Hey, remember how much I hated that focaccia two weeks ago? I really thought there was no way I could hate a recipe more than that one. I didn’t like the outcome either, which only made the whole thing even more annoying. I was convinced that there was no way I was going to find anything in the Baking with Julia book that I disliked more than that focaccia.

Guess what?

I hated this boca negra more.

It started off on a bad foot – namely, 24 ounces of chocolate (half white and half semi-sweet) that needed to be chopped. I hate chopping chocolate. It’s messy, it’s time-consuming, and it can be so frustrating. I hate it. I should have just used chocolate chips, but no, I had to have the baking bars. Silly me.

A mountain of white chocolate.

The 12 ounces of white chocolate got all blended together with some heavy cream and bourbon. Then it went into the fridge to chill overnight (and by overnight, I mean about five days, because I really dragged my feet about making this thing). This white chocolate cream was the easy part. Everything went kinda downhill from here.

For one thing, I had another 12 ounces of chocolate to chop. As it turned out, that was the easy part.

Semi-sweet chocolate, eggs, sugar, butter, flour, and bourbon. A recipe for ultimate decadence?

Semi-sweet chocolate, eggs, sugar, butter, flour, and bourbon. A recipe for ultimate decadence?

Sugar and more bourbon are heated on the stove until the sugar melts and everything comes to a boil. Then that’s poured over the chocolate to melt it. Then two sticks of butter are slowly added and stirred in, a process which took a lot of help from Geordie to get accomplished. Then five eggs are whisked with sugar and then whisked into the chocolate mixture. Finally, a bit of flour is gently mixed in.

All of that could be done in a mixer, but I was concerned that my little food processor wouldn’t be able to handle it all. I didn’t want to put too much of a strain on it.

At this point, the batter is supposed to go into a 9″ cake pan, which is itself put into a roasting pan and given a water bath (which means that the roasting pan is filled with water). And I discovered that I have no 9″ cake pans. In fact, I don’t have any non-springform cake pans. I’m not sure how this happened. All I knew was that my boca negra was now doomed to failure, because all I could do was pour it into an 8×4 loaf pan, stick that in an 11×7 baking dish, and put it in the oven. I would not be able to bake it “exactly 30 minutes,” as the book instructed. That would give me boca negra soup.

I’ve found that this book is awful definite about baking times when it shouldn’t be. For example, the brownies were to be cooked at an exact time, or run the risk of over-baking them! At the exact time, they were not over-baked for me. Au contraire, they were terribly under-baked. I feel like this book doesn’t allow much leeway. It doesn’t suggest following your instincts. It wants you to listen to the experts.

Oh, well. I left the boca negra in the oven an extra thirty minutes, at which point I had to take it out so I could bake the bread for dinner, a far better and more important use of my time and my oven. I did not immediately remove the cake from the loaf pan, because I knew I would have a mess on my hands, and I had no intention of dealing with it mere minutes before I started dinner.

I cut into it after dinner and was met with what I expected: a custardy mess of chocolate that smelled strongly of bourbon. The sides had cooked well enough to be eaten, so I served Geordie and me pieces of it topped with some of the white chocolate bourbon cream.

A scrap of boca negra with a spoonful of white chocolate & bourbon cream.

A scrap of boca negra with a spoonful of white chocolate & bourbon cream.

No, it was not good. Even if it had been cooked properly, I wouldn’t have liked it. Too much chocolate, too much bourbon, too much richness. It didn’t seem sinful or decadent to me, it just seemed disgusting. Geordie liked the taste of it and the richness of it, and he did not feel that the bourbon was overpowering. In short, he felt the absolute opposite of what I felt. Mainly what I feel is that this is a terrible waste. Not only is the cake itself going to go uneaten, I have no idea what to do with the white chocolate cream. I didn’t even like that. It was way, way too boozy, and I’m no teetotaler.

Chocolate and booze. I’ve never had a problem with the combination before. But this? Nope. Never again.

Apparently, this monstrosity is called a boca negra because a single bite of it will leave you with a black mouth from all that dark chocolate. This is true. Eat too much of it, and it could also easily leave you with a hangover.

February’s Tuesdays with Dorie assignments have not been good for me. I’m developing serious doubts about this book. Some of the more basic stuff, I have loved (the pie crust, the pizza dough), but some of it has been absolutely terrible for me. I’m giving it another month, and if things don’t get better, I’m going to become a lot more selective about what I make. This wasn’t just a failure for me, it was a waste of money, resources, and time. I’d like to avoid that happening again.

I may be in the minority again this week. Plenty of the other bakers made pretty cakes and enjoyed them muchly – you can visit their links and see for yourself. Our hostess, Cathy of A Frederick Food Garden, produced a particularly lovely cake.

Happy baking.

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