Chocolate is a typical ingredient used in baking cakes. Most cakes recipes either use chocolate as the main ingredient in the cake itself or as cream filling or cake topping or garnishing purpose. There is huge variety or ways where you can make use of chocolate in your baking application, you just need to be creative!
Origin of Chocolate
Chocolate comes from beans of a kind of tree called cocoa or cacao, that is originated from South America continent. This kind of trees have now grow in other part of the world as well such as Africa, South Asia and other tropical counties in America.
Cocoa beans are in the form of large pods, once harvested from cocoa trees, the pulp and bean are laid down under the sun to ferment. This will allow the pulp to evaporate and the bean itself will develop its chocolatey flavor.
Type of Chocolate for Cakes
There are various type of chocolate used in baking. Notably is dark chocolate which contains low sugar, which is commonly used in making cakes. White chocolate on the other hand is normally used to create color contrast in cake decoration. Chocolate chips are also easily available in many major supermarkets and are also used mostly for decoration. The other popular chocolate ingredient that are used quite often is cocoa powder. Cocoa powder can be said to be the purest form of chocolate since there is no butter in the powder and does not contain any sugar. Hence cocoa powder is mostly bitter in flavor.
Chocolate should not be melt through direct heat. This is because the chocolate would burn or scorched easily. The typical way used in melting chocolate is by using double boiler technique. This would involve placing chopped chocolate into glass mixing bowl. Then place this heat-proof bowl into a saucepan that is filled with water. You should heat up the water in the saucepan, and the heat from the water would then transfered to the mixing bowl, hence melting the chocolate. However some of us may be a little bit lazy to use double boiler setup, so they resort to use microwave to melt chocolate. So ensure that we use a microwave proof bowl to do that. Melting chocolate
The most popular way of using chocolate in baking cake is making ganache. Ganache is actually chocolate sauce concocted by melting the chocolate and mixing it with fresh cream. The chocolate sauce (or ganache) is then poured or spread onto your cake. The thing about ganache is that it will set after it cool down. So you do not have to worry if the chocolate ganache drips all over the place!
Making Chocolate Cream
Chocolate cream for cake filling is another form of way in using chocolate in making cakes. It can be made easily using whipping cream, which can be whipped until soft peaks are formed, then stir in the melted chocolate, and you’ll have a delicious chocolate cream. If you feel chocolate cream is too rich, you could also try making chocolate butter cream instead. This can be done by substituting the whipping cream with butter and icing sugar. The butter will be softened first at room temperature before beaten with icing sugar until creamy. Then you may proceed to mix in the melted chocolate or cocoa powder. The cream can also be served as garnishing purpose by pouring them into a piping bag with the right nozzle, and you can pipe your desired patterns or shapes onto the cake.
Cake Garnishing using Chocolate
There are varieties of chocolate based garnishing ingredients readily available in supermarkets. This includes chocolate chips, chocolate rocher (yes, the Ferero Rocher!), chocolate candies or even chocolate wafer. But if you are creative enough, there are a lot of masterful culinary techniques that can be used to make nice cake garnishing using just melted chocolate. The easiest one is making chocolate curls. This can be done by melting the chocolate first, then spread it evenly over a flat surface (normally on top of baking tray). Let the chocolate settle for a while before you use a spatula to push the chocolate along the baking tray, consequently creating a curl effect.