Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The Chocolate Cake

Adapted from More Home Cooking by Laurie Cowin

This is my adaptation of the Elizabeth David Chocolate Cake that was Laurie Colwin's chocolate cake of choice for a few years.  She found it in the classic French Provincial Cooking and said

To make it takes a little bit of time, but it is time well spent. People simply moan at the taste.  It is perhaps the king and queen of all chocolate cakes.      

If you have More Home Cooking (and I hope you do) and want to check out Laurie Colwin's recipe, see Page 158

Note:  I melt chocolate the way Alice Medrich shared with kitchn.

Chop or break your chocolate into pieces and place the pieces in a heatproof bowl; stainless steel is good; tempered glass will also work. Place a wide skillet with about an inch of water on the stove, and put the bowl with the chocolate in the skillet.  Watching carefully, bring the water in the skillet to a simmer, turn off the flame, and wait until the chocolate melts.  

The Chocolate Cake
Elizabeth David's Chocolate Cake adapted from More Home Cooking by Laurie Colwin

Serves 6

4 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I like Guittard Bittersweet 70% Cacao, which comes in a pink package with three 2-ounce bars in it.)
Cut 6 tablespoons unsalted butter into 6 pieces, and let come to room temperature
⅛ teaspoon salt (I use fine sea salt.)
¼ cup sugar (The original recipe calls for ½ cup, but I reduced it to ¼.)
½ cup ground almonds (I use raw, unblanched almonds blitzed in a food processor.)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon strong coffee 
Elizabeth David recommends adding 1 tablespoon brandy or rum; Laurie Colwin recommends adding 1 tablespoon brandy.  I omit the spirits completely.  You choose.
3 large eggs, separated

Preheat the oven to 300°F (not a typo, three hundred) degrees, not convection. Butter an 8-inch springform pan.

Melt the chocolate,
 and add the butter. Stir until the butter melts from the heat of the chocolate.  Stir in the sugar first to completely incorporate it, then add the ground almonds, vanilla, and coffee, and stir again. Transfer the mixture to another bowl, which will be cool, large enough to hold all the batter.

In a separate clean bowl, beat 3 large egg yolks with a wire whisk until they are well mixed and turn a bright lemon color.  Stir into the chocolate mixture.

In another clean bowl, beat the egg whites until they are stiff but not dry.  I do this by hand in a copper bowl with a large whisk, but this can be done using a stand or hand mixture.  Carefully fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture.

Turn the batter into the prepared pan, and bake in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes. A cake tester will not come out clean. Remove from the oven, and place the cake pan on a rack. The cake may slump, and the top may crack. This is okay. Cool completely before removing the sides of the pan.

I think this is best served with lightly whipped cream.

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