Sunday, February 20, 2011

Chocolate Makes Everything Better

I am still recovering from that nasty bug that crept up on me and bit me in the aspiratons. I've been told by many people that it drags on for months. One sage individual said "a hundred days" seems to be the average time to kick this thing to the curb. I pooh-poohed it when I heard it. "Pooh-pooh!" said I. "And also, fie! And a pox on all your houses!"

Now I'm starting to believe it. I believe I jinxed myself when I pooh-poohed it. Also I can't stop saying pooh-pooh.

There's only one cure in my books. I'm not a fan of hot rum and lemons, or salt rinses or as someone suggested, a stewed garlic gargle. No, there is one thing guaranteed to make me feel better. (Whether or not it actually makes me physically better is moot, because I feel better after I've inhaled and ingested it.)

Chocolate cake. Not just any chocolate cake. This is a divine, dark, rich chocolate torte adapted from a recipe passed along by my friend Laura B. from when she lived in France. This cake is practically an institution there. You'll come across various adaptations for which ingredients to use and how you bake it (some want you to immerse it in a bain-marie to cook it, which is too much effort for me and unnecessary, I think. But I do like to toss around the phrase, "you'll have to excuse me, as I have to check on my bain-marie.")

Of course I've adapted the recipe for my family because no one tells me what to do, not even, or especially, a little old recipe. Like the stop signs here in La Belle Province of Quebec, a recipe is merely a suggestion.

Now some of you may remember that I've had a few difficulties in the past with my baking adventures, most particularly the time I had to vacuum a cake.

But this one is really easy. And it's idiot proof.

Honest. You're looking at her.

Chocolate Torte So Good You Will Moan and Hug Yourself

300g (10 oz) bittersweet chocolate, broken in pieces*
200g (7 oz) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs, brought to room temperature (organic if you can)
1/2 tsp real vanilla
pinch salt

(Note there is no flour in this recipe. Damn you, gluten, and your little dog, too!)

1. Preheat oven to 350F

2. Butter a 9" springform pan, then dust with cocoa powder and tap out excess.

3. Melt butter in a 4 cup microwave-safe measuring cup, then mix in chocolate pieces and stir until the mixture is melted and smooth. Set aside to cool down.

4. Whisk eggs and sugar together, then add the cooled chocolate/butter mixture, mixing well.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes. The middle might be a bit jiggly, but your finger should come away clean if you touch the middle. I don't like my middle to be jiggly so I usually turn the oven off, and put the cake back in the oven to bake for another 10 minutes.

(If I really didn't like my middle to be jiggly, I wouldn't be eating this cake. But I digress.)

Cool on rack before removing sides. Optional: dust with icing sugar. (See cautionary tale about cake vacuuming above.)

Serve warm, room temperature or cold when it becomes more fudge-like which is the way I like it. Best served in small wedges, with whipped cream and fresh strawberries or raspberries on the side.

*I used 3 bars of Cocoa Camino Fair Trade orange chocolate which has bits of candied orange peel. You can use plain 55% chocolate, or mix it up with flavoured bars like espresso. I've also used Lindt orange chocolate bars. Basically, use the highest quality chocolate and eggs possible and you'll be fine.

Claire, Sarah said to tell you "I eyeball the ginger noodly thing." I'd like the recipe.


Claire Ellen said...

Thanks Pam!! Now I reeeally want chocolate cake.

This is the gingernoodly thing!

A Novel Woman said...

Thanks Claire. I shall force Sarah to make it for me.

nightsmusic said...


I am SO in trouble now.

Oh, and thanks for the heads up on the vacuuming...I just got a Dyson. It's fanfreakingtastic!! But I don't think I'll be getting it too near any cakes any time soon...

A Novel Woman said...

NM, vacuuming the cake was not one of my better moves.

Good luck with the cake! Enjoy. No guilt because there's no flour in it. That's my logic and I'm sticking to it.

Debby said...

Oh, my gosh! I make this same cake. The same one.

Oh. And FYI: Never wish a pox on anyone else's house. Never. It will always bite you.

It would have been wonderful if you'd managed to be in NY this past week. I was so dumbstruck for most of the day that I just gaped. She'd probably have appreciated good conversation.

A Novel Woman said...

I know, I wish I could have been there too, but this week did not work for me at all.

And it wasn't a real pox, it was a Shakespearean pox. Forsooth. So it doesn't count.