Things are getting back to normal around here.
Although I’m not sure how one can really define normal after you lose someone that you love. For me right now, normal means kind of surreal – almost like it didn’t happen, but knowing that it did. It’s like my heart and my brain haven’t really had a chance to chat and catch up to each other.
I’m not up to date with all the signs of grief but although I feel “fine”, I do find myself snapping at my kids for no apparent reason – although that could also be directly linked to the serious lack of sleep we have had recently, with nearly all our kids in bed with us for the last couple of nights. They are sick. The miserable kind of sick.
Needless to say I was desperate for something to pick me up and is there any better pick me up than chocolate? Exactly!
- For the cake:
- Chocolate! I used a 70% and 85% Lindt slab, with a slab of the Cadbury’s Albany dark chocolate (2-1/4 cups)
- 3/4 cup unsalted butter plus a bit more for the pan
- 5 large eggs
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp. table salt
- 1/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy; more for the pan
- Position a rack in the middle of the oven and heat the oven to 180°C. Lightly butter the bottom of a round cake pan and line it with a round of parchment. Lightly butter the parchment and the sides of the pan and dust with cocoa powder. Tap out any excess.
- Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave or in a medium metal bowl set in a skillet of barely simmering water, stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth.
- Remove the bowl from the water bath and set aside to cool slightly.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, and 2 Tbs. water. Beat on medium high speed until the mixture is very foamy, pale in color, and doubled in volume, 2 min.
- Reduce the speed to low and gradually pour in the amazingly delicious chocolate mixture.
- Increase the speed to medium high and continue beating until well blended, about 30 seconds.
- Add the cocoa powder and mix on medium low just until blended, about 30 seconds.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake until a pick inserted in the center comes out looking wet with small gooey clumps, 40 to 45 min. Don’t overcook. (40 minutes was perfect for me)
- Let cool in the pan on a rack for 30 min. If necessary, gently push the edges down with your fingertips until the layer is even. Run a small knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Cover the cake pan with a wire rack and invert. Remove the pan and parchment.
- Apparently you should let the cake cool completely before eating. Who needs crazy rules like that?! We ate it hot. But if you want to do it the right way, transfer to a cake plate. Cover and refrigerate the cake until it’s very cold, at least 6 hours or overnight.
We ate it just like that because I used all my chocolate. And also, HOT CHOCOLATE CAKE! But the bit that I had the next day was even better than it was hot. I will definitely be making this for friends and dinner parties and family and um, myself ALL the time.
If you can restrain yourself from eating it immediately, then you can also make a glaze to put on top…
- For the glaze:
- 1 Slab Lindt chocolate, coarsely chopped (3/4 cup)
- 3 Tbs. unsalted butter
Glaze the cake: Melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave or in a medium metal bowl set in a skillet of barely simmering water, stirring with a rubber spatula until smooth. Pour the warm glaze over the chilled cake and, using an offset spatula, spread the glaze evenly to within 1/4 inch of the edge. Refrigerate the cake until the glaze is set, 20 to 40 min. Before serving, remove the cake from the refrigerator and let it come to room temperature, 20 to 30 min. To serve, cut the cake into small, if not tiny, slices using a hot knife.
Tip: To slice this cake (or any dense, sticky cake), heat the knife first, either by dipping it in a tall container of very hot water or by holding it under hot running water for a few seconds. Then wipe it dry before cutting the cake. The knife will cool quickly, and the cake will start sticking, so expect to rinse and repeat several times. A crème brûlée torch, if you have one, is also handy for heating up a knife.