Chocolade Ogura Cake #1, 2, 3 – swirls, marbled or chocolate chips?

 


PERFECTING THE CHOCOLATE FLAVORS

Last week was a pretty hectic week juggling between work and the desire to bake. This time, I wanted to bake a Chocolate Ogura Cake that’s rich, chocolaty and you know, obviously chocolate flavored. Many similar recipes that I came across online incorporate an overall about 10-30g of cocoa powder or 1/2-1 tsp chocolate emulco to the batter which I’ve tried and it weren’t exactly the type of deep chocolaty taste that I was going for. So I did my own flavor trials over 3 test specimens and I was pleased that each cake turned out progressively tastier. I’d definitely recommend Test Specimen #3 if you were to try any of these recipes!

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Test Specimen #1 was baked using the typical amount of flavoring that I had gathered from similar recipes online. The batter was divided into 3 portions; plain, chocolate emulco, and cocoa powder. As I previously had issues with having a slightly more burnt cake center which I guessed was due to the high oven temperature, I baked this cake at a much lower temperature; 150C for 30mins, and 130C for another 30mins. The cake rose gently with no significant dome formed. Well, I should have figured that the cake might be under-baked having baked at such low temperature. The cake was very soft and moist and the chocolate flavor was not prominent at all. The addition of walnut powder kinda flunked as well – most couldn’t taste the existence of it. The texture was pretty much accepted by everyone who tried. If a lightly-flavored cake is your preference, extend the baking time by 10-15mins to cook the cake thoroughly.

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Test Specimen #2 aims to create a more flavorful cake as you can see from the ingredients’ summary below. More cocoa powder, more chocolate emulco, and this time with mini chocolate chips for a bit of variation in texture. I switched back the baking temperature to 160C and pre-heated the oven with a tray of water placed on the lowest rack in preparation for steam-bath baking method. The oven thermometer (yes! I remembered to chuck it in), however, reads at 125C for the first 20mins into baking, and reduced to 120C for the remaining time. The steam generated from the pre-heating must have inhibited the temperature from rising above a certain temperature, in this case, 125C. Anyways, the cake was well cooked (no squishy sounds when gently pressed on the surface) and the flavors were more distinct albeit not quite there yet. The cake felt like a half & half chocolate and coffee cake as the top half had the chocolate chips and lower half contained 1/2 of the batter with the coffee emulco that sank to the bottom… TRY AGAIN!

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Test Specimen #3 was a final try this week before my supply of eggs gets depleted (haha). Even stronger flavors this time, I must say. Plus, I reverted back to the water-bath baking method as water isn’t added during the pre-heating phase and it allows the oven to be pre-heated to the temperature set on my oven dial (i.e. 160C). This time, I gave up on dividing the batters and mixed the flavorings throughout the entire batter. Charcoal powder was added to the finished batter and gently swirled around to create some marbling effect. Well, the marbling wasn’t obvious since the base batter was already pretty dark in colour. I baked the cake at 160C for 60mins, and the oven thermometer reading fluctuates between 150C-160C throughout the 1 hour duration. The cake rose decently well and did not crack. I also found super mini chocolate chips from a baking supplies store in JB (Perling Indah Enterprise) which I thought was great for topping tender cakes like Oguras so that it wouldn’t sink into or prevent the cake from rising. All in all, this cake is pretty well balanced in its texture and flavors – chocolaty with a touch of coffee aroma, and had definitely retained its signature soft and fine character.

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Tips:

I realized that adding liquidy flavorings (i.e. cocoa mixture) into the divided batter does rather significantly changes the consistency of the different flavored batters and it becomes difficult to create a “zebra” or layered cake effect. The more fluid batter seeps through the thicker/airier batter and accumulates at the bottom of the cake pan instead of layering up. To solve this, it’s best to dissolve the cocoa powder, if you choose to use it, in existing fluids (i.e. milk) rather than using additional water to avoid messing with the dry:wet proportions.

Adding a little dose of coffee emulco / instant coffee powder to the chocolate batter helps to enhance and bring out a deeper, more compounded chocolate flavor.

Charcoal powder is a great ingredient to add an intense strong colour without contributing or compromising any flavor elements. Sprinkle 1/2-1 tsp of charcoal powder in the batter to create a visual colour contrast, if desired.

All cakes were baked in an 8in fixed-based round pan.

For baking using Steam-bath method, place a tray half-filled with water on the lowest rack and pre-heat oven at 160C. For Water-bath method, pre-heat oven at 160C and separately boil a pot of water for later use. 

Recipe Index1-page-001 (1)

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Cake Specimen #1
Directions:

  1. Grease the interior of the cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk egg yolks, whole egg, oil, milk and salt in a large mixing bowl until frothy.
  3. Add in the sieved flour and whisk till well blended. Strain the batter through a mesh sieve to remove tiny bits of lumps and egg protein. Add grounded walnut and mix well. Cover and set aside.
  4. Using an electric stand mixer, whisk egg whites at low speed until foamy. Add in cream of tartar and beat at medium speed till soft peaks. Add in sugar gradually. Continue beating at high speed till firm peaks are formed. (Firm peaks are in-between soft and stiff peaks, and should have a slight curl when you dip a spoon into the meringue and invert a spoonful of the mixture) 
  5. Gently mix 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter using a balloon whisk. Repeat for the next 1/3. Switch to a spatula and gently fold in the rest of the egg whites into the batter till no white streaks can be seen.
  6. Divide batter into 3 equal portions. Add 1/2 tsp coffee emulco and 1 1/2 tsp chocolate emulco into 1st portion, add cocoa mixture and 1 tsp charcoal powder into 2nd portion, and keep the 3rd portion as it is. Gently fold in the flavorings until well incorporated.
  7. Pour each portion into the cake pan and drop the pan several times on the countertop to remove trapped air bubbles.
  8. Steam-bake in preheated oven at 150C for 30 minutes and reduced to 130C for another 30 minutes. 
  9. Remove from oven and drop it at about 20cm from the countertop to avoid sudden shrinkage. Invert the cake and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Jiggle and tap the cake pan gently and the cake should plop out from the pan. Remove parchment paper and let it cool off completely while inverted.
  10. Slice the cake with a serrated knife after it had cooled completely. Store cake in the refrigerator.

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Cake Specimen #2

Directions:
  1. Grease the interior of the cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk egg yolks, whole egg, oil, milk and salt in a large mixing bowl until frothy. Add cocoa mixture and mix well.
  3. Add in the sieved flour and whisk till well blended. Strain the batter through a mesh sieve to remove tiny bits of lumps and egg protein. Cover and set aside.
  4. Using an electric stand mixer, whisk egg whites at low speed until foamy. Add in cream of tartar and beat at medium speed till soft peaks. Add in sugar gradually. Continue beating at high speed till firm peaks are formed. (Firm peaks are in-between soft and stiff peaks, and should have a slight curl when you dip a spoon into the meringue and invert a spoonful of the mixture) 
  5. Gently mix 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter using a balloon whisk. Repeat for the next 1/3. Switch to a spatula and gently fold in the rest of the egg whites into the batter till no white streaks can be seen.
  6. Divide batter into 2 equal portions. Add 1 1/2 tsp coffee emulco and 1 tbsp chocolate emulco into 1st portion, and keep the 2nd portion as it is. Gently fold in the flavorings until well incorporated.
  7. Pour each portion into the cake pan and drop the pan several times on the countertop to remove trapped air bubbles. Gently top the cake with mini chocolate chips.
  8. Steam-bake in preheated oven at 150C for 60 minutes. 
  9. Remove from oven and drop it at about 20cm from the countertop to avoid sudden shrinkage. Invert the cake and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Jiggle and tap the cake pan gently and the cake should plop out from the pan. Remove parchment paper and let it cool off completely while inverted.
  10. Slice the cake with a serrated knife after it had cooled completely. Store cake in the refrigerator.

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Cake Specimen #3
Directions:
  1. Grease the interior of the cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
  2. Whisk egg yolks, whole egg, icing sugar, oil, milk and salt in a large mixing bowl until frothy. Add in 1 tsp vanilla extract, 1 tsp coffee emulco, 4 tsp chocolate emulco, cocoa mixture and mix well.
  3. Add in the sieved flour and whisk till well blended. Strain the batter through a mesh sieve to remove tiny bits of lumps and egg protein. Cover and set aside.
  4. Using an electric stand mixer, whisk egg whites at low speed until foamy. Add in cream of tartar and beat at medium speed till soft peaks. Add in sugar gradually. Continue beating at high speed till firm peaks are formed. (Firm peaks are in-between soft and stiff peaks, and should have a slight curl when you dip a spoon into the meringue and invert a spoonful of the mixture) 
  5. Gently mix 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter using a balloon whisk. Repeat for the next 1/3. Switch to a spatula and gently fold in the rest of the egg whites into the batter till no white streaks can be seen.
  6. Add 1/2 tsp charcoal powder into the batter and gentle mix the powder around using a metal spatula to create marbled effect.
  7. Pour batter into the cake pan and drop the pan several times on the countertop to remove trapped air bubbles. Gently top the cake with super mini chocolate chips.
  8. Bake using water-bath method at 160C for 60 minutes. 
  9. Remove from oven and drop it at about 20cm from the countertop to avoid sudden shrinkage. Invert the cake and allow it to cool for 5 minutes. Jiggle and tap the cake pan gently and the cake should plop out from the pan. Remove parchment paper and let it cool off completely while inverted.
  10. Slice the cake with a serrated knife after it had cooled completely. Store cake in the refrigerator.

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