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Jan 10, 2009 08:21 AM

Problems w/ Ina Garten's chocolate cake recipe?

Ina Garten's recipe for chocolate cake -- Beatty's Chocolate Cake -- driving me nuts. First time, cake batter bubbled out of the pans and all over the bottom of the oven. My fault, used milk w/ vinegar instead of buttermilk. But the second time still found that one of the pans ran over a bit, and then as they finished cooking they both went concave on me! I doublechecked the expiration date on my baking powder, and it's fine. Also, I found that the icing recipe barely made enough to cover the cake -- which wouldn't have been a problem but fort the concavity issue. Am assuming my troubles are of my own making/baking, but thought I'd check...BTW, the cake was delicious.

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  1. Get an accurate oven thermometer and check your oven. An oven that is inaccurate can cause cakes to collapse when removed if they are underdone in the center.

    1. I've made it flawlessly several times, so yes, there must be some issue that isn't the recipe.

      FYI - I have stopped making this chocolate cake in favor of the Great Barrington Brewery chocolate stout cake, which is even better (though yes, Ina's is great, too). I can paste the recipe if you'd like to try a new one.

      1. Using milk with vinegar shouldn't cause a problem. Are you using the right size pans? If they've gone concave as they cooled, they might not have been cooked enough. If they are cooked through and concave, I'd level off the cake rather than try to fill the hole w/ frosting. I just looked up the recipe--I wonder if Ina knows that's Beatty's cake is just the Hershey black magic cake that's been around forever.

        1. I've also made this cake two or three times without problem.

          Katecm I'd appreciate the recipe for the Great Barrington Brewery Cake.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Axalady

            Here you go. I've also halved it with no problem, baking it in a bunt, like Deb at Smitten Kitchen. Read more about that here:

            2 cups stout (such as Guinness)
            2 cups (4 sticks) unsalted butter
            1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably Dutch-process)

            4 cups all purpose flour
            4 cups sugar
            1 tablespoon baking soda
            1 1/2 teaspoons salt
            4 large eggs
            1 1/3 cups sour cream

            2 cups whipping cream
            1 pound bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped

            Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter three 8-inch round cake pans with 2-inch-high sides. Line with parchment paper. Butter paper. Bring 2 cups stout and 2 cups butter to simmer in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add cocoa powder and whisk until mixture is smooth. Cool slightly.

            Whisk flour, sugar, baking soda, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt in large bowl to blend. Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sour cream in another large bowl to blend. Add stout-chocolate mixture to egg mixture and beat just to combine. Add flour mixture and beat briefly on slow speed. Using rubber spatula, fold batter until completely combined. Divide batter equally among prepared pans. Bake cakes until tester inserted into center of cakes comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer cakes to rack; cool 10 minutes. Turn cakes out onto rack and cool completely.

            Bring cream to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chopped chocolate and whisk until melted and smooth. Refrigerate until icing is spreadable, stirring frequently, about 2 hours.

            Place 1 cake layer on plate. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with second cake layer. Spread 2/3 cup icing over. Top with third cake layer. Spread remaining icing over top and sides of cake.