I'm still making my way through my collection of recipe books and I'm more than 3/4 of the way there, maybe even closer. I'm feeling some pressure to wrap up this baking challenge soon because the whole reason I started it in the first place was to justify buying Lisa Yockelson's new book, Baking Style, which has already been released. But, hello, confession time, I recently bought the book. I know, I know, I wasn't supposed to until I had finished this challenge. But it was on sale, I had a gift card that would pay for most of it and I had a weak moment. So there you go. However, I only bought it, I haven't actually used it yet. Now my new challenge is I can't bake from it until I finish up my old challenge. I've now been on the first challenge for over a year. Who knew it would take so long just to bake 1 recipe from every cookbook I own?
I have several cookbooks by Carole Walter and they're always straightforward, generally easy and usually come out. If they don't, I modify them to suit me but for the most part, she has terrific recipes. Which is why I felt okay taking the risk of trying out a new recipe during holiday baking time. You usually can't go wrong with pound cakes or a Carole Walter recipe.
My faith was justified as this turned out pretty well. It takes longer to mix than the norm as the instructions have you adding the powdered sugar a little at a time and beating the batter to airy lightness. I don't think I took the full 8-10 minutes to beat the sugar in but it did take awhile. In fact, it took so long that my melted chocolate mixture cooled too much to use so I had to warm it slightly again before I added the 2 cups of vanilla batter to it to make the chocolate batter. But it was worth it as the texture was perfect, not too dense but not too light. The flavor was good as well. Don't swirl the two batters too much as you do want distinct sections of chocolate and vanilla together once the cake bakes.
This is best eaten warm or lukewarm. When I tried a sliver after it had cooled to room temperature, it wasn't as good. So if you're not going to serve it warm, then heat it up in the microwave for 10-15 seconds first before slicing and serving.
4 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, such as Lindt, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup hot water
3 tablespoons strained Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
4 cups sifted cake flour, spooned in and leveled
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
6 large eggs
½ cup milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 ½ cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, slightly firm
¼ cup canola or vegetable oil
3 ½ cups strained powdered sugar, spooned in and leveled, plus extra for dusting
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 325˚F. Generously butter a 10-inch angel food cake pan with a removable bottom and line the bottom with baking parchment. Set aside.
2. Combine the chocolate, hot water, cocoa powder, and corn syrup in a medium heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a pot of simmering water and heat just until the chocolate is melted. Stir to combine and set aside.
3. In a large bowl, thoroughly whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.
4. Whisk the eggs in a medium bowl. Blend in the milk and vanilla.
5. Cut the butter into 1-inch pieces and place in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until smooth and lightened in color, about 2 minutes. Slowly drizzle in the oil, taking about 1 minute, then beat for 1 minute longer. Scrape down the side of the bowl.
6. Reduce the speed to medium-low. Add the powdered sugar, 2 to 3 tablespoons at a time, taking 8 to 10 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Slowly pour in ½ cup of the egg mixture and mix for 2 minutes longer.
7. Add the dry ingredients alternately with the remaining egg mixture, dividing the flour into four parts and the egg mixture into three parts, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the side of the bowl as needed.
8. Remove 2 generous cups of the batter and place in a 2-quart bowl. Stir the baking soda into the tepid chocolate, then add the chocolate mixture to the 2 cups of batter, gently folding together.
9. Using two large clean spoons, alternate placing large spoonfuls of the chocolate and vanilla batters in the prepared pan, carefully spreading the flavors so they touch. Make a second layer of batter, this time placing spoonfuls of vanilla batter on the chocolate and the chocolate batter on the vanilla. Repeat, alternating the flavors, making about four layers. Insert a kitchen knife into the batter starting about 1 inch from the funnel and circle the pan twice. Do not overwork the batters. Firmly tap the pan two or three times on the counter to level the batter.
10. Bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes. The cake is done when the top is golden brown and firm to the touch, and a wooden skewer inserted deeply in the center comes out clean.
11. Remove the cake from the oven and let stand on a cooling rack for 25 to 30 minutes. Holding the tube, lift the cake from the outer ring and place it on the cooling rack. Let stand for another 20 to 30 minutes. Cover the cake with a cooling rack, invert, and carefully lift off the tube section of the pan and the parchment paper. Cover with another rack and turn the cake top side up to finish cooling. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.