Sunday, October 18, 2015

Tiny but intense chocolate cake

A small, flourless dark chocolate cake from Deb Perelman is sure to knock your socks off! This is the perfect cake for chocolate emergencies or when you want to bake a cake with few leftovers. You know, so you don't have to share!
I've been a member of an online cooking/message board for about 10 years. Many of the ladies I've "known" the entire time. I even had a chance to meet several of them over the years. While cooking brought us all together, we talk mostly about what is going on in our lives (rather than gushing over recipes).

The ladies on my cooking board thought it would be fun for all of us to bake from a cookbook together. We could each choose whatever recipes appealed to us and share our thoughts and opinions afterwards. For the first cookbook, we chose The smitten kitchen cookbook by Deb Perelman. Several of us owned this book already (myself included) and have already raved about many of Deb's recipes. But to many of us, this was a new book.

I have made a few of Deb's recipes already, but one that I have not tried was her tiny but intense chocolate cake. I had just finished baking something else that same morning but thought that the small chocolate cake would be another good option to snack on throughout the day. And if it was tiny, maybe I could sneak most of it without anyone noticing?

The cake was very easy to assemble. The texture was very dense, yet light at the same time. Almost like biting into an airy brownie, if that makes any sense. The chocolate flavor, while good, could have been intensified by adding some coffee or instant espresso powder.

Despite those minor nit-picky details, this is a solid chocolate cake and perfect for snacking. Feel free to share, but given how small this is, you should totally just keep it to yourself.

Tiny but intense chocolate cake
  • 6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 4 ounces (115 grams) semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon flaky sea salt
  • Pinch of cinnamon
Directions
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Allow the butter to spit a little bit until small brown flecks start appearing at the bottom of the pan. The butter will be aromatic and smell like nuts. Once your butter browns, take it off the pan and stir in the chopped chocolate. Stir or whisk until it is well mixed and allow it to cool.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease and/or line a 6" springform or round pan and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment or in a large bowl if using a handheld mixer, beat the eggs and brown sugar on medium speed. The mixture will look pretty gross, but don't be alarmed. Add in the cooled chocolate mixture and keep beating until it becomes a rich brown color and all ingredients have been well incorporated. Add the vanilla and salt and mix some more.

Transfer the batter to a clean bowl and wash and dry the mixing bowl (or use a new one if you are using a handheld mixer).

Transfer the egg whites to your spotlessly clean bowl, and using the whisk attachment on high speed (or your cleaned handheld mixer), whip the egg whites until you reach stiff peaks.

Stir about 1/3 of the egg whites into the batter. Then gently fold in the remaining 2/3 using as few strokes as possible.

Bake in your preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the center of the cake puffs up (it will deflate shortly). Allow the cake to cool for about 10 minutes, then release the cake and allow to fully cool on a plate or a wire rack. Dust with powdered sugar and/or whipped cream before serving.

Leftover cake, if you have any, should be stored in an airtight container at room temperature or in the refrigerator and will keep for a few days.

Yield: About 4-6 small portions

Source: The smitten kitchen cookbook, pages 250-251

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