Chocolate Velvet Fudge Cake
(*I would like to preface by saying that this gorgeous cake is so jump-for-joy cartwheels-and-somersaults good that even if you can’t be bothered to read my ramblings you absolutely must try the recipe sometime!)
When I was a little girl, I used to think velvet was the ultimately luxury fabric – refined, soft and plush. I loved running my hands over it back and forth and being completely transfixed by how the colours changed when you brushed it this way and that. Now that I’m all grown-up, the fascination has decreased somewhat, in line with my increase in practicality. Now when I consider putting on anything made of velvet, my first thought is: “Wah lau so hot.” (Overseas readers: “wah lau” is a commonly used Singaporean phrase that conveys some kind of exclamation or other, like “geez louise” or “oh my gosh”. It’s quite flexible.)
Still, the word velvet continues to convey a unique softness and smoothness that is difficult to find in any other fabric. (Random fact: Did you know that good velvet is actually made of silk fibers? It is the way it’s woven that makes it velvet.) And so it was with some anticipation that I approached this Chocolate Velvet Fudge Cake recipe from Rose Levy Beranbaum‘s excellent book Rose’s Heavenly Cakes. I was excited first of all because it would give me the chance to use this:
My pretty bundt pan that I bought on a whim when I first got married but never had the guts to use.
I was excited also because I wondered whether the cake would truly be velvet-like. While I like Red Velvet Cupcakes as much as the rest of ’em, I’ve never found most Red Velvet Cupcakes to be particularly velvety. Well friends, guess what – I have discovered what a velvet cake really is.
Is this cake truly velvet? Oh yes it is…>
I don’t think I have ever tasted a more velvet cake crumb than this one. It is refined, soft and utterly lush. It is so fabulously melt-in-your-mouth-good I feel excited just thinking about it.
I have found my new go-to chocolate cake recipe.
Rose’s book is brilliant for many reasons, but what I particularly like is that: (a) she provides both US and metric measurements for each set of ingredients (b) she and a friend have actually tried multiple iterations of each recipe to get the ingredients and method exactly right (c) she provides many excellent baking tips and tricks in detail all over the book. FABULOUS.
So without further ado, the recipe…
Chocolate Velvet Fudge Cake
(adapted closely from Rose Levy Brenanbaum’s Rose’s Heavenly Cakes)
Click here for printable recipe.
Ingredients (if you want the US measurements email me):
- 63g unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/2 cup (118g) boiling water
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature (weigh the cracked eggs and make sure you have just 150g of egg)
- 1/2 cup (118g) lukewarm water
- 2-1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 235g cake flour
- 1-1/2 cups (300g) caster sugar
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 227g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes (Rose says the butter should be 19-23 degC, but I just had my butter roughly at room temperature)
A 10-cup fluted tube pan (preferably silicone) or a regular 12-cup Bundt pan like I used, coated with baking spray then flour and set on a wire rack on a baking sheet.
*Personally I would just grease the pan the next time and forget the flour – my flour coating was quite even and still the cake surface came out a tad leprous!
1. Set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 175 degC (160 degC if using a dark metal pan).
2. In a medium bowl, whisk the cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap to prevent evaporation and cool to room temperature for about 30 minutes. ( To speed cooling, place it in the refrigerator.)
3. In another bowl, whisk the eggs the 1/2 cup lukewarm water and the vanilla just until lightly combined.
*Please absolutely weigh your eggs to make sure they weigh only 150g in total. My three eggs weighed a total of 185g at first!
4. Sift the flour and baking powder into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a flat beater. Add sugar and salt and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and the cocoa mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1 minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula and beat for another 30 seconds.
5. Starting on medium-low speed, gradually add the egg mixture in two parts, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for a few more seconds. Using a spatula scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface evenly.
6. Bake for 50-65 minutes (if using a metal pan, the cake will take the shorter baking time). A wire cake tester inserted between the center tube and the side of the pan should come out clean and the cake should spring back when pressed lightly in the center. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven.
7. Remove the pan still on the baking sheet, set the sheet on a wire rack and cool the cake in the pan for 15 minutes if using the metal pan or for 1 hour if using the silicone pan, until completely cool. (Avoid disturbing the cake until it is no longer hot in order to prevent the sides from collapsing.) Unmold the cake onto a serving plate.
Some pictures of the oiled and floured pan, and steps 2, 4, 5 and 7.
When the cake has cooled you can frost it, drizzle it with chocolate suace or just dust it with icing sugar like I did. It’s really up to you because the cake is absolutely gorgeous on its own – very soft, but not so soft that it can’t hold its shape; sweet, but not too sweet; moist, but not mushy.
Oh and of course, smooth as velvet. =)
*Note (added 21 Jul ’10): A reader asked what to do if you don’t have a 12-cup bundt pan. Great question! Though I’m not entirely sure of the answer… The great thing about a bundt pan is that the tube in the center allows heat to be distributed very evenly, which is important for a wet batter like this one. So no guarantees that this will work but… I think you can try using two 9-inch cake tins (other conversions for 12-cup bundt pans here) and baking for a shorter period of time. But you should probably also adopt Rose Levy’s practice of encircling the pan with aluminum and paper towels to help the batter at the sides rises as quickly as the batter in the center. Get a strip of aluminum foil long enough to encircle the pan with a little overlap, and about twice the height of the pan. Lay the strip on a flat surface. Wet some paper towels, fold them the height of the pan, and lay them along the strip. Then fold the aluminium foil over the towels to encase them. Wrap the strip around the pan and secure it with a metal paer clip or clamp.