I made a delicious chocolate cake yesterday. I kicked off my day by looking through cake recipes. It had been a long time since I baked a cake, and looking through those recipes, I got excited about cake again. Why had I quit baking cakes?
The cake I baked was dark and decadent and topped with a chocolate ganache that was A+ in my book. Then it fell over. Two hours before I was suppose to be at a dinner party. I remembered why I stopped baking cakes.
What to do? What to do? I considered giving my broken cake new life in the form of cake balls before another chocolate cake recipe I had bookmarked in the back of my mind surfaced. This is that cake.
I read about the cake – called Changing Hearts and Minds – in A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg. All I remembered yesterday was that she baked many of these cakes for her wedding. This was enough for me to attach “simple” and “delicious” to my memory of the recipe. It turned out to be both of those things.
I reread the chapter leading up to this recipe as I sat down to write this post. Molly writes about the cake, “It’s not something you want to serve to someone you feel so-so about.”
Although she was writing in terms of making this cake for a person she would go on to marry, I can wholeheartedly say I do not feel so-so about my friends. I am also fairly certain my friends did not feel only so-so about this cake.
So I failed a little yesterday, and then I succeeded a lot. Something to keep in mind the next time things go wrong. Enjoy!
Fondant au Chocolat (it's just a chocolate cake)
- 7 ounces quality bittersweet or dark chocolate, chopped
- 7 ounces (1 3/4 sticks) quality (high-butterfat) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
- Grease an 8-inch round cake pan and line the base with parchment paper.
- Melt the chopped chocolate with the butter in a double boiler or in the microwave (heating in 30 second increments), stirring regularly to combine.
- Add the sugar to the melted chocolate-butter mixture, stirring until well combined, and set aside to cool for about five minutes.
- Next add the eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition.
- Add the flour and stir to combine. The batter will be smooth and dark.
- Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for approximately 25 minutes. The center of the cake will look set, and the top will look shiny and crackly. The cake is done when the center jiggles only slightly, if at all.
- Allow the cake to cool in its pan for 15 minutes (the cake will deflate slightly as it cools), then carefully turn the cake out of the pan. You want the crackly side facing up, so turn the cake out by placing a piece of aluminum foil over the top of the cake in the pan. Then turn the cake out onto a plate so the foil is on the plate and the bottom of the cake is facing up. Remove the parchment paper from the bottom of the cake, then place the platter on which you wish to serve the cake on the bottom of the cake. Flip the whole thing over again, and the crackly side should now be facing up.
- Serve when the cake cools to room temperature, garnishing with whipped cream and fruit if desired.
In the book, the recipe notes the flavor and texture of the cake are improved by freezing. The cake needs to freeze for at least one day, and once removed from the freezer, rest 24 hours to come to room temperature before serving. To freeze, wrap tightly in a layer of plastic wrap followed by a layer of foil. It will keep frozen for up to one month.You can see a picture of the whole cake-flipping-over process over at Shutterbean: http://www.shutterbean.com/2011/winning-hearts-minds-chocolate-cake/.