Friday, February 25, 2011
Tunnel of Fudge Cake
The recipe this week came from Bakewise by Shirley Corriher. This book is also a big girl's cookbook; not many pictures but the recipes are written in a very detailed, user friendly format that even I can't mess up. An added bonus is the cool science of baking and food information that is packed into every page. The tunnel cake recipe was used to illustrate the ways sugar effects food. The fudgey "tunnel" is created because the high sugar content doesn't allow the center to set with the given bake time and temperature. Also, the brown sugar intensifies the fudge flavor and roasted nuts are always a win in my opinion.
I did have a sticking issue, getting the thing out of the pan was a bit more challenging than I imagined it would be so don't skimp on the non stick spray. The sticking drama however is totally worth it after you taste the finished product. Holy yum! Super, super rich chocolaty flavor with almost a brownie texture "outside". We ate it at room temperature and you can see in the second picture that the "fudge" is still slightly wiggly. It's not Chili's Molten Lava Cake runny but I think I like this better actually. I loved the nuts and I'm not always sold on nuts in cake or brownies. Served with vanilla ice cream it would be pretty close to the perfect chocolate dessert. You might want to schedule a check up with your dentist for shortly after you indulge however! :)
Tunnel of Fudge Cake
Bakewise by Shirley Corriher
2 1/2 c. walnut pieces or mixed walnuts/pecans (I used all pecans because we don't like walnuts)
1 1/2 c. plus 2 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into 2 Tbs pieces, divided
3/4 tsp salt, divided
Nonstick cooking spray
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup canola oil
2 large egg yolks
2 cups confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup natural cocoa powder
4 large eggs
2 1/4 cup spooned and leveled all purpose flour
Confectioners' sugar to garnish
1. Arrange a shelf in the lower third of the oven, place a baking stone on it, and preheat the oven to 350.
2. On a large baking sheet, roast the nuts for 10 minutes. Pour into a bowl, add 2 Tbs butter and 1/4 tsp salt and toss well. When cool, coarsely chop and set aside. (I just used pre chopped pecans and saved time)
3. Spray a 12 cup Bundt pan generously with nonstick cooking spray
4. With a mixer, beat the remaining 1 1/4 cup butter to soften and get to the fluffy stage. Add the granulated sugar, then the brown sugar, and continue to beat until light and airy. (This takes longer than you would think using cold butter) While beating, feel the bowl; if it does not feel cool, place in the freezer for 5 minutes, and then continue beating.
5. Beat in the remaining 1/2 tsp salt and the vanilla. Blend in the oil and egg yolks.
6. By hand, stir in the confectioners' sugar, then the cocoa powder.
7. By hand, one at a time, stir the eggs into the batter, with minimum stirring just to blend them into the batter well.
8. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour and roasted chopped nuts. Fold the flour-nut muxture into the batter and pour into the prepared pan. (Heating the pan in the oven for 5 minutes before you put the batter in helps ensure that you have a good 3/4 inch of well set cake to hold the fudge center.)
9. Bake for 45 minutes. You can't use the toothpick test for doneness because this cake has so much sugar that the center is not going to set, but remains a "Tunnel of Fudge" in the center. You are totally dependent on the correct oven temp of 350 and the 45 minute cooking time. (If your oven is sketchy with temps you should invest in an oven safe thermometer so you have a good feel for what is actually happening inside your oven...and a light that works is also good!
10. When you remove the cake from the oven, you can't see it but it will have a runny fudge core with an air pocket above the fudge. This air pocket is not desireable and will become a hole under the fudge when the cake is chilled. To minimize this pocket, about 20 min after you take the cake out of the oven, while still in the pan, press the inside and outside edges of the cake bottom down all the way around. This will press the whole bottom down and reduce the air pocket. Leave the cake in the pan until completely cooled. (2-3 hours) With a thin knife, loosen the cake around the edges. Place a platter on top of the pan and invert.
11. Cool completely. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar or drizzle with some tasty drizzle. Vanilla, chocolate or rum (the recipe is in the book) would all be good.