Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Adventures in High Altitude Cooking: Chocolate Torte

For the birthday party this past weekend (see post below) I wanted to make a special cake. So, I asked my dear former Landis' baker friend, Renée for a recipe for a spectacular chocolate cake that I remember stashed away in my memories of yummy layered cakes.

My first challenge was to find the chocolate that the recipe called for. There is nothing here that is specifically called baker's chocolate and I also had to secure some German chocolate bars. So, I headed off to my local grocery store (I must say a store with an impressive amount of interesting foods only appealing to extranjeros (foreigners)) in search of chocolate. I found a huge bar of milk chocolate that would do for my German chocolate. Then I looked at the bars of pure Cacao and wondered: is this really what I want? The store clerk said that you could use it for baking but often people here just try to tell you what you want to hear and not really the truth (that happens for sure when you are asking for directions). So, I ended up with a 400gr bar of Cacao and a 400 gr bar of milk chocolate.

I was a little afraid of high-altitude issues, so I went online in search of answers. I found a useful site that told me how to convert regular recipes to high-altitude. Apparently part of the problem with high altitudes is that the cakes rise too quickly. So I had add more flour and water and reduce the baking powder.

I adjusted my recipe (including transferring ounces to grams) and prepared my batter when I discovered one little problem: we had no round cake pans!! Oops! Thankfully we have multitudes of pie pans. I used three pie pans instead of two cake pans, stuck them in the oven and hoped for the best. The cakes came out a little more spongy looking than I expected and I'm not sure if I should have reduced the baking soda as well. They also had uneven sides from the wax paper and the pie plate shapes.

The next step was to prepare the chocolate and cream for the layers. The original recipe called for the cutting of the layers but my layers were thinner as it was so I just made use of what I had. I used cream between the first two layers and then put all the chocolate and nuts in between the next layers and covered the entire cake with cream (which hid uneven sides nicely). I decorated with chocolate shavings and strawberries and I was rather excited at how it looked in the end. As I was decorating it I kept saying: "ooh, this looks so great!!"

The problem came when we tried to cut the cake! The chocolate layer had cooled to form a thick chocolate bar like layer and when you cut into the cake you hit the solid center and the whole thing squished together!! Oops! This problem came from my three layers instead of two and putting all the chocolate in one place! The cake itself was moist and not too dry even though it had looked too spongy. The combo of the cream with the rich chocolate was so delightful! Yum... I think I'll have to try this cake again.

What the peices looked like after trying to cut the cake!

1 comment:

Zoegirl said...

hmmm.... muy interesante!!! -lol

it must have been in the prophetic that I found out that when I mispelled pastryface, it came out pastrycafe, before I changed it to get here...hehehe ;o)