Thursday, April 17, 2008

"Favorite Torte and Cake Recipes" - Chocolate Malt Cake with Fluffy Marshmallow Frosting

Date I made this recipe: April 15, 2008

Favorite Torte and Cake Recipes by Rose Oller Harbaugh and Mary Adams
Published by: Simon and Schuster
© 1951
Recipe: Chocolate Malt Cake – p. 73 and Fluffy Marshmallow Frosting – p. 141

Well folks, it has been a while since I made a recipe that I thought was somewhat of a clunker but I guess I was overdue.

Today’s recipe was disappointing on many levels. Let’s start with the cake.

Now, it could be me, but I thought a chocolate malt cake would be moist and flavorful but instead it was rather dry. The ingredients all seemed spot on—butter, melted chocolate, sugar, eggs, milk and chocolate malt but the end result didn’t reflect the richness of these items.

Then there was the Great Frosting Debacle of 2008. Perhaps if I had used the suggested frosting (Creole Frosting, comprised of brown sugar, eggs whites and cream of tartar), the results might have been better but no. I just had to go and try the Fluffy Marshmallow Frosting because honestly, doesn’t it sound like it should automatically go with Chocolate Malt Cake? Is there anything better than marshmallows and chocolate (other than Smores?!)

So I made the fluffy frosting and it was fluffy all right but it, too, lacked a certain je ne c’est quoi. Perhaps the word I’m looking for is “flavor?”

The other problem with the fluffy marshmallow frosting was, quite frankly, the marshmallows. The recipe said to chop marshmallows into small pieces. Hellooo? Ever tried doing that? It’s like herding cats. Marshmallows don’t chop well as they stick to the knife and so the whole exercise became one, big train wreck. As I was trying to chop said marshmallows, I kept thinking this would be so much easier with miniature marshmallows but then again, this cookbook was published in 1951 and marshmallows, according to Wikipedia, were not developed until the 60’s. So there it is.

Any who…after much ado about chopping, I got this recipe off the ground but the end result still wasn’t very pretty and let me just say that it did not do wonders when put on the cake, either. It was pretty gloppy, almost rude-looking and there was no way I could (or dared) spread it on the side of the cake because it was too heavy to be anywhere except on top and in the middle. The other thing you need to know is that this frosting is fluffy in exactly the same way that meringue is fluffy and that was most disappointing to me as I was expecting fluffy as in Marshmallow Cream fluffy! Although I didn’t fall into a deep depression over this, neither was I a happy camper after all was said and done.

So it’s a good thing that my husband, for whom I made this cake, doesn’t have the same high expectations that I do. Although he too, thinks that the cake is on the dry side, he has chowed down at least half of the cake so far whereas I can hardly look at the poor, pathetic thing. It sits on the counter just mocking me and so I hope he polishes off the other half soon so that I can select my next recipe and prepare to recover from the Great Frosting Debacle of 2008!

Chocolate Malt Cake
2 cups flour
¼ teaspoon soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 square unsweetened chocolate
½ cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup milk
¼ cup chocolate malt

Sift dry ingredients 3 times. Melt chocolate over hot water. Cream butter, sugar, and eggs thoroughly until light and fluffy; add melted chocolate.

Add sifted dry ingredients alternately with milk and malt; blend well.

Bake in 2 9-inch well-buttered layer-cake pans, 20 to 25 minutes in a 350 oven.

Fluffy Marshmallow Frosting
½ pounds fresh marshmallows (use Miniature Marshmallows—you will thank me later)
1 square unsweetened chocolate
2 cups sugar
¼ cup hot water
4 egg whites
1 teaspoon vanilla

Chop marshmallows in small pieces. Melt chocolate with a few drops of water. (I’m not sure if this was a misprint or not. I melted the chocolate over a double boiler and I don’t think it made much of a difference but then again, I could be wrong!)

Boil sugar and hot water until it spins a thread, about 238 on the sugar thermometer. Then pour slowly in a thin stream on stiffly beaten egg whites, beating constantly. Add melted chocolate and continue beating.

When almost cool, add chopped marshmallows and vanilla. Beat well. (Note: I am no home economist or even a baker of any sort, but what I wanted was for the marshmallows to melt and get all gooey and obviously, adding the marshmallows to the mixture when it was almost cool did not allow for that to happen. Please let me know if any of you try adding them while the mixture is still somewhat hot. I’m hoping for the next best thing to Marshmallow Whip!)

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