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Archive for March, 2014

Mocha Brownie Cake 029

A dessert called Mocha Brownie Cake that contains more than a pound of chocolate has got too be great, right? Well, it didn’t turn out that way for me. The recipe is from Baking With Julia and was contributed by Marcel Desaulniers. There is a compact one-pan chocolate cake filled and covered with mocha ganache. I baked the cake twice – the first time following instructions closely, except for the baking temperature. I set the oven at 425 degrees, instead of 325…oops. After 45 minutes, the cake was decidedly burnt.

Mocha Brownie Cake 008

So I started again, but since I’d used most of the bittersweet chocolate in the first cake and the ganache, I used more unsweetened chocolate and less bitterweet in the second cake and added a little more sugar to compensate. I was also out of sour cream at this point, so I substituted some plain yogurt.

Mocha Brownie Cake 001

The cake is cooled, sliced into three layers, then layered with ganache. The recipe calls for using a springform pan to contain the cake layers while pourable consistency ganache is added, then chilled to set. For this procedure to work successfully, the cake and springform pans have to be exactly the same size. My springform pan was slightly smaller than the cake pan, and the layering process was awkward. I think it would have been fine to just let the ganache cool to a spreadable consistency and spread it onto the cake layers.

I wasn’t overwhelmed by this cake. I found both the cake and ganache a little dry. It was very dense and rich and much improved with a scoop of ice cream. But the bottom line for me is that a cake with this much chocolate should be better than this.

The recipe can be found on pages 282-283 of Baking With Julia. The Tuesdays With Dorie-Baking With Julia website lists links to more bakers’ experiences with this recipe.

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Buttermilk Scones 020

The Buttermilk Scones recipe from Baking With Julia is a basic template for scones that invites almost limitless additions and variations. There are two shape versions, triangular-shaped and rolled. I decided to make rolled scones, filling them with apricot jam, chopped dates and pecans, as I feared they would be too plain otherwise. In fact, the flavor imparted by the lemon zest and the lovely buttery flaky texture would have been enough.

Buttermilk Scones 002

As I started combining the dry ingredients, I realized that I only had enough flour for half the recipe, resulting in twelve small rolled scones. They’re so easy to whip up however, that it doesn’t really make sense to bake more than you plan to consume the same day.

Buttermilk Scones 003

Dry ingredients are combined, butter cut in, buttermilk and lemon zest stirred in, and the result gathered into a ball of soft lemon flecked dough.

Buttermilk Scones 005

For the rolled scones, the dough is rolled out into a rough rectangle and spread with the chosen filling. I completely missed a step after rolling out the dough: brushing with melted butter and sprinkling with sugar. While additional butter and sugar couldn’t hurt, these scones were fine without.

Buttermilk Scones 006

Rolled into a log and sliced, the scones are ready for ten to twelve minutes in the oven. They really are fast. I dusted them with some Turbinado sugar before baking.

Buttermilk Scones 033

I liked the flavors and textures of the fillings, and they offer so many opportunities for variations, but I think these scones in their basic version could stand on their own. The recipe is on pages 210-211 of Baking With Julia. Links to blog posts about these scones can be found at Tuesdays With Dorie.

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