In my previous post I mentioned buying a tool that even my bread making teacher didn’t know how to use. The tool was a Danish dough whisk.
I’d bought it when pulling together my kit for ‘truly serious artisan’ bread baking. Someone, I don’t remember who (probably a self proclaimed expert) recommended it as an essential tool for sticky starters and tacky dough. I liked the science of it: heavy weight reinforced steel loops, minimum surface area, maximum stirring power. In it went with my genuine wicker bannetons and heavy duty, cast iron dutch ovens.
The bannetons and dutch ovens quickly proved themselves as essential tools in making bread. The dough whisk – not so much. It’s wide diameter was awkward to use in the jar I used for feeding my starter and my KitchenAid took care of any and all tacky dough. Still, the whisk was pretty to look at. It formed a nice bouquet of other, little used tools on my kitchen counter.
And then I found this recipe. I had been searching for good uses of sourdough discard when I stumbled upon a recipe for Sourdough Chocolate Cake. The recipe looked promising but reader comments were filled with complaints about the difficulty of combining the sponge and batter without over mixing. Cake bakers will know the pitfalls of over developing gluten in batters – it’s the exact opposite of bread. Over mixed cake batter result in leaden cakes.
The Danish dough whisk was the right tool for the task. Stronger than a regular whisk, it was capable of cutting through the semi-solid starter and quickly blending the ingredients into a uniform batter. The resulting cake was light, moist, slightly sweet and excellent with ice cream.
If you have some sourdough starter on hand, I highly recommend this cake recipe. It’s easy to pull together with a Danish dough whisk. If you don’t have a Danish whisk then a regular cake mixer will do just fine.
Sourdough Chocolate Cake
Original recipe from King Arthur Flour.
241g SD starter discard
1 tsp Salt
1 ½ tsp Baking Soda
64g Cocoa powder
2 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Espresso powder (optional)
Make the sponge by mixing the starter, milk and flour. Cover & rest for 2 – 3 hours.
Measure the dry ingredients and mix together well. Measure the oil, eggs and vanilla and whisk together. Incorporate with the cocoa sugar mixture until well blended.
Using a Danish dough whisk, mix the chocolate mixture with the rested sponge. If you don’t happen to have a dough whisk on hand, a cake mixer will do nicely.
Pour into a prepared a 9×13 pan and bake in a preheated oven at 350 – 375F for 30-40 minutes or until done.
Toronto, Canada. July 2020