Sunday, November 14, 2004

The chocolate cake that never should have been

A post by umami prompted me to look through the latest issue of Gourmet Traveller. Something I'm not usually wont to do as the food just makes me envious and frustrated at not being able to learn and recreate the recipes that I know I could if I had the time. This week's feature was Slab Cakes. Basically home-made versions of the kinds of cakes you might buy in a supermarket in rectangular blocks. But GT gave a down-country hokey kind of spin to the whole article. Also, some of them were very prettily iced: meringue frosting, candied lime, etc.

I tried their chocolate slab cake:
butter, chocolate and water - melted and mixed
flour and baking powder - sifted
the ingredients combined, stirred with brown sugar and sour cream and baked.

Maybe the oven was too hot: I used a fan-forced setting instead of ordinary radiant heat. Maybe the recipe was totally wrong(!): Who melts dark chocolate, butter and water??

At any rate, the cake was overcooked on the outside but still soft on the inside. I figured after 45 mins at 180 dC it was done so I took it out of the oven, rested for 3 mins then inverted it on a rack to cool. After 20 mins I wanted to try it, so turned it onto a plate and discovered that approximately 10% of the very centre of the cake was still uncooked; a puddlet of thick brown gooey batter had oozed through the hole made by the cake-testing knife onto the kitchen bench.

Naturally, I was dismayed and a bit disappointed by this result. It also didn't help when my darling and supportive bf L charmingly pointed out, "Your cake's done POOS!" before laughing out loud, pointing and giggling at me. That over-under-cooked battery-brick mass just sat lumpenly before me, unanswering.

It tasted all right but deep in my stomach, I knew no one would eat it. A cake eaten out of Chinese-induced clean-up-your-plate guilt will believe it is worthless.(*) I committed the equivalent of patisserie euthansia and guiltily slid it into the bin.

Footnote: (*) This sentence is modified from a sign at the Teddy Bear Shop: A Stolen Teddy Will Believe He is Worthless.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Nana Diver’s Double Chocolate-Chip Supa Chunk Great Tasting

Great tasting what? You might asking yourself. What has Nana Diver made in her kitchen? The title leaves you guessing, doesn’t it? Great tasting disappointment is what it was. This is one of those chocolate chip cookies from a vending machine aka “fatbox”. I had just finished a rather gruelling step aerobics workout and needed a sugar fix in order to continue functioning. I was craving a Cookie Time cookie but I could only find Nana Diver’s bakery product.

Needless to say, it was a profound letdown. For 22g of fat, I had expected something tastier. I found one double-chocolate-chip-supa-chunk in my cookie, and it wasn’t even that “supa-” sized. The biscuit was crumbly, sweet but tasteless and there was no aroma to speak of. Quite a let down, but I should have known and read the label. It doesn’t even declare itself to be a cookie!

I want my Cookie Time. I didn’t know it was a New Zealand phenomenon, but I guess the best things come from NZ, like me.