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penrose orange



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Microwave cake experiment #2
penrose orange
Here are the ingredients I used for my second experiment:

  • 2 tablespoons self-raising flour
  • 2 teaspoons xylitol
  • 2 teaspoons cocoa powder
  • tiny pinch of salt
  • 1 tablespoon mild olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon milk
  • ¾ teaspoon golden syrup
  • dollop of peanut butter
The previous experiment wasn't sweet enough, so my first thought was to add an extra teaspoonful of xylitol. However, some research with Google taught me that xylitol absorbs more liquid than sugar, so adding more xylitol ran the risk of making the cake even drier than before. I decided to try adding a little golden syrup instead. It's sweeter than sugar or xylitol, so I guessed that ¾ of a teaspoonful might be enough.

My mother sent me an email in response to my previous experiment and recommended that I add a touch more milk to help with the dryness, so I increased the quantity of milk by one teaspoonful.

In spite of the changes, the batter looked pretty much the same as in the first experiment, so no new photos of that.

I cooked it for fifty seconds at full power. Altering several variables (milk quantity, sweetener and cooking time) is not an especially scientific approach, but I can't run more than one experiment per day unless I want to eat a lot of cake!

Here's how it came out:

Cake experiment #2 immediately after cooking (50 seconds in an 800W microwave).  Rose nicely, and looks less dry than experiment #1
Notice that it looks less dry on top than the first attempt?

As before, the consistency looked suitably cakey; you can see that it was ever so slightly gooey:

The consistency of cake experiment #2.  Not as dry as experiment #1
The mouthfeel of the second attempt was an improvement on the first, it didn't seem nearly as dry. It got drier as it cooled, though; this recipe does seem to want to be eaten immediately after cooking.

It was definitely sweeter than the first cake, though the golden syrup flavour wasn't at all obvious, which was a shame. Golden syrup is one of my favourite flavours, it's an ingredient that seems to improve any sweet food.

The chocolate flavour isn't as strong as it could be, but I'm reluctant to add more cocoa because that would require further adjustment to the sweetener and liquid levels.

There was much less of a salty aftertaste this time. Reducing the quantity of salt to a tiny pinch did the trick. (As an aside, I do seem to be very sensitive to saltiness in baked goods generally. I can frequently taste the salt added to sweet foods, I do think it's an overused ingredient).

I'm still not entirely convinced about the peanut butter. It adds a nice peanutty flavour, but it's quite dry in the mouth. Weird how something so liquid and gooey can nevertheless taste dry. And again, it's salty.

Overall, I did rather enjoy eating my experiment! I think it could still stand to be both sweeter and moister, though.