Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Social interaction

Last night I hosted my knitting group’s weekly meeting

(I may have failed to mention that I joined a knitting group shortly after I moved back to Canberra? Probably I have, because I am possibly the world’s most pathetic knitting-group member. I miss easily half the meetings (I blame all the conference calls), and every time I do go, I am impressed anew at what a terrible knitter I am. In fact, the last meeting before this one, I gave up any pretense of knitting and brought my current embroidery project instead. Since my group is called a “stitch” group, I decided that counted.

(I possibly also haven’t mentioned previously about the embroidery.)

Anyway! Before last night, I hadn’t been to stitch in more than a month, what with school holidays and Auckland and solo parenting for the last 3 weeks, and I was missing it, and adult interaction in general. So I put my hand up to host, newbie/pathetic knitter status be damned, and tidied up the living room.

And baked, of course. The custom in our group is that the hostess provides tea and dessert for the other members, and I took the opportunity to embrace the craving for chocolate and coconut I’ve been having a lot constantly the last few weeks.

Glazed chocolate bundt cake with coconut

I used some of my carefully hoarded stash of Baker’s unsweetened chocolate for this. If you swap in semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, I recommend cutting back on the sugar. You could probably substitute cocoa as well, but I think using real chocolate is what makes the texture of this cake.

Adapted from my mother’s chocolate cake
3 oz/90 g unsweetened baking chocolate
1½ cups/360 ml water
1½ tsp/7 ml vanilla
2¼ cups/270 g plain flour
¾ cup/90 g whole-wheat flour
2¼ cups/450 g sugar
2 tsp/10 g baking soda/bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp/3 g cream of tartar
1½  tsp/7 g salt
1 cup/240 g unsalted butter
5 eggs

Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Generously grease and flour bundt pan, plus an overflow pan or two if you think you might have extra batter (I did). Put chocolate to melt in a double boiler. Mix water and vanilla together and set aside.

In a large bowl, sift together flours, sugar, bicarb, cream of tartar, and salt. Add melted chocolate, butter, and a little over half of the water/vanilla mixture. Beat for 2-3 minutes, stopping to scrape sides at least once.

Add remaining water and 5 eggs. Beat another 2-3 minutes, stopping to scrape sides at least once more, until batter is thick, light brown, and fluffy.

Pour batter into prepared pans, no more than two-thirds full. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean; for the bundt pan, this should take 35-45 minutes.

Cool and frost with:

Chocolate ganache glaze
5 oz/150 ml cream
5 oz/150 g semisweet chocolate chips
1 tsp/5 ml vanilla
~2 Tbsp/30 g icing sugar, added gradually
Pinch salt

Heat cream until hot but not boiling. Gradually stir in chocolate until you have a thick, shiny spread. Add in remaining ingredients, tasting as you add sugar until you have reached a level of sweetening that suits you.

Drizzle over cake(s) while still warm. (Will harden as it cools.)

Sprinkle cake(s) with coconut flakes.

Makes 1 full-size bundt cake with some batter left over.


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