Tuesday, September 7, 2010

ABC - All-American Chocolate Cake with Divinity Frosting and Milk Chocolate Paint

This month's ABC of the Month recipe was chosen by Shandy of Pastry Heaven. Normally I pick the recipes but when Shandy joined, I was so happy to have her on board that I asked her to select the September recipe as a (small) token of my appreciation. She picked what was already one of my favorites from Flo Braker's "Baking for all Occasions": All-American Choc Cake with Divinity Frosting and Milk Choc Paint. The chocolate cake I have made about half a dozen times already. The divinity frosting and the milk chocolate paint were a new addition. Btw, I apologize to the ABC bakers because I forgot to mention that the book is missing instructions on *when* to add the melted chocolate. When I made this cake the first time, I added it right after incorporating the eggs to the batter. Later I found out, that's exactly when you're supposed to add it. A big thanks to Rachelino (a Heavenly Cake Baker) for posting the updated recipe on her blog. Rachelino actually met Flo Braker at a book signing and Flo hand wrote the instructions to her copy of the book. Apparently, Flo was a bit irritated that the error occurred. No worries, Flo. Your cake is still awesome!!

When I checked with hubby on how he'd like the divinity frosting, I quickly realized he wouldn't go for it. What to do? I guess I had to come up with something creative :o)

Chocolate Cake with Divinity Other Frosting and Chocolate Paint

First, I'd like to thank Monica of Sweet Bites for designing the new ABC badge. But she did more than that. She also bribed convinced a few people into joining our baking group :o) I'm just kidding, of course. She spread the word to a few food bloggers she knew and some joined as of this month. Thanks Monica!!I'm just happy our baking group has grown :o)

Here's the current ABC blog roll:
(I will be updating the links to the actual post as they become available)

The batter was enough for a total of 3 cakes!

Back to the cake. I decided to bake two 6" round cakes and one 8" square cake; the latter I'm freezing for a bake sale we're doing at work next week, benefiting the flood victims in Pakistan (please consider doing the same, if your work allows it - we bake a lot anyway. Our charity of choice is the Red Cross).

As some of you might know, I love baked goods that incorporate sour cream. It adds moistness as well as a slight tang, and when combined with its counterpart, baking soda, it always creates a nice rise. When I first saw the ingredients list of Flo's chocolate cake recipe about a year ago, I knew I had to make it right away, and I did. The batter also incorporates lukewarm coffee which is known to highlight the flavor of chocolate (I like to use hot water + 2 tsp of Medaglia d'Oro instant espresso powder). The cake batter comes together easily and the finished product is a pure chocolate delight.  Not only is the cake incredibly moist with a deep chocolate flavor, but it also has a very tender crumb, where each bite just melts in your mouth.

Sweetened whipped cream, stabilized with a little kosher gelatin

So the divinity frosting was nixed. I figured nobody doesn't like sweetened whipped cream so that's what I did. I figured it's white just like the divinity frosting so maybe nobody would notice :o) For this, I adapted Rose's recipe for Super-Stabilized Whipped Cream from The Cake Bible which uses a little bit of (kosher) gelatin.

One layer frosted, one more to go + the outside of the cake

"That's a tower!" is what hubby said upon seeing this tall cake :o)

Now the question is, how do I apply "milk chocolate paint" on whipped cream? Btw, "chocolate paint" is just buter + chocolate melted together. Hmmmm... What if I freeze the cake after I frost it with the whipped cream? It worked, it worked. The only issue is that I had to work fast because the "chocolate paint" hardened on the cake pretty quickly. So I was forced into opted for a more "rustic" look as I couldn't get it perfectly smooth anyway. In hindsight that was just fine.

I told you it looked "rustic" :o)

Bon appetit mes amis!

Final thoughts/tips:
  • Hubby loved this cake (with capital L). He loved the creaminess and mousse-like texture of the whipped cream filling which offset the chocolate cake, creating a perfect balance. He liked the thin layer of "crispy chocolate paint" on the outside of the cake. His rating: 9.5 out of 10. Score!!! :o)
  • I made a few changes to the chocolate cake recipe. If you've followed this blog for a while you know I like to substitute 2 Tbsp of butter with canola oil. I think it makes the cake more moist. I also used half brown sugar and half granulated sugar as I think each sugar has its own unique properties and the end result would benefit from both. I also increased the salt to 3/4 tsp as I find salt to be a great chocolate flavor enhancer.
  • I used 1 cup of heavy cream to fill and frost the two layer 6" cake.
  • Don't forget to check out the ABC blog roll. If you'd like to join in on all the fun we're having, please feel free to email me at HanaasKitchen [at] live [dot] com.


  1. YUM!! to the whipped cream! I ran out of light brown sugar and made up the difference with my stash of various sugars.

  2. Wow, beautiful cake hanaa! It looks huge

  3. Thanks again for inviting me to join the group. I totally loved this cake. I brought the cake to work for a co workers going away party and everyone loved it. I will definitely be making this cake again and again.


  4. Your cake is lovely!!.FYI..I can't see your posts writing very well..the color of the letters does not show up much with the colorful background.

  5. ce gâteau gourmand est magnifique, j'en raffole
    bonne soirée

  6. Oh wow, I like the whipped cream idea... and like you said the chocolate cake is the perfect based for everything you put on it! It was a great choice!

  7. Poor Flo. It must be so frustrating to have a misprint in the instructions. I'm an author too (of children's books, not recipe books), and every time a new one comes out, I hold my breath until I'm sure there are no errors!

  8. I love your frosting alternative and what a great idea to put the cake in the freezer, allowing you to paint on the chocolate! I had no idea we had this many in the group and Thank you for posting a blog roll. I love knowing who is baking along.

  9. Your cake is beautiful, I think i am going to have to invest in some 6 inch rounds, they are like the perfect size!

  10. Wow, what a stunning peek inside that cake! Fantastic!!!


    PS - I know I have that book floating around here somewhere!

  11. thats a wonderful and for sure a tasty one too..hope to have it one day..nice work done..take care!

  12. Better late then never is my motto this time!!!!
    I love your cake and can't wait to do it just like yours...stunning.

  13. Your cake is a work of art! I've never heard of a painted cake but the effect is so striking that I want to give it a try.

    I order gelatin from Malaysia (I haven't had much luck finding it in Egypt). It lasts a long time.

  14. You are always such a pick-me-up when you stop by! The Bostinis were fun!

    What a busy month you are having plus the bake sale. I can not wait till you update your blog and share everything; you always have delicious cakes and designs to share!

  15. Wow! il est vraiment magnifique ce gâteau. Noir et blanc lui donne une allure très chic.
    Ciao! Caro B.

  16. Thanks for leaving this recipe as a recommendation for my search for a good choccie cake. I remember looking at this when you first posted it (obviously my comment is above) and it still stands that I'm very impressed. I love the height in this cake. But! I have committed to making so many chocolate cakes, and I think that if I add yet another to the list...well let's just say my hips wont thank me. Thank you anyway for the recommendation! And if it so happens that I STILL can't find my chocolate cake...I will come back looking here :)

  17. Wow, Hanaa--I'm overdue here and I missed this fantastic cake! Your changes to the batter sound just perfect to me. And the switch from divinity frosting to stabilized whipped cream (I'm going to go get Rose's book off my shelf and read the recipe for the "super stabilized" version--I am curious) was a great one. You're speaking my language, lady. I am a sucker for whipped cream on cake. This is one irresistible dessert. I don't think I've ever tried painting chocolate onto whipped cream (good idea you had to put the cake in the freezer first!), but I love the sound of that technique. Beautiful work, Hanaa!
    :) Jane

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