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December 19, 2014
Test Kitchen: Study Shows Chocolate Cake Spreads Smiles
By Janet Tharpe
I scream, you scream, we all scream for... CHOCOLATE! Every day keeps getting sweeter around here in the Test Kitchen as we taste and sample our way through the yummy chocolate confections you're serving up! A little heat from the oven doesn't scare us a bit when the trade-off is a summer evening spent nibbling on homemade chocolate cake and ice cream.
Each cake we've tried has been just a little (or a lot) different, thanks to some "top secret" ingredients and a heaping helping of unique techniques. For 'Pincher Cynthia Martinez, it all comes down to the chocolate you use. Her favorite kind? LOTS! Her signature recipe for Rich Triple Thick Chocolate Cake boasts healthy amounts of chocolate chips, cocoa powder and creamy fudge icing. "I got this inspiration from a Pinterest board," explains Cynthia. "I tweaked it and made it my own!" And did she ever?! This is one inspired recipe, for sure. Cynthia goes on to suggest using a spring-form pan to make the super moist cake easier to plate. "This is a very intense, thick chocolate cake," she laughs.
No less deliciously intense is the choco-riffic family recipe shared with Just A Pinch by April Alvarez. "My grandmother Baldwin would make this every weekend," says April of her family's favorite chocolate Mayonnaise Cake with Pudding Frosting. "When I got old enough to ride my bike, I would ride from one side of [town] to the other just to eat a piece!" Part of what makes this recipe so moist and delicious is Grandma Baldwin's masterful use of mayo! She would always replace eggs and oil with mayo. The result was a no-fail cake that really did have folks flocking to her house for a piece! Now there's one less excuse for not baking tonight. No eggs? No problem.
Now, if you ask Baraba Eaton about chocolate cake she's going to tell you that you've got to bring the heat! "I love the taste of chipotle chili in dishes," she says excitedly. "I got to thinking, why wouldn't it work in chocolate cake? My Double Chocolate Chipotle Chili Cake turned out to be one of the most delicious cakes I have ever tasted. It is not 'hot', but the 'after kick' is perfect." The tasty kick comes from two tablespoons of chipotle powder... and maybe just a dash of sass.
Are you in chocolate overload yet? Hang on, because no chocolate cake convo is complete without paying proper homage to Becky Hudgins' recipe for The Ultimate Decadent Ding Dong Cake! Clearly, nostalgia is the secret weapon in this new spin on a childhood fave. "This cake is one of a kind," says Becky who took care to add her own unique flavor to the recipe. Imagine a silky smooth chocolate cake filled with a creamy blend of ricotta, mascarpone, powdered sugar, cinnamon and Grand Marnier! "This cake can be served as just a home dessert or served at any function," attests Becky. We surely are proud every time we serve it, no matter the time or place.
Sometimes we run into moments where all we need is a glass of milk and a piece of homemade cake to turn the world right again. We salute all of you baking troubadours who are using Just A Pinch to spread your sweetness to other home kitchens all across the globe. It really does make a difference... and sure does taste good. Chocolate lovers unite!