Last night I made cake. Raise your hand if you’re surprised.
Wait, though – this one didn’t have fruit in it!
… Yeah. I have one trick. Cake is my trick. With that established, let’s move on.
Every year, food magazine stalwart Saveur runs a food blog competition that gets taken pretty seriously by the food blogosphere. I always sort through the categories I’m most interested in to find new blogs to read, which is how I found Best Cooking Blog finalist Alaina Sullivan’s palate/palette/plate, a cooking and baking blog “born from [her] urge to weld the worlds of food and art.” Which is just awesome.
Last night I tried my first recipe from her blog, this mocha-glazed chocolate cake. Aside from the tempting photos, I was intrigued by this cake because rather than using dairy products for lightness and moistness, it uses vinegar + baking soda! That’s right, this cake creates a mini-volcano experiment in its very batter. I had to try it.
While making the cake I found the batter quite lumpy and very difficult to smooth out. I’m not sure why this is – maybe water doesn’t break down creamed butter and sugar as well as other things? Either way, the lumpiness doesn’t seem to have affected the finished product, so if you choose to make this cake I wouldn’t worry about it. We do need to talk about the glaze, though. While reading the ingredients – 1.5 cups powdered sugar, 1/3 cup cocoa powder, 1/4 cup brewed coffee – I could tell something was seriously off, but I don’t have enough experience working with powdered sugar to feel comfortable adjusting those amounts. As expected, the final product was way too sweet and didn’t taste at all balanced, which led me and my dad to doctor it up into a much nicer final product. I’ve included my modified glaze in Notes & Verdicts below.
Notes & Verdict
Nana’s Chocolate Vinegar Cake with Mocha Frosting by palate/palette/plate
Notes: So the glaze. The original is just not nice at all, in my opinion. Here’s my modified glaze. I think the flavors are much more balanced this way.
1.5 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup + 1.5 – 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 tablespoon espresso powder
1/4 cup brewed coffee
Verdict: This is extremely nice. It’s a little on the sweet side for me, but then again, I don’t often make frosted cakes. I find that while on the first bite the contrast between the cake and the glaze can be jarring, as I carry on the flavors seem more and more complementary. I give this cake a B+.