.



By the next morning, the cake had a chance to distribute its moisture and mellow out a bit. Wow, was it moist!! Not overly sticky sweet, but a really nice cake for a good spread of frosting. A fast, one-bowl recipe for a decent cake.

ps...I should have mentioned this in my last post, but I cannot post these recipes. The cookbook is a work-in-progress, and I wouldn't want to ruin it. I can assure you, it will be a beautiful book and worth the purchase! Check out the newest book, The Amish Cook at Home, and you will see what I mean!

6 comments:

Mamma has spoken said...

Luv, that's interesting that it tasted better after it sat overnight vs straight from the oven. Never heard of cake with that quaility to it....

SquishyCuteStuff said...

Yes, actually my first email to Kevin said "scrap it!". I think what happened was that although I whisked the dry ingredients, I didn't sift the cocoa powder. Some of it sort of floated to the top, and cocoa powder alone is pretty bitter. So, I revised it to say to sift the cocoa!

Paula said...

It sounds like the recipe I always use for Colin. It sure makes things easier since it's basically all pantry items. That recipe was heaven sent when I was pregnant -safe to eat the batter because no eggs. I've never had a cake taste better in the next morning, I'll have to try that if I ever have a problem like that.

58 Cherries said...

What an odd recipe! Doesn't sound too appealing, I must say - vinegar?! I'm a Duncan Hines kinda gal - why make a cake the hard way? ;)

Mytutorlist.com said...

Mmm... chocolate cake!

Anonymous said...

This was probably a depression era recipe. Since eggs were rationed, cooks found that substituting vinegar and baking soda allowed the cake to rise and retain its moistness without using eggs. I have a recipe from my mom that is called "Crazy Chocolate Cake." My mom's cake recipe also included a recipe for a frosting that used flour in it along with the sugar (another rationed item!).

I also had the pleasure of testing recipes for Kevin and while the original instructions were challenging, the final products turned out great. I can't wait for the cookbook to come out! I will definitely be one worth having!
Msbytes