From the "mix-and-dump" variety to the exquisitely layered and filled Marjolaine, Michele Urvater's Chocolate Cake makes sure that no matter how much time you have or your level of kitchen experience--whether you prefer sweet to bitter chocolate, whether you're looking for something fancy to impress or something easy to make someone happy--you will find a chocolate cake to fit the bill in this book.
Urvater has both studied and taught the culinary arts, and readers reap the benefits of her knowledge. She begins with a clear and informative chapter on ingredients, one on baking equipment, and one on techniques, and then organizes the recipes from simple to most complex. Because they are all chocolate cakes, chapters are divided by technique. Plain and Easy Batter Cakes include easy favorites like the Classic Brownie, with its crispy crunchy top protecting a moist and chewy interior, and a Chocolate Pudding Cake, a soufflé-like cake on top of a custardy layer--heavenly when warm from the oven. A short chapter on cheesecakes gets creative with smooth and silky creations such as the Berry White Chocolate Cheesecake. Butter and Shortened Cakes start with the Dependable Chocolate Pound Cake with numerous variations, and move on to the most delectable, delicious, and easy-to-make Chocolate Banana Tea Cake. Rich and moist, studded with chocolate chips, nuts, and dried fruit, it is with great pleasure that we read that it's "fabulous for breakfast." Urvater continues to tempt with foam cakes, biscuit cakes, individual cakes, flourless cakes, and icings, and then explains a number of fancy decorative techniques like Caramel Shards and Meringue Mushrooms.
Even though everything is chocolate, the varieties are endless. With 150 recipes for desserts like Streusel-Woven Chocolate Coffee Cake, Minted Chocolate Cake, White Chocolate Flourless Cake with Lemon, and the Gianduja (an aromatic hazelnut praline and chocolate "creamy concoction"), no chocolate lover should be without this delectably chocolate volume. --Leora Y. Bloom [via]