Thursday, March 10, 2011

Inventing things again

I used to say that I did NOT bake.  Baking was too fussy for a tomboy like me.  I liked the rough alchemy of a sauté coming together, or a soup long simmered, until cheap meat, and slightly dodgy vegetables became a dish to astound my friends.   And then there were the notable failures, but about those best to keep quiet. 

Baking, by contrast, was predictable, lacking in adventure.  All those finicking chemical reactions to bake a cake that worked.  No room for experimentation.

But eventually my love of the kitchen led me to learn, apprehensively at first, the rudiments of baking.  I'm by no means a master baker, whatever this blog might lead one to believe, but I do what I know well.  And eventually, I mastered enough of the basics to do what I did tonight -- open my faithful Joy of Cooking to a simple quick cake recipe (that is a cake that relies on a chemical reaction between an acid and a base for it to rise rather than a cake that relies, at least in part, on incorporating air into eggs for structure) -- realize that I don't have enough sour cream to make it, and improvise.

The improvisation is in the oven at the moment, but here is the recipe.  In general for baked goods I prefer not to rely on regular coffee to impart a coffee flavor -- coffee is bizarrely one of the more evanescent flavoring -- but a half cup seems like it ought to do something.  

This cake comes together fast, and can be mixed with a wooden spoon without undue laboriousness.  I also suppose that some people would call this a tea loaf rather than a cake and I will admit their point.

Hopeful Mocha Quick Cake

5 Tbsp Butter
2/3 c brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 c sour cream
1/2 c strong coffee
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 c flour
1 cup chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350.

Grease and flour a 9"x 5" loaf pan

Melt the butter in a large microwave safe mixing bowl.

Stir in the rest of the ingredients in the order in which they are listed, stirring between each addition. Stir until the dry ingrediants are just combined, and the chips are well distributed.

Scrap into the loaf pan and bake for 40 - 45 minutes, or until a tooth pick or fork inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let cool in the pan on a rack for 20 minutes or so, and then run a fork around the cake to loosen it and turn it out. 

Edit to add: I baked this as described in a loaf pan, took forever.  I suggest a nine or ten inch cake pan and start checking around the 30 minute mark.

1 comment:

  1. Today I baked my first loaf of sour dough gluten-free bread and it was a gigantic success. I made the starter myself with a blend of gluten free flours and tap really took off! I wasn't sure about the baking time so I put in a thermometer and kept it in the oven until it was 200 degrees inside! It was perfect and tastes very sour and wonderfully smooth. It is the best bread I have ever baked and I have been making bread since 1968!