It’s been a while since I worked with chocolate and I sensed a craving attack coming along- so it was really best that I prepared something utterly and completely filled with the dark, sweet confection in preparation of the ‘I need chocolate!’ storm. God, I so am gonna die if/when I ever get pregnant. If my cravings so incomprehendable and sudden now, imagine what’s gonna happen when pregnancy hormones kick in. My poor kitchen…I feel sorry for it already. But for now, all I could think of was getting something chocolatey outta its bowls, spatulas and oven.
Have I become a food snob? I couldn’t think of using any other chocolate except Varlhona to satiate my by-now slightly obsessive need for the brown stuff. Though I did have a pack of partially used coverture chocolate from Phoon Huat that I really needed to finish -and I did intend to use it- when it came to measuring out the ingredients, somehow, it was the Varlhona that came out of the fridge, not the Phoon Huat. Hmmm… Me thinks me has become a bad bad girl. I’ve always hated people who get all hoity about food. But…but… the best ingredients really DO make the best food! hmph.
Argh. The rejected Phoon Huat chocolate is very hurt, I can tell. I promise I’ll use it the next time I make something. Maybe chop it up to use in cookies.
But back to my baking yesterday. I decided upon a decadent dark chocolate cake recipe from The Complete Cake Decorator. Really realy decadent. There’s not even any flour in this cake, it’s all about the chocolate, the butter, the eggs and the almonds. This is perfect alchemy. Simple, everyday ingredients. A combination so flawless, so precise that somehow, when everything’s mixed together in just the right proportions, can produce a dessert so rich and lip-smackingly good.
Bleargh. Mixing together creamed butter with almonds, chocolate and egg yolks. Not too appetizing.
All mixed in. Looking better, but still too gunky to believe this is gonna make a good cake.
Whisked egg whites, gunky chocolate mixture and melted icing. Ivory, tan and ebony. Would folding everything with one another ReaLLy produce a yummy dessert? *skeptical look*
Gasp! It worked! Somehow, someone discovered what they had to throw into the cauldron to create the magic potion. And was kind enough to publish the recipe so that lesser mortals like us could emulate their genius.
Gorgeous Dark Chocolate Cake
(makes one 8″ round cake, serves 8-10)
For the cake:
115g butter, softened
115g caster sugar (+ an additional 1/4 cup for the egg whites)
170g best quality dark chocolate, chopped
200g ground almonds
For the chocolate icing:
60g butter, chopped into cubes
80g best quality dark chocolate, chopped
half a pinch of salt
1/2 tbsp white chocolate melts, to decorate
- Seperate all four eggs carefully, making sure no shell or yolk gets into the whites. Cover with cling wrap and let whites come to room temperature, about 30-40mins.
- Meanwhile, grease and line the bottom and sides of a 8″ round cake tin with greaseproof paper. Grease the paper too.
- Melt 80g chocolate and 60g butter for icing atop a double boiler. Just before removing melted chocolate and butter from heat, sift in the salt. I know, a little unconvential to add salt to icing. But I find that a little saltiness actually brings out the nuances of the chocolate’s flavor. Try it. You’re in for a pleasant surprise, really. Just make sure you sift the salt so no really large crystals gte into the mixture and mar the texture of the icing. After stirring in the salt, set icing aside to cool.
- Preheat oven to 180 degree C.
- Melt chocolate for cake atop the double boiler and set aside to cool.
- Cream butter and 115g sugar with elelctric beaters until light and fluffy. Add melted chocolate, egg yolks and ground almonds. Stir to combine and then beat with elctric beaters until evenly blended.
- Now, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. You need to use a very very clean whisk/electric beaters for this ‘cos any grease would prevent the whites from whipping to it’s fullest volume. Sprinkle in 1/4 cup caster sugar and continue whisking until stiff peaks form when you lift the whisk/beaters up.
- Fold a bit of the whisked egg whites into the chocolate-almond mixture to loosen it up. Then carefully fold in the rest of the egg whites, till evenly blended.
- Spoon into cake tin and smooth surface. Bake for 45-50mins till a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Rest in the tin for about 15mins before turning out to cool on a wire rack.
- Once cake is completely cool, smooth over chocolate icing. If it seems too runny, place it in the fridge for about 20mins, stirring once in between, to thicken it.
- If desired, melt some white chocolate, spoon into a piping bag and pipe designs onto icing. I did some simple squiggles.
Moist and oh-so-decadent. Pure indulgence. Serve with rasberries to cut through the richness of the cake. Or not 🙂