Friday, January 25, 2008

chocolate cake: a story of redemption

First of all, let me say that I am not a baker. All of the intuition I have about cooking completely flies out the window when yeast, flour, sugar and eggs are on the ingredients list. I am not afraid to bake, but slightly confused by it (butter, room temperature or chilled??) and often disappointed with my results.
My biggest cooking disaster, so far, involved a chocolate cake I made for Jove's birthday party last summer. It was a ladybug cake and the red frosting that I made myself was disgusting (how was I supposed to know that large amounts of Wilton's red food coloring would "distort" the flavor to the point of inedibility??). Children were spitting out the frosting. It reminded me of the puking scene from Stand by Me, maybe slightly less dramatic, but still pretty embarrassing. I will include a picture of how cute the cake was before anyone actually tasted it to make myself feel better.

So, last Monday, I braved my chocolate cake fears and the results were quite extraordinary. My mother-in-law's birthday was last Monday (as was Martin Luther King Jr's) and I made her dinner and dessert to celebrate. I found a recipe for a flour-less chocolate cake on and it was so easy and yummy that I feel like the red frosting incident is the distant past and I can now make dessert for people that they will want to eat.

The cake is uber-rich, chocolatey and so full of saturated fat that I recommend only making it when there will be enough people around to eat it or you may have a chocolate induced heart attack. I put a raspberry sauce and fresh raspberries on top to finish it, but the possible variations are endless. The original recipe called for a caramel sauce, but I thought that might be a bit cloying.

So here goes,

my chocolate cake redemption recipe

  • 1 cup butter, cubed (2 sticks)
  • 8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup raspberry jam
  • Water to thin jam
  • 1 pint fresh raspberries (do not wash)
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F . Butter the bottom of a 10 inch springform pan, and line with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Stir in chocolate, and continue to stir until almost melted. Remove from heat, and stir until melted and smooth. In a large bowl, stir together 1 1/4 cups sugar and the cocoa powder. Whisk in the eggs until well blended, then whisk in the chocolate and butter. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
  3. Bake for about 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a knife or toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool cake in the pan over a wire rack. Run a knife around the sides of the pan to loosen the cake, then remove the sides of the pan, and invert onto a serving plate. Remove the parchment paper.
  4. Place the jam in a small sauce pan and heat and add water until the consistency will allow it to be easily spread without creating lumps.
  5. Spread the jam evenly on the top of the cake and top with fresh raspberries.
The cake platter pictured above was my wedding gift from my great aunt who lives in West Virginia. There is a glass making factory near where my father's parents grew up and they are known for their iridescent glass. At the time, I thought I wouldn't have much use for a cake platter, but I really love it and I always think of my family in West Virginia when I use it.


sunnywave said...

oooh carmen, you totally cracked me up with this post. the barf-o-rama was most likely very unpleasant when it happened, but boy did you make me giggle with the way you described it!!! (oh i hope i'm not giving myself bacci for some future birthday party of squirrel's...) glad chocolate cake number 2 worked out so well!!! yum!! xoxoxo

Nanimal said...

OK, 1st I love that you used the word cloying - one of my faves... and second isn't it funny what happens when you grow up? chris and I got a glass cake display thing when we got married (it was Chris great aunt's - or somehting like thaT - the famial memories are chris') and the first thing I though was - that is going to take up a lof of room in the cupboard. Turns out I love it and the fact that it is family related.