Friday, July 22, 2005

Hey! Let's have some cake!

In honor of my friends visit I made a cake yesterday for dinner. As y’all know now any excuse for a cake is a good excuse.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

I wasn’t particularly motivated so I did not decorate it. Instead we enjoyed it with dollops of fresh, homemade, vanilla flavored whipped cream. Here is a fancy version I sent to school for teacher appreciation day last year.

Originally uploaded by Teckelcar.

It is a very rich chocolate tort type cake. The cake is like a very dense brownie with a very intense chocolate flavor. Last night’s version was not quite as dense, but that may be due to the fact that it made only been chilled for four hours. Ideally it should rest for twenty four hours before serving. This allows the cake to settle and the flavors to mingle and intensify. Mind you it didn’t stop us from eating half the cake.

I found the recipe in Parents magazine, the December 1997 issue. Parenthetical comments are my modifications on the original recipe. This is a flourless cake and is nice to have at Passover or for friends who are allergic to wheat.

Chocolate Decadence

1 Tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
10 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
¼ cup water
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature, cut into 16 pieces, divided
1 cup sugar, divided
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 eggs, separated, at room temperature

1. Heat oven to 300. Line bottom of 9 inch springform pan with foil, grease with nonstick cooking spray, and lightly dust with cocoa powder; set aside. (I use parchment paper instead of foil.)
2. In a heavy saucepan over low heat, melt semisweet and unsweetened chocolate with water, stirring occasionally with rubber spatula. Gradually add half the butter, stirring until each piece is incorporated. (You can also melt the chocolate with the water in a microwave. Use a large microwave safe bowl. Once it is half melted I take it out and stir. The rest quickly melts. I then add the butter.)
3. Add ¾ cup sugar; continue cooking on low until sugar is completely dissolved and no longer granular, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add the remaining butter, 1 piece at a time. Add vanilla and whisk in egg yolks one at a time. Mixture will be smooth. Transfer chocolate mixture to a large bowl; set aside. (Again a microwave can be used. Doing one minute pulses, stirring in between, dissolve the sugar.)
4. In another large bowl, with electric mixer on medium, beat egg whites until soft peaks form. Gradually add remaining ¼ cup sugar, beating on medium–high until stiff peaks form.
5. With rubber spatula, stir about 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture to lighten it slightly. Fold in remaining whites until mixture is smooth and even in color. Pour batter into prepared cake pan.
6. Bake 1 hour. Reduce temperature to 250 and bake an additional 15 minutes. Cool cake in pan on wire rack. When cake reaches room temperature, release sides of pan. Invert cake onto rack. Lift off bottom part of pan. Carefully peel foil (parchment paper) off cake. Invert cake again onto serving plate.
7. Cover cake with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator 2 hours before serving. If desired, you may serve cake with unsweetened vanilla whipped cream. (Fresh fruit is also a nice addition.)

This cake consistently turns out well and freezes easily. I have been able to transport it in a cooler to a friend’s house during a long road trip. I triple wrapped it in plastic and tightly packed it in the cooler. It looked great and tasted marvelous.

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