The first event of the Free-spirit Bloggers group is here. And wowie, what an overwhelming response you gave us for the introduction post! Thank you. Forget those extra 4 brownie points I mentioned. Just drop by… I’ll have those warm fudgy brownies waiting for y’all :) So are you ready for that first burst of free-spirit we’re sharing with you?
Let me give you some background before we make a beeline to the dessert table. Oopsie, did I give it all away? Dang! Well, I had to at some point anyway. So now that you know we dished up dessert, would you agree with me when I say – whats a better way than to start off a new venture with something sweet, and something that also has a chocolate tag to it? Bah, will I ever change? Never. Ever. Ironically it’s not about chocolate here. I started us off with a series called ‘Baking Labs’ where we will be trying some baking experiments, both simple and advanced. This series is not about mastering recipes, but about understanding the science of baking and how different ingredients play different roles in making a recipe work. I hope you will all enjoy this just as much as we
would already are enjoying tinkering around in our labs. Perhaps with time, even you guys might want to initiate a Baking Lab experiment for us, yeah? Put on those thinking hats and keep them there; I’ll give you a shout when the time is right.
Coming to FSB’s theme for April, here’s what we worked on – We tried our hands at eggless baking in cakes (particularly cakes using batter made by the creaming method), by losing the eggs and trying a particular recipe with different egg substitutes. The recipe I chose was a classic Chocolate Pound cake. The original recipe is here if you want to have a dekho. Although all of us have worked with the same basic recipe, each worked with a different egg substitute and tweaked the recipe a tad bit wherever was necessary. At the end of the exercise, we compared notes and shared with each other as to what sub works and how. Some of us even worked with the same sub twice to be able to perfect the recipe before we shared it with you all. I was really really charged up to see how this would pan out, and I should say its a great job done by everyone on FSB. Commendable efforts with everyone sharing pictures of work-in-progress, constant comparison of notes, helping each other out…our Facebook group page was a beehive of activity all month-long. Atta girls! I just love you lot for being so supportive and enthusiastic.
After consistent lab experiments that made loud gurgling noises all through the month, here’s a small list of tried and tested working subs for your reference –
There’s far more going on with a list of 20 possible subs in all, and only 6 of them worked out so far. I’ll update this list as and when one of us has a fully working sub to add, so keep those pretty peepers peeled.
Now how about taking a peep into how I worked on my experiment? And then we can all go attack the stack on that dessert table together. Did I just turn on your drool switch? Go ahead and drool all you like. You have my permission. In fact, this picture might help you with it even more.
Eggless Chocolate Pound Cake with Corn starch
- All-purpose flour/Maida – 250 gms
- Sugar – 250 gms
- Butter (at room temp) – 250 gms
- Cocoa powder – 50 gms
- Corn starch – 8 tbsps (or) 1/2 cup
- Water (at room temp) – 4 tbsps (or) 1/4 cup
- Baking Soda – 1 tsp
- Baking Powder – 1/2 tsp
- Salt – 1/2 tsp
- Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
- Milk – 1 1/2 cups
- The original recipe called for 4 eggs. Corn starch sub for each egg is 2 tbsps corn starch + 1 tbsp of water. So doing the math for 4 eggs, you get 8 tbsps cornstarch and 4 tbsps of water, which is what I’ve used.
- The original recipe calls for not more than 1/2 cup milk. However, I needed 1 1/2 cups milk to bring the batter to dropping consistency. (Dropping consistency is the consistency required of the cake batter where the mixture isn’t soft enough to fall easily off the spoon but slides off reluctantly after a few seconds).
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C/350°F.
- Grease and dust a 8-inch square pan/9-inch round pan and set aside. I used my pretty 9.5 x 3.4 inch non-stick fluted pan, and it was just about right for the amount of batter this recipe proportion makes.
- Cream the butter and sugar along with the vanilla till light and fluffy, about 6-8 minutes.
- In the meanwhile, mix the corn starch with the water and set aside.
- Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Do this thrice and set aside. This is done to introduce air into the dry ingredients, and also avoid any lumps specially from the cocoa.
- Add the corn starch-water mixture gradually to the creamed mixture and beat well for about 5 minutes, till the mixture appears fluffy.
- Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the milk, adding the milk in 3 additions and the dry ingredients in 2 (begin and end with the milk). Scrape down the sides of the bowl as needed and mix only until the ingredients disappear into the batter. Over-mixing the batter will result in a dry cake.
- Pour batter into the readied pan and even out the top.
- Bake at 180 deg C for 45-50 minutes or till done. Mine took nearly an hour to get done, which I’m supposing comes from the added flour content by way of the corn starch.
- Cool completely on a wire rack. Gently run a serrated knife along the edge of the pan and un-mould the cake.
- The cake was moist and divinely chocolatey. It had the most delicate crumb and reminded me so much of the Eggless Triple Chocolate Whipped-cream Cake. Surprisingly, though this cake is a lot less sinful, it tasted richer than the whipped-cream cake. Go figure!
- I also felt that the cake was just a wee bit denser compared to the cake from the original recipe and understandably so, but it was still goooood. Experiment success!
I was in a hurry to remove the cake from the pan although I knew I shouldn’t, and goofed up! A thin layer of the cake’s crust chose to stay back and give company to the pan, and the surface on top of the cake was full of small bumps and craters :(, which is precisely why I did some repair work and frosted my cake with some of this Quick-fix Chocolate glaze. It added some oomph to the bite no doubt.
Moral of story: You pay heavily if you don’t learn to be patient. Why? ‘Cos I now need to work out an extra half-hour to burn off the extra calories from that glaze. Despite that, the cake is disappearing fast and how!
The cake will undoubtedly go best served warm with a dollop of vanilla ice cream straight from that family size tub sitting in your fridge. And that my friend, is your one-way ticket to nirvana. ‘Choo waiting for then? Get moving and on that plane right this instant.
Wait! Before you board that plane, have a go at that dessert table buckling from under the weight of all these divine chocolate pound cakes. They’re all calling out your name. And I hear you…we know how to spoil you for choice alright. Dig in!
A small linky round-up of the other FSB experiments –
- Anu – Ricotta sub cake
- Deepti – Paneer sub cake
- DK – Tofu sub cake
- Lataji – Condensed milk sub cake
- Mittu – EnerG sub cake
- Nags – Banana puree sub cake
Siri is currently travelling; she will join in the action next month.
Here’s one for the
road skies as you go.
Drop me a line and tell me how you liked our first Baking Lab experiment, and also how you think our FSB group is shaping up. I’d be thrilled to bits to hear from you and so will all the other FSB-ites.
Psst, Nags is choosing the theme for May, so hop on over to her space later this month to know what she would have kept us busy with all this month. I’m not saying you shouldn’t head to her space between now and then, but don’t forget that month-end visit :P
Give me an ‘F’, give me an ‘S’, give me a ‘B’.
FSB!! FSB!! Three cheers to a great start for the Free-spirit bloggers! Do you see our spirits roaming about freely everywhere yet? ;)
Stay tuned, and have a good weekend!