Will It Be Sous Vide? Small Cake Jars

Hello sous-vide friend and welcome back to yet anotherWill It Sous Vide? , a weekly column where I do whatever you want with my immersion circulator.

This week’s winning theme was not chicken hearts, but cake. This is great news because the chicken hearts I ordered have not arrived yet, and besides, I really love the cakes. I’ve seen several sous-vide cake recipes on Anova’s site but couldn’t figure out what the benefit would be.

I decided to try two recipes: the funfetti, which was specially designed for sous vide cooking , and the melted chocolate cake from chef Jean-Georges . I mixed the batter, poured it into small jars (no more than half full) and placed them in a water bath set at 195 ℉.

According to their recipe, fanfetti cakes took a full three hours in the bathtub to kind of bake. Considering the fact that I was aiming for liquid kernels for the chocolate cakes, I didn’t think they would take that long, so I took them out an hour later to take a quick look.

The small cakes were shiny and firm on top, with a little condensation that drained off easily. The cake inside was porous and chocolatey, but completely unremarkable, no melted chocolate was visible. Obviously, less heat and less time was needed. (But that has to wait.)

I had a few hours to kill, so I met friends at the bar for a drink and told them that I would have to run to my apartment for a bit to get the cakes out of the water bath. They were indifferent. Two hours later, it was time to check my puffetti samples. I told the bartender that I would be back soon and jumped into the kitchen.

I pulled out the cans and removed the lids so the moisture could escape until they reached room temperature. Then I went back to the bar for another drink because I watched the cakes never get cold or something. When I returned, I ran my knife along the edge of the can and dumped each cake onto my marble slab. The little guys were heavy for their size, and the top was pretty dumb and sticky. I cut one open to check the crumbs situation.

Although the cake was quite colorful, the inside looked tight, wet and sticky. I took a careful bite.

Unfortunately, they tasted the same as they looked: sweet, heavy and a little damp. Even the sprinkles seemed saddened by their fate, as if they were bogged down under the weight of this rather heavy baking for its size.

To make sure this was actually a mistake in the method of preparation and not the recipe itself, I baked a couple of small cakes using a silicone Peeps that my mom sent me last Easter.

I cut open the rainbow-speckled chicken to see if the bake resulted in a fluffier and softer interior. Miracle of wonders: Real baked goods have improved the quality of baked goods. This cake was much fluffier, with a delicate crumb and a lighter texture.

But about the chocolate brownies. To see if the lower temperature and less time would result in pockets of good quality melted chocolate, I lowered the bath temperature to 185 ℉ and beat some more dough. After half an hour, there was still a fair amount of liquid splashing at the top of the can, so I left them there for another fifteen minutes. After just 45 minutes, I took out the tortillas and tasted them.

There was still no melted chocolate center, but the texture of the cake was somewhere between a chocolate soufflé and a pudding. It was really nice, but it wasn’t melted chocolate cake.

So now we need both ourselves (and society): Will there be a sous vide cake?

Answer: No, at least I’m not happy. While the chocolate cake was good, it was not a fucking melted chocolate lava cake and I wanted a fucking melted chocolate lava cake . This is likely because the cooking method is too flat and lacks the heat required to quickly form a baked outer crust while keeping the center hot and liquid.

The Funfetti cake was a disaster. In texture, it was one of the worst cakes I have ever eaten, and not even a spray could save it from its dense and wet reality. It also took three hours, which is absurd, to wait for the cake. So the next time you want to bake a cake, skip the sous vide and just use the oven like a normal person. ( Unless you’re making cheesecake. Cheesecake sous vide is not bad. )


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