Note: Photos will be added, but they don’t seem to want to upload at this point, and I want to get this out…
Saturday September 12th marked the 4th Annual Real Estate Brothers BBQ Competition. Last year I tested a little something out since I knew I’d have time to finish my ACTUAL competition entry (we have 3 hours to cook). So…I BAKED A CAKE!!! It turned out REALLY well. So this year, I decided to go for it AS the entry! I did it a little different, since last year it was a test, and as a gift to my fellow competitors after the event. This year, as opposed to just a chocolate cake with frosting, I added maple (a BBQ favourite) and a “BBQ Sauce” as opposed to chocolate frosting. By BBQ Sauce, I just mean frosting that looks like it…it’s really just coloured frosting that’s a little bit thinner than regular frosting, so it flows like BBQ sauce.
I ALSO added another element to it, which was actually needed! I did two versions. One set was just a regular chocolate cake. The other was both gluten-free AND vegan (and we had at least one person with a gluten allergy). She LOVED the cake, and took a picture of the recipe so she could make it at home! I also had people who sampled BOTH and couldn’t really tell the difference between the two, which was an awesome compliment! The only difference they found was the gluten-free/vegan version didn’t rise as much…but was just as moist.
A few things…
In a way, I think of myself as a version of Alton Brown (host of a few Food Network shows) in that he ‘experiments’ with things. I do too. I try to do things that work conventionally in an unconventional way. (I smoke chickens indoors…not in a smoker…and with no release of smoke. If I haven’t posted that one…I’ll do that soon…) I look at the BBQ as a HEAT SOURCE. So, here’s the tips:
1. You NEED to have control of the heat…not just the temperature itself, but WHERE the heat is coming from. While it’s likely possible that you can do it on a single burner, a dual (or in my case here) QUAD burner is the best. Create heat on one side of the grill, and cook on the other. That way, the bottom of the cake doesn’t get burnt!
2. DON’T put it right on the grill… I roll tinfoil into a tight tube, then roll two tubes together (so they don’t collapse under the weight), and put the cakes on those. This insulates it from the grill, since aluminum doesn’t heat up nearly as much as cast iron or steel grates. Basically, if you look at an oven, you have the heat at the bottom, and you put things to bake on the rack…essentially, you’re creating the rack.
3. Because you are using heat on one side, you’re essentially creating a small convection current within the BBQ. In this case, it will actually take LONGER to bake than you think. Though, the same doneness applies. The cake is done when it starts to pull away a little from the sides, and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. IMPORTANT… once that happens, place it OVER THE HEAT for 2 – 3 minutes. The cake is so moist that you actually DO need to ‘crisp’ up the bottom for a little bit so it comes out whole! If it doesn’t come out whole, what’s left is kinda like fudge…still delicious, but not what was intended. That happened today…and I’m still eating it!
4. LET IT COOL… like all cakes, you need to let it cool before cutting. Unfortunately, I misjudged my time by 15 minutes, and didn’t have time to let one set of cakes cool adequately, and they didn’t cut as well as others. The taste wasn’t affected, but presentation was… I had some ‘leftovers’ (on purpose) and took them home, those cut GREAT!
5. 120 platings in about 15 minutes is HARD! Especially for someone who ISN’T a large scale chef! AND someone working alone!
(Makes 2 10″x1 1/2″ Round cakes)
1 3/4 cups of all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa cower
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking power
1 tsp salt
Mix it well, then add:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla (or any flavoured extract you want… I used maple…because BBQ!)
1 cup water
Mix this together well, and place into 2 well greased and floured 10″x1 1/2″ pans (works well in 2 9″ x 2″ pans as well)
“Bake” in the BBQ at about 350 degrees and check for doneness at 30 minutes, it likely won’t be done… check again at 40, and every 5 – 7 minutes after that until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Then place it directly on the grill for 2 – 3 minutes, this will help the cake come out clean.
** For the gluten-free version, use a gluten free flour mix**
**For the vegan version, use an egg replacement (but add an extra tbsp of oil)**
“BBQ Sauce” Recipe
Make the frosting a little thinner by adding more milk/coconut milk
1 cup icing sugar
3 – 6 tbsp of milk
2 tbsp of maple extract
4 – 6 tbsp cocoa powder (I made this on the fly and didn’t really measure!)
Red food colouring until it looks like REAL BBQ sauce.
**For the vegan version, use coconut milk**