Bake weekends – Chocolate sponge pudding

I went through a surgery recently, and is unable to eat very hard foods. So, when I come across this recipe in my “The Delicious Cookbook” (pg 246), I thought why not give it a try, since I have 1 hour to spare (minus washing and stuffs). Moreover, I want to start using my cookbooks more often.

The recipe is at the end of this post.

Dice the butter and chocolate. Mix before melting. Put in a bowl over simmering water, and genty melt. Don’t stir as it is easy to overwork the bitter chocolate.

Beat the eggs and sugar till pale and smooth. I have tried using small eggs when recipe calls for large eggs, and it often always turn into a little disaster. First, the volume differs. Second, eggs have a variety of tasks, such as leavening, emulsifying. Imagine not adding baking powder to your cake mixture? It turns out flat. Baking is pretty much chemistry, and the portions are quite important. So, try to stick to it as much as possible.

My chocolate mixture looks uneven (left).

I used semisweet chocolate chips instead of plain bitter chocolate. My melted mixture turns out to be a pool of liquid floating on the partially melted goo at the bottom of the bowl. After some research online, I realised that those chocolate chips I used contained milk solids, while bittersweet chocolates are not meant to have any milk content in it. So probably that’s why.

I wanted to throw away the whole pot, but it was too wasteful. Instead, I mashed it up with two metal spoons, bit by bit. Hard work but worth it in the end.

Fold in chocolate mixture.

Sift flour and baking powder and add to the mixture. Beat until smooth.

I ignored the “beat” instructions and try to fold it in instead. As shown on the left, it remains lumpy. Folding in is too weak compared to the strength generated by beating it in.

Lastly, beat in coffee and 250ml boiling water. Achieve a smooth batter. (I continued my use of the ballon whisk.)

Grease the pan with butter. It will act as a glue to stick the baking paper. To make a circle, fold the baking paper by half for three times, then put the tip at the centre of circle. Cut out the excess.

Pour in the batter. Bake 35-40minutes, and then test with a skewer. It may not come out clean – expect some stickiness. Cool for 20-30 minutes before cutting into squares and serve with unsweetened cream.

Overall, it is a really easy recipe. I took more time than 1 hour though, because I am very slow with the mashing and washing. Have fun!

Ingredients: (6-8 servings, 1 hour to make)

  • 225g unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 100g plain, bitter chocolate (70% cocoa)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 250g soft dark brown sugar (I used 175g, superfine white caster sugar)
  • 200g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp strong coffee (I used freeze dried instant coffee granules, plus a little extra)

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 180oC/160oC fan forced. Dice the butter and chocolate, put in a bowl over simmering water, and genty melt. Don’t stir as it is easy to overwork the bitter chocolate.
  2. Beat the eggs and sugar till pale and smooth. Fold in chocolate mixture, then flour and baking powder. Beat until smooth. Lastly, beat in coffee and 250ml boiling water. Achieve a smooth batter.
  3. Line an 18cm square tin with butter and baking paper. Pour in the batter. Bake 35-40minutes, and then test with a skewer. It may not come out clean – expect some stickiness. Cool for 20-30 minutes before cutting into squares and serve with unsweetened cream.

Notes:

  • Here are the modifications I made:
    • 100g semi-sweet chocolate chips instead of bitter chocolate. It was supposedly similar except being slightly sweeter. But the chocolate I used did not melt properly. I ended up with a pool of liquid over the melted bits. To resolve the problem, I mashed the softened chocolate bits by hand. Not the most interesting thing to do, but it worked.
    • 180g sugar, because I used semisweet chocolate which has a higher sugar content than bittersweet; white caster sugar that is sweeter than dark brown sugar; because commercial recipes tend to be on the sweet side.
    • !.5 tbsp freeze dried coffee granules. It was not strong coffee, hence I increased the amt slightly, dissolve in boiling water, before adding to batter.
    • Round pan because I did not have square ones. I calculated the area of the different pans. It differed slightly. Cake turned out ok, but slightly overcooked. Could be due to other reasons too.
  • Mix the diced butter and chocolate before melting, as chocolate can easily get overworked during the melting process. You don’t want a bitter dessert..
  • I used a spoon to beat the eggs and sugar initially, then realised cakes are quite different from cookies. I changed to a whisk and it was much more efficient.
  • Follow the instructions when it says “fold” – scoop and mix gently with spatula, and “beat” – use a whisk, do not be afraid of being too rough, as the batter definitely requires more strength than folding in.
  • I know it is a chore to cut lining for round pan. There is no need circle the pan and cut along the line. Just fold the paper into half, then another half, then another half. Put the tip at the centre of the pan, cut the excess. When u open up the paper, u will get roughly a circle. 🙂
  • Cake did not turn out sticky in the inside (it is supposed to be sponge pudding, sobs). The skewer comes out perfectly clean. I probably overcooked also because my oven temperature tends to be hotter, and I did not keep an eye on the cake.
  • The lining paper for the cake base should cover other lining paper for ease of removal.
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