This week, the Tuesdays with Dorie recipe chosen (by Nikki of Crazy Delicious) was Almost-Fudge Gâteau. Basically, it's a dense bittersweet chocolate cake with an optional glaze on top.
I've had a bit of problems with the recipes out of Dorie's book for things that use leavening, and some internet digging convinced me that it was the altitude wreaking havoc. I'm at 6000+ feet here in Colorado and apparently, you have to modify recipes when you're at that altitude. Who knew? (I'm being sarcastic. The altitude doesn't really affect box mixes that much - use a larger egg and the higher temp for the pan and you're usually all right. I was crediting my lack of baking skill for my problems more than the altitude....)
The sites I could find on the subject all agreed that the first thing to try when baking was to increase the temperature and decrease the bake time. In addition, for cakes with egg white leavening, only beat to soft peaks to keep them from drying out.
Even though I still had some minor problems, the high altitude modifications seem to have really helped the texture. The gâteau came out dense and moist without the large/tough crumb problem I had with the Black and White Chocolate Cake.
Lessons learned: I should have listened to my instincts and taken the cake out a few minutes before I did, because the edges were a little on the dry side. I didn't notice it on Saturday when I baked and first served the cake, but when I brought the remains to work on Monday, it had dried up noticeably. In addition, I used a mix of 70% cocoa and 60% cocoa, and woooo man was it bittersweet! Both of those are user-error, and easy to fix for the next time around.
Conclusion: This thing is beautiful! With the bittersweet chocolate, it almost seems like you have to be a chocoholic. Except that one of the taste-testers (I may have to get them t-shirts) is not a big chocolate fan, and he almost licked the plate clean. Next time, I'd either cut the bittersweet with semisweet, or serve it with something to cut the chocolate (possibly a raspberry glaze?). It's everything I like in a recipe: easy, tasty, and with a small bit of work, looks like an elegant dessert that took way longer than it really did.
High Altitude Recipe Modifications: higher baking temp (375F) for less time (28-32minutes), beat egg whites only until soft peaks form.
For the full recipe, see Nikki's post. Please visit the other TWD bakers to see how they did with the Almost-Fudge Gâteau!