Sunday, April 26, 2015

Double Chocolate Crumb Cake

It's been almost 5 years since I shared my "Choco Chocolate Chip Coffee Cake". I had created that recipe when I happened to be out of sour cream and couldn't use my usual recipe. I still use that created recipe but I also wanted to revise the earlier usual recipe.

Well, over the last few weeks, I've gone back to the “Choco Coffee Cake” on page 149 of Company’s Coming Muffins & More by Jean ParĂ©. It is a basic coffee cake base with chocolate chips added and a sweet crumb topping of chocolate and nuts. A very good cake in itself, but as always, I wanted to switch it up a bit.

I've been playing with the ingredients and.... Okay, to be completely honest, I actually started out to make that recipe, but I screwed up! Oops! With a couple of minor alterations to correct my "error" the result actually turned out REALLY good!

Here is what happened: I often measure the dry ingredients for both the cake and the topping at the same time so I don't have to open containers twice or clean a measure in between. I measured the flour for both and put the correct amounts into the proper bowls. I measured some of the other dry ingredients for the cake and then the sugars. I was measuring the cocoa powder and rather than adding it to the topping bowl, I inadvertently added it to the dry ingredients for the cake! 

Well, that 1 Tablespoon of cocoa powder wouldn't have made a big difference but I figured why NOT add cocoa powder to the cake as well? I knew it would need more than that amount to make a difference so I added what amounted to 1/4 cup. I added a touch more white sugar to compensate for the bitterness of the cocoa powder. I added a bit of milk for moisture as the batter was always a bit on the stiff side.

The resulting batter was still quite thick but much easier to mix and spread. The cake baked up beautifully! 

One other thing I did differently from the original Company's Coming recipe was the pan size. That recipe called for a 9"x13" pan but I generally find that cakes bake more evenly in round or square pans. The 9"x13' tends to take longer to cook the center which can make the outer edges too dry or even bordering on burnt. Dividing the batter evenly isn't that hard - just takes a few seconds more so well worth the extra effort in my opinion.

Several people have taste tested and loved the results of my revamped recipe so I decided it was time to rename it and share it here!

Double Chocolate Crumb Cake
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup block margarine, softened to room temp
1 cup + 2 Tablespoon white sugar
2 large eggs, at room temp
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup dark or bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup light or fat free sour cream
2 Tablespoons 1% milk

1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 Tablespoon cocoa powder
1/4 cup block margarine, softened to room temp
1/2 cup dark or bittersweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped almonds

Preparing the Pans:
Lightly spray two 8" round pans with cooking spray such as Pam. Cut 4 strips of parchment paper (or wax paper) - each about 1  -  1 1/2 inches wide and long enough to go across the bottom of the pan and up over the top of both sides. Lay 2 strips in an "X" formation across the bottom of each pan. Cut circles to cover the surface inside the pan. Then lay the circle on top on top of the "X". Set the pans aside while you prepare the cake and topping.
In a small bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cocoa powder together. Set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, cream margarine and sugar together. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Add the flour mixture and combine. Stir in the chocolate chips. Add the sour cream and milk. Beat to mix. Batter will be quite stiff. Divide the batter between the two prepared pans. With a fork or the back of a spoon, smooth out the batter to the edge of the pans. (I find it easier to level the batter in the bowl then draw a line down the middle with a spoon or scraper so I know about how much to add to each pan. I also use a fork to measure the depth of the batter once spread out in the pan - transferring a bit of batter to the other pan if needed - so that both pans are fairly even.)
Mix brown sugar, flour and cocoa together then add margarine and mix till crumbly. Stir in chocolate chips and almonds. Divide the topping between the two pans - leveling it to the edge over the top of the cake batter. Lightly press the topping into the top of the cake. (This prevents most of the topping from falling off when cutting and serving)

Bake in preheated 350F oven for 38 - 40 minutes or until inserted toothpick comes out clean. Cool on wire rack for about 15 minutes. Run a knife around the outer edge of the cake to loosen it from the pan. Using the ends of the parchment paper, carefully lift the cake out onto a wire rack to finish cooling. Each cake can be cut into 8 pieces - making 16 servings in total.
This cake also freezes well. Once it is completely cooled, wrap the whole cake in plastic wrap and place in a large zipped freezer bag and put in the freezer. It can also be cut into wedges, wrapped, placed in freezer bag and frozen. To serve, allow the whole cake or pieces to thaw either on the counter or in the fridge, then heat for just a few seconds in the microwave so it will taste like it is right out of the oven!



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