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Keith Bryant
My granddaughter and I finished our first challenge last week and we are on to our second challenge for the month. I thought for our second project I would make a plain old chocolate cake. 
 Boy was I wrong. Learning the complexities of chocolate and cocoa itself was an all-day study session.
 Cocoa powder was first produced in 1828 by the Dutch chocolatier Van Houten, who used a hydraulic press to remove 90 percent of the cocoa butter from the chocolate nibs or beans. This was then ground and introduced as cocoa powder.  
 Cacao Powder is naturally tart (why sugars are added to it) and very acidic.  The natural acidity is an advantage in baking because it causes the proteins to set up rapidly.
 This being the case would explain the thickness of hot cocoa and why brownies set up so quickly. You will find when baking items that have cocoa in them it calls for vegetable oil and normally some type of other protein, such as eggs.   
 This is what keeps the product moist when it comes out of the oven.  The fine particles in cacao powder act almost like flour and will make baked goods very hard if you are not careful. 
 I chose the recipe out of the cookbook “Bakewise” and it was moist and tall. I added a couple of things to the cake.  The center was a little soft, but that maybe because I used the wrong pan. I made a chocolate ganache frosting to finish it off. 
Deep dark chocolate cake
2 c sugar
1¾ c all-purpose flour
¾ c unsweetened cocoa
1½ tsp baking soda
1½ tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1 c milk
½ c vegetable oil
2 tsp vanilla
1 c boiling water
 1. Mix dry ingredients together in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, then stir in the boiling water.
 2. Pour batter into 2 round cake pans or 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
Ganache Glaze:
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1 cups chocolate chips milk, semi-sweet, or dark
2 tablespoons brewed coffee
pinch kosher salt
1. Add heavy cream and butter to a small saucepan and heat on low heat until the butter has melted and the cream is warmed throughout.
 2. Add chocolate chips to a large glass or nonreactive bowl. Pour the warmed cream and butter mixture over the chocolate chips. Add in the brewed coffee and a pinch of salt. Allow to stand for about 3-5 minutes to soften the chocolate chips completely.
 3. Stir briskly to combine and until smooth.


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