I have developed a recipe pet peeve. That is for yeasted recipes that were apparently tested in the tropics in an 80+ F kitchen. You know the ones, the ones you start with more than enough time and even though your kitchen is by no means cold–even hot according to your arctic-minded family–it takes waaaaay longer for the dough or batter to rise than the recipe predicts.
Granted, I never should have started this recipe in the evening, but I also should have had more than enough time. Instead I went to bed at 2:30 in the morning. Agh.
Now having said all that–and my recipe instructions do address this conundrum–I am so excited I found this recipe. I have tried other chocolate breads and chocolate yeasted cakes, and have always found them lacking. I made a chocolate babka this spring, for example, that did not make the cut for going on the blog because while it was definitely chocolate and definitely an enriched yeasted cake, it was just not sweet enough nor chocolate-y enough to really float my boat. If you are going to call something a cake, it needs to qualify for dessert, not breakfast or teatime. In my opinion.
Happily this does. You can serve it plain, dusted with powdered sugar or with whipped cream–all 3 of which I can personally vouch for. I also think you could try, as the recipe suggests, a flavored simple syrup or a chocolate sauce, but I never got that far. It just was not necessary. I served this to 4 preschool aged children and 4 other adults, and they all agreed except my husband, who apparently must have some issue with yeasted chocolate cake in general. Or something!
One-Bite-to-Heaven Chocolate Yeasted Cake
Closely Adapted from Deep Dark Chocolate, Sara Perry
5 t (or 2 packages) active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water (110-115 F)
3/4 cup warm whole milk (110-115 F) (I used a combo of 1% and cream)
3 cups (378 g) AP flour, divided in half
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
1 t vanilla
1 t baking soda
1 t salt
6 oz melted good quality semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (I used half 62% and half 71% Scharffen Berger)
6 oz mini chocolate chips
Sprinkle the yeast over the water in a medium-large bowl. Stir to blend, and then let sit until foamy, about 5 minutes. Mix in the milk and 1 1/2 cups of the flour (189 g); whisk until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise until light and spongy, about 45 minutes (Perry claims 30).
Using an electric mixer, preferably stand, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until totally incorporated. Add the yeast mixture and vanilla and beat until blended.
In another bowl, whisk together the remaining flour (189 g), the baking soda, and the salt until fluffy and blended. Add this flour mixture to the batter in 3 additions, alternating with the melted chocolate and beginning and ending with the flour. With the last flour addition, add the mini chocolate chips and mix until completely blended. Finish by hand, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl.
Generously butter a 10 inch tube pan and scrape the dough into the pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until light and foamy, but not quite doubled–Perry says 1 hour in a warm spot, I would allow for 2 hours, even longer if your kitchen is cold. After 40-60 minutes (depending on how fast it seems to be rising), preheat your oven to 350 F. Bake until the sides pull away from the edges and a tester inserted in the middle comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for at least 20 minutes. Use a thin knife to gently loosen the edges before inverting and removing. Unlike other cakes, this one can be served warm (alas I did not get to try that since it was 2:30 in the morning). After it cools, wrap it securely with plastic wrap or store in a cake keeper.