Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Sexy, Silky Bittersweet Chocolate Cake with Raspberry Sauce (Part 1: Cake)
Am I the only one who feels like they're in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory while unwrapping a big bar of baking chocolate?
If you use the microwave, be sure to heat your butter and chocolate in short bursts (15-30 seconds at a time, and then stir.) If you let the microwave work on the chocolate for too long, you'll end up with a grainy, burned mess. So 15 seconds, stir, 15 seconds, stir, and so on until melted. My butter was fresh from the freezer so it took about a minute and a half for everything to come together.
Vanilla sugar is incredibly easy to make, and a great way to get more flavor for a vanilla bean (which aren't always cheap to buy.) After scraping the caviar from the pod for whatever recipe you may be using it for, the leftover pod can be added to plain sugar. In a short period of time, the sugar will be infused with the vanilla flavor and little specks of vanilla throughout.
As you saw with my Vanilla Bean Frosting, I like to use vanilla paste rather than a whole vanilla bean to get those little black flecks of flavor. So instead of recycling my vanilla bean, I tend to just use a whole fresh bean and add the caviar straight to the sugar. It works either way.
I love my coffee with some half and half and a nice spoonful of vanilla sugar. So good.
Yes, that is not a whisk in the picture. We were in a hurry and I was scrambling to throw this together. I thought I could get away with not whisking. This meant my eggs were not thoroughly broken up. Which resulted in small ribbons of cooked egg throughout my cakes.
Don't be like me. Do as I say, not as I do. Use a whisk.
Pour your (whisked!) egg mixture into the chocolate, stir everything together, and admire your beautiful batter.
Yes, they are two different sizes. I didn't buy them all at the same time. I bought two and then realized that a whole cheesecake recipe makes way more cheesecake than two little springform pans can hold. So I bought two more. That turned out to be the perfect number for a full-sized cake recipe.
No use going to all that work and then having your cake break in half when you release the springform sides.
Penzey's. The package says it's the richest grade of cocoa, and from the way it smells I wouldn't be surprised.
I wrapped my pans in tinfoil because I wasn't sure if they were waterproof (my big one wasn't and I'd rather be safe than sorry.)
The water should be hot and it should go about halfway up the sides of the pans. If you're wary about holding a pan of hot water, a good tip is to place your pan(s) in the larger pan and set it on the oven's rack. Then, once everything is stable and doesn't require more lifting, the water can get poured in.
Take them out of their waterbath (carefully!) and remove the tinfoil if you used it.
Once the cake has cooled, you can remove the springform sides and take in all its glory. (Another hint--run a butter knife around the edges of the cake, just to make sure nothing is sticking. Don't scrape, though, or you'll scratch up the nonstick coating.)
You can stop here and admire its overall fudgey cakiness. It would be just fine as is--although, I have to say, a little rich. To cut through the richness, you could dress your cake up in raspberry sauce. But you'll have to wait until tomorrow, when I post the recipe. Think you can hold out?
Recipe: Sexy, Silky Bittersweet Chocolate Cake
10 oz. bittersweet (or semisweet) chocolate, broken into pieces
16 tbsp. (2 sticks minus 2 tbsp.) butter
1 c. granulated sugar
5 eggs, room temperature
2 tbsp. butter, melted
cocoa powder, for dusting
Melt butter and chocolate together, either in a double boiler or in a bowl in the microwave. Let cool slightly.
In a separate bowl, whisk sugar and eggs until eggs are completely incorporated into the sugar.
Mix sugar-and-egg mixture into chocolate.
Brush springform pan with melted butter and then dust with cocoa powder. Pour in cake batter.
Bake at 350 for 1 hour 15 minutes (or, if using mini pans, around 40-45 minutes.) When center is no longer jiggly, cake is done.
Remove from waterbath. Let cool completely and then remove springform sides.
Serve immediately plain or with Raspberry Sauce (recipe to follow.)