vrijdag 23 november 2007
Chocolate makes you happy!
This week we got a call from or realtor, telling us we might have sold our home. That's right, MIGHT. We know for sure in about 3 weeks, but this time things might actually work out. I was in denial for three days, determined to not let this get to me, as the last time we heard a message like this, it ended up not being true after all, and I didn't enjoy that rollercoaster ride much.
But all of the sudden, it hit me that *if* this time it's for real, I have a heck of a lot of work to do. And probably months and months ahead of me in a rental house without an oven. So yes, I did start to pack a little (how many baking related things can a person have??), but I'm also determined to make the most of the time I have left with my treasured oven :o).
As Marco has to work again Saturday morning, I decided he and his collegues needed a real pick-me-up and I went all out with a decadent chocolate cake.
The recipe for the chocolate cake was recommended by Heather (and I trust every word she sais after that awesome shortbread recipe), and the frosting came highly praised by Marie Louise. The frosting, together with a cake that resembles the one I tried, can be found at the Scharffenberger website. I'll post it here as well:
That Chocolate Cake
This recipe is from the book The Essence of Chocolate, Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate (Hyperion, 2006), the story of Scharffen Berger chocolate. The introductory notes say, “If you could only have one recipe for chocolate cake, this would be the one.” With a recommendation like that, how could we not share it with you?
Unsalted butter and flour for pans
2 cups granulated sugar
1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
¾ cup Scharffen Berger unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup canola oil
1 cup whole milk
1 cup boiling water
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup heavy cream
5 ounces Scharffen Berger 99% Cacao Unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch pieces
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
For the Cake:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter the bottom of two 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom with parchment paper, then butter and flour the parchment and the sides of the pans.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine the sugar, flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder, and baking soda, mixing on low speed. Min in the eggs, oil, and milk.
Increase the speed to medium and beat for 2 minutes. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the water. The batter will be soupy.
Divide the batter evenly between the cake pans. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and cool on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, then turn the layers out onto the rack and cool completely.
When the cakes have cooled, check the frosting. It should have the consistency of mayonnaise. If it is still too thin, allow it to cool longer.
For the Frosting:
In a small saucepan, combine the sugar and cream and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce the heat and simmer for 6 minutes. Add the chocolate and butter and stir until melted. Pour into a bowl and stir in the vanilla.
To Frost the Cake:
Place one cake layer on a serving plate. Spread the frosting with a hot palette knife or icing spatula to give the frosting a beautiful shine. Run the knife under hot tap water and dry with a towel. Spread about ¾ cup of the frosting over the top of the first layer. Top with the second layer. Spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides of the cake, heating the knife again as necessary.
Serves 8 to 10
Doesn't the name alone make you want to run into the kitchen and try it? Anyway, I lucked out and found Lindt unsweetened chocolate while doing some grocery shopping this morning, and that pretty much sold the deal. I was a little suspicious (I seem to be suspicious often when baking, LOL!) of the cup of boiling water that needed to be added, as well as the 2 1/2 cups of sugar my recipe called for, but I always make a recipe as written the first time I try it. The cakes baked up beautifully, in spite of my inferior 9' cake pans. I can't believe that I have a zillion pans, and do not own a decent 9' cake pan, but I digress. I made the frosting, and was suspicious again, as it looked somewhat soupy. But after an hour or so, it had a nice consistency, and I used it to frost the cake. I spread beautifully into a shiny, smooth layer, and the smell of the cake and the chocolate frosting is just intoxicating. I thought it looked a little naked with just the frosting, so I sprinkled it with chocolate curls, and the result is pretty impressive, if I do say so myself. So I suspect that even if they have to work on the weekend, some people will be pretty happy tomorrow. And so am I, now that I'm smelling of chocolate myself, after what might be one of my last rendez-vous with my oven :o).