Sunday 30 November 2014

Sourdough chocolate cake and weekend eating

It has been an interesting weekend of politics, craft and eating out.  I made this chocolate sourdough cake last week.  It was lovely but the cake was huge.  Life has been so busy over the last few days that the cake has been relegated to the freezer while we have been enjoying markets and election sausage sizzles and balmy spring evenings by the beach.

The King Arthur Flour chocolate sourdough cake recipe has been in my bookmarks for a while.  It seemed a good way to use my sourdough starter when the freezer is full of home made sourdough bread and a few bagels from the farmers market.

The recipe is slightly different from the sourdough tea cake I tried a few months back.  That recipe had me stir the starter into the cake batter like a regular cake.  The chocolate cake required that I leave the starter, milk and flour to it for a few hours before putting together the rest of the cake.  I didn't see much change in that mixture and wasn't sure how much it contributed to the cake.  I also found this mixture to be really stiff to stir into the cake batter.  You can see above that the batter actually sat in the tin like a blob rather than spreading out of its own accord.

Other than needing to use my starter, this cake was a great way to use up the chocolate frosting and choc chips leftover from the owl cake.  I reduced the sugar in the cake by a third, after a batch of particularly sweet brownies recently.  It also made sense given that my frosting lacked the bitter edge of the espresso frosting in the original recipe.

You can see that the starter mixture wasn't completely mixed into the rest of the ingredients.  There was an occasional chewy patch but nothing unpleasant.  However I did see someone making a sourdough cake and mixing it in the food processor.  Maybe I will try this next time.  Or maybe I just need to focus on the cake rather than racing around trying to make it while cooking pasta for dinner.

Meanwhile here are some of the other foods we have been eating.  Above is the poutine burger from Lord of the Fries that I had in the city on Friday.  It is a special offer at the moment.  I could not resist when I saw it.  It just seemed a crazy burger - veg burger patty, vegan bacon (more like pink processed meat), cheese, gravy, garlic aioli and chips.

Now I have never had poutine and possibly never will so I was curious.  I think a mini burger with chips would have been enough for me.  I love Lord of the Fries and recently discovered I love their patty but the vegan bacon was not my sort of thing and my burger didn't have enough chips.  But I was glad I had it once.

We also went to Coburg Night Market which started on Friday.  It was a great night out and I am hoping to return there and write more about it here.  You can also read about last year's visit to the Coburg Night Market.  I shared some curries (pictured) and dosa at the Indian stall that had a sign saying vegetarian and vegan.  I also shared a potato twister with Sylvia and had my own peanut butter and nutella ice cream.

Then we rushed home and I made grubs for a school cake stall while watching John Carter (a sci fit movie that was interesting though I am not sure E appreciated my blow by blow feminist analysis).  I have raved about grubs before - full of my favourite things - condensed milk, cocoa and coconut.  I did sample one or two while I was rolling them into little balls.  Apparently it is not just me who love them.  I made two batches and they were gone by lunchtime. 

The cake stall was held as one of the stalls that Sylvia's school held as part of the State Election activities yesterday.  It seems there are heaps of sausage sizzles and cake stalls because lots of schools are used for voting.  (Quite a few friends with kids at different schools also had stalls of their own.)  I helped with badge making and craft activities.  It was warm enough that we were very grateful for the shade of this huge tree in the school yard.  I was also grateful for a really well cooked vegie burger too.

We were at the election stalls all morning and then in the afternoon we headed over to Albert Park to the Plum Garland Memorial Playground.  It has changed quite a bit since previous visits.   We met up with our friends Chris and Yav and their little girl.  Sylvia had a lovely time in the park but most unexpected was how much the girls loved this penny farthing bike hoop.

It was just heaven to be at the beach on a warm evening.  The obvious dinner option was fish and chips.  We went to Mussels.  I had chips, potato cake, corn jack and a huge pumpkin fritter.  It was nice, though I don't think the food was quite as good as our last visit.  However it was good enough to make for a very pleasant dinner sitting outside overlooking palm trees and enjoying catching up with friends.

Then we hopped in the car and drove home listening to the election broadcast on the radio while Sylvia sang Jingle Bells in the backseat.  Today we have a new state government in Victoria, while at home, the advent calendar is out and we had haggis and mole wraps for dinner to remember St Andrews Day. We ended the day with E climbing over the back fence to help a neighbour get into his house after locking himself out.  Interesting days indeed!

I am also sending this cake to Susan of Wild Yeast for YeastSpotting, the regular round up of all things yeasty online.I am sending yeast spotting.  I am also sending it to Manjirichitnis at Sliceoffme for No Waste Food Challenge that is overseen by Elizabeth's Kitchen.

Previously on Green Gourmet Giraffe:
One year ago: Baked potato with haggis for St Andrews Day
Two years ago: Dublin sightseeing and other places
Three years ago: GF Donna Hay Brownies
Four years ago: Leonard Cohen, rice salad and the great outdoors
Five years ago: Mexican Lasagne and our Jetset Baby
Six years ago: NCR Pumpkin and Tofu Laksa
Seven years ago: Swinging Pancakes

Sourdough chocolate cake
Adapted from King Arthur Flour

1 cup "fed" 100% hydration sourdough starter
1 cup milk (I used soy)
1 cup plain white flour
1 cup plain wholemeal flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup rice bran oil, or other neutral oil
3/4 cup cocoa (not Dutch)
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda (baking soda)
1 tsp ground wattleseed, optional
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
2 eggs
3/4 cups of dark choc chips
Chocolate frosting

Mix sourdough starter, milk and flours.  Cover with teatowel and leave for 2 to 3 hours.

Preheat oven to 180 C (350 F).  Grease and line a swiss roll tin (9 x 13 inch).

In a separate bowl mix sugar, oil, cocoa, bicarb, wattleseed, vanilla and salt.  Stir in the eggs.  Pour chocolate mixture into the sourdough mixture and stir in well.  (My mixture was quite stiff and hard to stir.) 

Tip mixture into prepared tin and spread  out evenly.  Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.  Cool in the tin and then turn out and cover with frosting.

On the Stereo:
Franz Ferdinand (self titled album)


  1. What a busy weekend. I love the look of your chocolate cake - how lovely it has wattleseed. Sounds like with Sylvia singing 'Jingle Bells' and all the decorations, you're very ready for Christmas xx

    1. Thanks Charlie - it is beginning to feel like christmas is coming - just wish I felt more organised. I tend to use wattleseed as I don't like coffee and wattleseed adds some richness and bitterness that I think is as close as I can get to coffee

  2. You're lucky you could get a vegie burger on election day. I realised that I didn't even bother checking the menu this year, but in the past, ours has only had sausages, bacon and eggs. Not very vegan, sadly. I really could have gone a vegie burger.

    Are those grubs like truffles? I love that kind of thing and was very relieved when I discovered condensed soy milk, so we could keep eating them. I'm not surprised yours went so quickly.

    1. Thanks Linda - yes they are the same as truffles - we have always called them grubs in my family - not sure why.

      I didn't plan to get a vegie burger - I get a bit annoyed at another place we got that never cooks the sausages to be brown - they just warm them - but when I was checking if there was anything Sylvia would eat (there wasn't she will only eat the veg sausages but I had some snacks for her) I saw how nicely browned the vegie burger was I could see it had my name on it :-)

  3. I love the idea of this. Bet it added a lovely rich flavour to the cake.

    1. Thanks Katie - not sure I noticed the sourdough flavour - I was just looking for ways to use my starter but it was a very good cake.

  4. ive never heard of sourdough cakes but definitely intrigued! And looks like a fun weekend

    1. Thanks House in T - it was a good way to use up some starter but didn't last too long (hence it went in the freezer after a couple of days) - sourdough bread often lasts well so I had expected the cake might too

  5. Your pictures look really summery Johanna! It sounds like there have been lots of enjoyable festivities and community events, and I have been delighted with your political outcomes. This cake sounds wonderful too and has me very intrigued...sadly, I still am so far behind the sourdough craze that I think I have given up on the idea of ever joining in!

    1. Thanks Kari - the political outcomes are hopeful - hope they can follow through - and I don't think it is a sourdough craze that comes and goes - there will always be sourdough (well there has been for 100s of years) so when you are ready I am sure you will embrace it

  6. I've never actually tasted a sourdough cake, but I've heard good things about them! This sounds like a great way to use up that starter.

    1. Thanks Joanne - it was a good alternative use for the starter when we had enough bread in the freezer that I didn't need to bake bread - and the cake was yummy

  7. How interesting! My husband and I are bread bakers, and just the other day he said I wonder if you could make a cake with sourdough starter? I said I didn't think it would work, but here one is! Also, what on earth is wattleseed??

    1. Thanks Dar - I don't like coffee so I tend to use wattleseed instead - it is a dark slightly bitter seed that is native to Australia. Glad to clear up the question for you of if you can make cake with sourdough starter - I have also used starter in pancakes and flatbread - I even saw someone use it for onion ring batter. The sky is the limit!

  8. What a delicious cake. It looks so moist and scrumptious. I am very envious of your warm weather..... it is freezing in the UK right now!!!!

  9. I missed this recipe on the KAF's website, so thank you for bringing it to my attention: it looks great. I'll definitely try.
    Under the gray, dripping California sky, it is nice to see some blue sky. Enjoy your summer!

  10. Still looks awesome even if it wasn't mixed in completely! :-)


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