Friday, January 28, 2011
Is it rude of me to tell you about this cake right as your January health goals are catching steam? Just as you’re hitting the gym more and contemplating that maybe celery isn’t that bad after all? Maybe. But I’m a strong believer that certain foods feed the parts of us that aren’t concerned with antioxidants, saturated fat content or dietary fiber. The foods that not only tickle our taste buds but nourish our hearts: this is one of those foods. You’re going to want to go out on several intimate dates with it, and then immediately introduce it to your extended family. It’s a keeper.
It’s also ludicrously simple. And you know I wouldn’t ever say that about a baked good unless I really meant it and had done the research. I made this cake twice in a two day period and on the second go round, I barely even had to glace at the directions. It has but five ingredients, dirties only one bowl and tastes like it ought to be served at the Ritz. You don’t even need a mixer. I used a FORK! See what I’m talking about? Cancel your match.com subscription, this is the One.
The recipe author tells a very sweet, heartfelt story in her book about how this cake got its name and how, eventually, this was the cake she made (herself!) and served at her wedding. The story is wonderful, but for me, it was the practice of putting this cake together that sold me. Normally I make a cake or a cookie recipe once, 50% of the time it’s decent and the other 50% it’s a total dud (hi, liquid pie much?) and then I never make it again. Not sure if you missed it above, but I made this TWICE in two days. It’s a big winner.
WINNING HEARTS and MINDS CAKE
From My Homemade Life, by Molly Wizenburg*
7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 ¾ sticks unsalted butter, cut into ½ inch cubes
1 cup plus 2 tbs. granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 tbs. unbleached all-purpose flour
Optional: lightly sweetened whipped cream, for serving
*Seriously, who else? Honestly at this point she might have to get a restraining order against me.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and butter an 8 inch round cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with a circle of parchment paper, and butter the paper as well. To cut the circle, simply trace your pan with a pen on the parchment and cut just slightly inside your drawn circle with scissors, trimming if necessary.
Place the chocolate and butter in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high 30 seconds at a time, stirring often to distribute the heat until just smooth. (I think, if I remember correctly, I went through about 4 or 5 30-second cycles, stirring in between each one thoroughly). When the mixture is smooth, add the sugar, stirring well to incorporate. Set the batter aside to cool for five minutes, then add the eggs one by one, stirring completely after each addition. Add the flour and stir to mix well, the batter should be smooth and silky. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the top is slightly cracked and the edges are puffed. About 25 minutes in a normal oven; however in mine it took almost 35. It’s done when the center jiggles only slightly, if at all when you give the pan a little shake.
Remove the cake to a cooling rack and let cool for 15 minutes. Carefully turn the cake out of the pan onto a plate, then placing your fingers between as a brace between, so as not to smoosh the cake in transit, place your serving plate, face down on top and then invert the plates so that the serving plate is on bottom and the cake appears now, face up on your serving plate. Dust with confectioner's sugar, like I have here; serve with lightly sweetened whipped cream or ice cream (on Christmas I served it with peppermint stick) OR eat it as I do with a tiny sprinkle of sea salt on top. Salty+Sweet=4eva. True love conquers all.