Chocolate Tips

The first enemy of melted chocolate is water, even a hot and humid day can ruin your efforts. Make sure that hands, utensils, bowls, surfaces - everything that comes in contact with the warm liquid chocolate are absolutely dry. One drop of water in warm melted chocolate will cause it to seize (bind, clump and turn grayish in color).

The second enemy of chocolate is too high heat. It's very easy to scorch! No matter what method you choose to melt chocolate, do not take shortcuts, use patience. 

Microwave Method:

Place chocolate in a small, deep microwavable bowl. Use a 50% power setting. Nuke in 30 second intervals, stirring between each interval. Stirring is important because chocolate will keep its shape even when melted, so stirring is important. If you suspect chocolate is close to being melted, reduce time to 10 seconds and  just let it sit for a minute or two to complete the melting process.

Double Boiler Stovetop Method:

Fill a saucepan with water up to the point that the double boiler bowl would rest its bottom in the water when put in place. Bring the water to a full boil and turn off the heat. Place the double boiler bowl filled with chocolate (and grease if you're making chocolate candy coating) on top of the boiled water. Do what you have to do and come back after 25 minutes (you can set the timer for 25 minutes) and carefully stir the chocolate. If it still has a way to go, turn the burner on warm or low to help it along. When the chocolate has melted, carefully remove the bowl of chocolate and wipe off the bottom of it with a dishtowel. You're now ready to make that chocolate treat or candy coating.

To create a chocolate coating of manageable consistency for candies and other treats, add 1 full tablespoon of grease  (shortening, peanut or vegetable oil)  to 6 - 8 ounces of solid chocolate and melt them together. Do not use butter because it  contains water. 

Melted chocolate may also be brushed on a candy center with a pastry brush, but two or three coats may be needed.

If you are out of baking chocolate substitute 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa and 1/4 cup shortening  for 4 ounces of chocolate.

Does your chocolate cake end up white on the outside when you flour the pan? 

Try greasing, then using sifted unsweetened cocoa powder to coat the pan.

Real Cooking

Did You Know?
If you want to keep your foam cakes light and airy, after you have beaten the egg whites to perfection, always fold in dry ingredients and use rubber spatula in a circular motion. Slowly, down through the batter, across the bottom, up to the opposite side and across the top to bring some of the batter up and over the egg whites. If you are using mixer use low speed once you start adding flour, to keep texture tender.

When baking more than one cake (or two layers cake) at the same time place the pans on the oven's center rack and allow at least an inch of space between the pans and two inches between the pans and the walls of the oven for proper heat circulation. When baking three or four layers, use two racks in center third of oven and stagger pans in opposite corners of both racks so they do not block heat circulation in the oven.

Keep in mind that cake batter should never sit before baking, because chemical leavens begin working as soon as dry substances are mixed with liquids and the air in foam batters will begin to dissipate.