Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Buttermilk Chocolate Cake with Chopped Pecans


"Oh my God......Oh my God.........". It was 5am (I was very hungry. Very) and I had a serious case of the OMGs which accompanied every single bite of this chocolate cake (they were leftovers from the day before). It was sheer ecstasy as I savoured this very moist, fudgey, chocolaty and nutty concoction. Many thanks to The Pioneer Woman's The Best Chocolate Sheet Cake. Ever. 

Note that the cake is dense and moist. Not airy or crumbly, why ah??

My first ever proper chocolate cake was Chocolate Buttermilk Sheet Cake with Ganache Frosting which I adapted from Diana Desserts. The Pioneer Woman's version is slightly different because she brings the butter, cocoa powder and water to a boil before mixing the hot mixture into the flour and sugar. Diana's version merely melts the butter mixture without bringing it to a boil. And there are two additional ingredients i.e. vegetable oil and cinnamon powder.

Boiling butter, cocoa powder and water mixed with flour and sugar. Batter is paste like and I was concerned.

Quite honestly, I found it strange for boiling liquid to be mixed into the flour. But I decided to just follow the recipe and see what happens. Well, what resulted was thick chocolaty paste. After that the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla essence is mixed into the batter. That made the batter very fluid and smooth.

After mixing in the buttermilk, eggs and vanilla resulting in a smooth batter.

The batter is supposed to be baked in a sheet pan but I baked the cake in a 9"x9" pan. My previous experience with a 9"x13" pan was not good. The cake was done in 20 minutes and has a dense and fudgey texture. I compared the Pioneer Woman's Cake with mine and her cake's texture looks more like  a regular cake as it looks crumbly. Mine is looks wet and dense, as if it is still raw although the batter is properly cooked.

Thick clumsy streaks of  ganache. I could have done a nice piping but I am no Eric Lanlard.

Maybe it is because I changed the recipe a bit as I reduced the sugar from 2 cups to 1/2 cup. I could not imagine having 2 cups of flour to 2 cups of sugar as the frosting itself contains a whopping 385g of sugar. That would send me into a permanent diabetic coma. Also since I used self-raising flour, no baking soda is added to the buttermilk mixture. That could have altered the chemistry, hence the difference in texture.

I did not use the Pioneer Woman's evil decadent frosting (in her own words) and chose to use ganache instead. And of course, I used yummy pecans although it costs me a small fortune.


I made the ganache when the cake was just out of the oven and poured it onto the cake while it was still warm. Then I chopped up the pecans and scattered them onto the ganache. Since I had another 125ml of whipped cream, I did not want to keep it and decided to make extra ganache. I drizzled the extra ganache on top of the pecans. It would have looked better if I piped the ganache as I ended up with thick clumsy streaks.

Want?

I would have to say that this is my favourite chocolate cake as it doesn't require use of a mixer and I love the moist fudgey texture. Coupled with the ganache and chopped pecans, it was simply to die for! I would recommend this cake to novice bakers and it is very easy to put together and bake and yet comes out so impressive.

Don't you just want to take a spoon and dig right in? Louiz?

One more thing I need to tell you is that this cake is soft and therefore it is fragile. It tends to break easily and you need to be careful when slicing the cake. It would probably be better to chill the cake before slicing it so that the cake is firm and you will get clean neat cuts. Bring to room temperature before serving if chilled.


If I may say so, this cake has a festive feel to it and would be a delight to serve up for Christmas. And having said that I would like to wish all my friends and readers Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! See you again in 2014! PH needs to rest :)











Buttermilk Chocolate Cake with Chopped Pecans
Adapted from : The Pioneer Woman

Ingredients :

For the Cake :
- 250g self-raising flour
- 1/2 cup Muscavado sugar (add more of you prefer a sweeter cake)
- 4 heap tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 220g butter
- 1 cup boiling water
- 1/2 cup buttermilk
- 2 whole eggs, beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For Ganache :
- 100ml whipping cream
- 100g bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces
- 10g butter
Note : I made extra ganache with 125ml of whipping cream and 125g of chocolate just to finish up the whipping cream. I used it as topping on the pecans . It was more than enough and I was left with about 1/4 cup of ganache which you know ended up where :)

For Topping :
- 200g toasted pecans, chopped

Method for cake :
1. In a mixing bowl, combine flour and sugar. Set aside.
2. In a saucepan, melt butter. Add cocoa powder and cinnamon powder. Stir together.
3. Add boiling water and allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds, then turn off the heat.
4. Pour mixture into flour mixture and stir lightly to cool.
5. In a measuring cup, pour buttermilk and add beaten eggs and vanilla. Stir the mixture into the flour mixture. Gently mix until well combined.
6. Pour into a lined 9"x9" pan and bake at 160C for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Method for ganache :
1. Put chocolate and butter in a measuring cup or a bowl and set aside.
2. In a saucepan, boil the whipping cream.
3. Pour boiling whipping cream into the chocolate and butter.
4. Leave it to stand for 5 minutes and then stir until the ganache is thick and shiny.

To assemble :
1. Pour ganache onto the warm cake and tilt the cake pan to spread ganache evenly.
2. Top with the chopped pecans, pressing down gently to ensure nuts stick to the ganache.
3. If you made extra ganache (optional), pipe it onto the nuts for a nice presentation.
4. Slice the cake and enjoy!


I am submitting this post to Baby Sumo's Christmas Recipes Collection 2013 hosted by Baby Sumo of Eat Your Heart Out.

56 comments:

  1. Replies
    1. It is sticky in a good way! Makes you lick your fingers :)

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  2. That looks really good, nice for dessert, I would think.

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    1. Yes, it is a gorgeous dessert and not breakfast LOL!

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  3. Yum yum... very chocolaty and lovely Christmas treat! Merry Christmas and Happy New year to you and your family! :)

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    1. Esther, it is a wonderful treat! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and your family too!

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  4. Hi Phong Hong, look awesome and so chocolatey. Got coffee?
    Love the topping, look sooooo good.
    Merry Christmas to you and family.

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    1. Hi Amelia! Yes, I always got coffee :) Merry Christmas to you and your family too!

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  5. Mmm...yummy! I'd also like to have this divine chocolate cake early in the morning :D
    Merry Christmas to you and your family!

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    1. Hi Ann, it makes a naughty breakfast! Merry Christmas to you and your family too!

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  6. Dense, rich and delicious!!! Merry, merry Christmas, my friend!!!

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    1. Merry Christmas, Lizzy! Lets eat and be merry :)

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  7. Hello Phong Hong....
    WHY oh WHYYYY do you have to torture me with your words! And not to mention the loooookkk of that chocolate cake, with the ganache dripping by the side... and I am drooling on this side of the world! Hadoiii....

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    1. MamaFaMi.....that is revenge for your brownies hee..hee....

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  8. OMG, Phong Hong!!!! This is so tempting and irresistible!!! May I have a small slice as my X'mas gift? Here's wishing you all the joys of the season. Wish you and your family a Merry Christmas!

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    1. Hi Ivy! Small slice only? Have a big one :) Merry Christmas to you and your family too!

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  9. My God!! your cake makes my mouth water it looks so yum-yum I like this type of cake I can eat 4 slices at one go Can you send it by DHL for Me??

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    1. EE, the cake will disappear halfway.....

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  10. Merry Christmas to you and your family!!!

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    1. Merry Christmas to you and your family too!

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  11. Wow! Early morning chocolate treat? that's sinful! But it's Christmas so that makes it alright:D Sounds like a present lol! Merry Christmas to you Phong Hong:D

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    1. Merry Christmas, Jeannie! Committing a sin so early on Christmas morning haiya....

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  12. Hi Phong Hong, I just love your dense, beautiful and super chocolate goodness of a gorgeous cake!
    Wishing you, and yours a very Merry Christmas, my dear friend! Hugs,

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    1. Thank you, Elisabeth! Merry Christmas to you and your family too!

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  13. luckily i am not staying with you..you always get this 'early hungry' disease...contagious and dangerous you know! Merry Christmas to you!

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    1. Merry Christmas, Lena! Hah! Hah! You will get fat if you stay with me :D

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    2. haha...after that do detox together...anyway coming by to wish you a fabulous new year ahead!

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    3. Yah, my coffee will finish very fast hee..hee...Happy New Year!

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  14. Yum! Looks sinfully chocolatey delicious! Wishing you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!

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    1. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too!

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  15. OMG (now I really have to say OMG) !! Gawd, it looks soooooooo goooooood ! I can just wallop the whole thing. By the way, I don't need a spoon. I don't even need to cut it first.. I will just use my hands and eat like a glutton !
    It looks so perfect, macam in hotel buffet, the cakes section, all perfectly cut into squares..

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    1. Louiz, you can really eat huh? Hmm...sounds nice to just dig in by hand like caveman style :)

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  16. Hello Phong Hong, just wanted to resonate what you said. I have had a not-too-good experience with PW's chocolate sheet cake as well, in spite of all the oohs and aahs about it. Similarly, I reduced the sugar (we'd be crazy not to) and the end-result was too wet, couldn't hold shape and I remember I threw everything out. Disappointed. Sorry, I think PW's recipe only works for her.

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    1. Hi Ann/KCH! Yes, this particular recipe of hers is puzzling. What comes out of my oven is very different from hers. But having said that, the cake though dense and very moist does taste good and my family loves it.

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  17. Hi PH hope you had a great Christmas! I normally get hunger pangs at midnight and have to tell myself not to cook/bake. I wouldn't be able to resist if a slice of this appeared in front of me though :P

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    1. Hi Yen! I am mostly asleep before midnight :) Thank goodness hee..hee...

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  18. Hi Phong Hong, a very Merry Christmas to you and your family .. This chocolate cake looks so yummy.

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    1. Thanks, Cecilia! A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you too!

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  19. wow, finger licking good!
    choco and walnuts is duo killer....
    nice sweet bites!

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    1. Thanks, Dentist! I brushed my teeth after eating this sweet treat :)

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  20. Phong, a boiled cake like this won't rise like a traditional cake because you've gelatinized the starches. You'd have to increase the amount of baking powder to up the leavening and give the batter enough "umph!" to rise.... if that's what you're after. This looks to be more of a dense, baked pudding that we here in the deep south call a Poor Joe. Either way... dense sticky, rich, chocolate cakey-puddingy thing is right up my alley :) Cheers to you and your family during the holiday and have a wondrous 2014!

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    1. Hi Toby! Thanks for the explanation. So that's why it doesn't rise, I thought I did something wrong. Anyway, me and my family love this cake. It tastes good and that is all that matters :) Thank you for your well wishes and I hope for a wonderful 2014 for you and Jane too!

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  21. I totally do want!!! Pecans are one of my favorite nuts, and chocolate? Who can say no to chocolate??

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    1. Hi Cathleen! You can totally have! Hope you have a wonderful 2014!

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  22. I love pecan and chocolate on cake... so yummy. Wishing you a Happy New Year! And a wonderful 2014 ahead!

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    1. Happy New Year to you too, Mich! It's a good reason to eat chocolate cake :)

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  23. Oh my god oh my god... I guess that's the only reaction one can have to this cake ha! Sounds amazing. Very tempted to try this, but also very worried I will not have the will to stop myself from eating this at 5 am ;) p.s. Happy new year to you, have a wonderful rest of 2013 x

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    1. Happy New Year, Shu Han! Don't bake this cake if you are watching your calories. Very dangerous hah! hah!

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  24. Hi Phong Hong,
    Such a delish looking cake! And delish in calories, but who cares, it's a season of eating and be merry! And I would be merry if served with a slice of this cake!
    I have bookmarked PW's choc sheet cake ages ago, and never got round to it!
    Happy New Year!

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    1. Hi Joyce! I baked this cake a few times and it seem to be my favourite because it is easy. I have been doing too much eating and there's more eating to come for CNY! Help! And Happy New Year to you and family!

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  25. Hi Phong Hong,

    Wishing you and your loved ones a great 2014 ahead! Cheers!

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    1. Hi Alvin! Wishing you and your family a Happy 2014 too!

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