Sunday, 20 November 2016

11:51 – We had a blizzard last night, except for the snow part. The low was about 23F (-5C), with winds gusting to 60 MPH (100 KPH). That made the wind chill not far above absolute zero.

We’d run out of homemade bread, so we decided to bake a couple of large loaves yesterday. Since we were messing up the kitchen and heating the oven anyway, we decided also to make a chocolate cake. As usual, my go-to source for any recipe involving flour and baking is King Arthur Flour. We decided on this recipe. Originally, I planned to make the optional icing as well, but Barbara suggested we try it without the icing first. I’m glad she mentioned that, because as it turned out the cake was fine without frosting.

Here are the ingredients we used, all from long-term storage:

□ Flour, 1.5 cups (6.25 oz., 177 grams)
□ Sugar, 1 cup (7 oz., 198 g)
□ Cocoa powder, 0.25 cup (0.75 oz., 21 g)
□ Salt, 0.5 tsp
□ Baking soda, 1 tsp
□ Vanilla extract, 1 tsp
□ Vinegar, 1 Tbsp (0.5 oz., 14 g)
□ Vegetable oil, 0.33 cup (2.625 oz., 74 g)
□ Water, 1 cup (8 oz., 227 g)

Making it up takes only a few minutes. Here’s what we did:

0. Preheat oven to 350F and grease an 8″ square baking pan that’s at least 2″ deep.

1. Combine the flour, sugar, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl and mix thoroughly.

2. Combine the vanilla extract, vinegar, vegetable oil, and water in a small bowl and mix thoroughly.

3. Add the liquid to the dry ingredients and stir to mix thoroughly. Immediately pour the batter into the greased 8″ baking pan and place the pan in the 350F preheated oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes.

The original recipe used all-purpose flour. We used bread flour, which is the only kind we store. I was initially surprised by how little cocoa was called for. When we mixed the dry powders, the result was a light tan color rather than the dark brown of a typical chocolate cake. But when it came out of the oven, it had turned dark brown as expected, and had plenty of chocolate flavor.

I’d also wondered about using bread flour, which is much higher in protein (gluten) than all-purpose, let alone low-protein pastry flour. I wouldn’t have been surprised if the cake had turned out brick-like, but it was just as good as the one Barbara had bought at the supermarket a couple of days ago.

We had four 24-ounce (680 g) cannisters of cocoa powder in LTS. Looking at them, I figured we might get a half dozen chocolate cakes out of each. As it turns out, each cannister is enough for 32 of these pan cakes, so we have enough for 128 of them. Well, 127 now.