I violated a basic rule.
Never try a new recipe on anyone but yourself or your family.
I almost went out and bought a mix. By the time I remembered tonight that I promised to make a cake for a coworker’s birthday tomorrow, there was not enough time to make either my chocolate cheesecake or my Uber-rich chocolate celebration cake. I was tempted to try a mix. Just do it and get it out of the way.
But Jan’s a long time friend and she’s made cakes for me in the past, so I figured the occasion called for more than a mix. El Scratcho Cake-o. So I tried this new recipe for Old Fashioned Chocolate Cake from one of my wife’s “trade magazines” like Good Housekeeping or some such.
Anyway the cake turned out drier than I had wanted. Probably tastes perfectly fine, but I had envisioned something gooey and decadent. Something that would make folks say “Ohmigod” as they clamored for a glass of milk. This is not omigod cake. This is sensible cake. At least the dark chocolate sour cream frosting is good.
As I was frosting the cake, I realized my mistake. I probably overcooked the cake because the toothpick kept coming out brown. So i mistakenly thought it needed more time. What I forgot — a lesson I had learned the hard way on previous cakes and apparently forgot — is that the toothpick will not come out clean if you have chocolate chips or bits in the batter. Damn.
I failed to refactor the chocolate chip toothpick test trap into my cake making knowledge base. Fool me twice, shame on me.