I’ve now made the same cake three times in the last three days. Well, that’s not totally true. I have made three cakes, but I made two on Thursday night and only one today. Baking these cakes were by far the most satisfying things I did all week. I’ve been working a lot, and have been spending much of days with my head buzzing, trying to keep documents straight and my boss from imploding. I’ve gotten home most nights at 7:30 or 8:00 ready for dinner and a little televisionary oblivion. But the baking let me relax in a whole other way and until I did it, I didn’t realize how much I needed it. I was able to release the part of my brain that the computer required all week long, and allow a quieter element of myself to take over.
This happens to me often when I cook. Standing in my kitchen, I can focus on chopping, stewing, sauteeing or braising, my focus complete on the activities that are taking place on the stove, the cutting board to my right or in the oven. I really enjoy the space my awareness retreats to during the preparation of food. These cakes helped me remember how deeply pleasing baking (and then serving the results to an appreciative audience) can be.
This is the recipe for the cake I made. I got it here and he said he got it from the Gourmet Cookbook (oh how I long to own that big, yellow cookbook of goodness. Someday). Of course, he didn’t put alcohol in his, but I’m always on the lookout to find ways to use up the enormous bottles of Frangelico I inherited from my grandparents, so in it went.
8 ounces of semi-sweet chocolate (although I used a little more, I get the big hunks of the Ghiradelli stuff at Trader Joe’s)
2 sticks of butter
Melt those two ingredients in a double boiler (I just used a metal mixing bowl over a saucepot with some water in it).
When it’s all melted, take it off the heat and add 1 1/2 cups of sugar and whisk well.
Then add six eggs, one at a time, taking time to really beat each one in.
After the eggs are all incorporated, sift in a cup of cocoa powder and whisk some more.
At this point you can add a little booze if you’d like. I put in about 1/4 cup of Frangelico, but there are lots of things that would be good, or you can skip that step all together.
Pour batter into a buttered springform pan, that has the bottom lined with parchment paper. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes. What I do is check it at 35 minutes with a toothpick, to see how it’s doing. I also give it a half turn in my oven after about 20 or 25 minutes, because it heats really unevenly.
When it’s done, take it out of the oven and let it sit for about ten minutes in the pan. When it’s cool enough to handle a bit, remove the springform pan sides, place a plate on the top of the cake, and invert the plate and the bottom of the pan, so that the cake is now sitting on the plate, with it’s lined side up in the air.
Let cool. It’s best to let it cool completely, but if you can’t, it’s not bad warm. The center will sink a great deal during cooling, don’t freak out.
Serve frosted with whipped cream or slightly sweetened, whipped creme fraiche (if you put either of these on while the cake is still warm, they will melt. I learned that the hard way).
Caramel sauce or raspberry sauce also make it even better. Raspberry sauce is incredibly easy, just puree defrosted frozen raspberries in a food processor or blender with some sugar (how much is really up to you). Put the whole mixture in a fine mesh strainer over a bowl and work at it with a spoon to push all the sauce out and keep it seed free. Three frozen bags of berries from Trader Joe’s and 1/2 a cup of sugar will make about a quart of sauce
Caramel sauce requires more work, and the amount of butter and heavy cream required might my make my mother’s head (or arteries) explode, so I just say that there are plenty of recipes for the stuff out there, or you can buy it premade. I used the recipe in the most recent edition of The Joy of Cooking.
It is so good.