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As promised, here is the post.

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I came across Sam’s favorite chocolate cake awhile ago and it looked good enough to try out the recipe.  The thing is, I basically live alone and I cannot eat an entire chocolate cake by myself.  Before when I wanted to try out recipes, I would just foist the resultant baked good upon coworkers at the office.  But since I work for THEM, either I am rarely in my home office or no one else is in the home office.  Still can’t eat a whole chocolate cake by myself.

Now that I’m on a long term project at Clib, I can find plenty of people to foist baking experiments upon, but Clib is FAR.  I don’t often have time or energy to bake after getting home from work and weekends are for doing everything I couldn’t do during the week because I was driving to/from Clib.

But finally, I gathered up enough motivation to try out this recipe, especially since I promised a chocolate cake to a coworker.  And…you see the result above.

I made the cake pretty much to the letter.  I didn’t sift the dry ingredients as I really hate sifting.  I did whisk to combine though.  And at the end, I actually pulled the batter before the mixer fully incorporated the last addition of the dry and folded the batter a few more times by hand to make sure everything was combined.  I also used natural cocoa powder and not Dutch process.  The recipe didn’t specify, but I suspect that the author of the recipe used Dutch process cocoa because the only leavening agent is baking powder and I didn’t notice that until reviewing the recipe again just now.  And…now a whole bunch of things make sense, which I will get to later on.

I used store bought sour cherry preserves.  I have several ethnic markets in my area that carry a wide selection of good quality preserves.  While I would normally make my own…I just didn’t have time.  And it can be hard to get sour cherries.

The “frosting,” as they call it, is just a ganache.  Just make it like you would any other ganache.  And let it cool before you pour it over the cake.  It’s easier to work with and you don’t have it running all the way off the cake this way.

My thoughts: The cake isn’t bad.  It’s very chocolately, of which I approve.  I’m a big fan of chocolate.  But the cake is dense.  DENSE.  Maybe too dense.

And here is the later on.  A lot of the denseness probably was because of the fact that I used natural cocoa powder and not Dutch process.  Natural cocoa powder would be the wrong type of cocoa powder for the leavening agent.  Natural cocoa powder goes with baking SODA (because natural cocoa powder is acidic and baking soda is basic).  Dutch process cocoa powder goes with baking POWDER (because Dutch process is neutral and baking powder has all the acids and bases already mixed in, so I guess you would consider it to be neutral as well), which is what this recipe called for and I only noticed this just now.  Or rather, I obviously noticed while I was baking, but I didn’t think of the import of the pairings until writing this up.

So anyway, if you’re using natural cocoa powder when you’re baking, sub the powder out for soda.  I would cut it down to about 1 tsp of baking soda if you’re using natural cocoa powder.

If I were to make it again, I might make a cake more like devil’s food cake, or I might just not be a dummy and think about the leavening agent I’m using BEFORE I start baking with natural cocoa powder.  But another thing I think I’d change is that I’d slice each cake into two, making this a four layer cake.  Those cherry preserves paired very well with the chocolatiness of the cake.  I think I would like to add more cherry preserves by upping the layers.  And if you decide to make a more fudge-like cake, it’ll make the cake less overwhelmingly dense.

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