Friday, November 25, 2011

Chocolate cake.

David Lebovitz writes in The Sweet Life in Paris that every baker should have in his or her repertoire a tested chocolate cake recipe to call upon if caught in a bind.  We don't need to live in Paris, as David does, to know that chocolate is universally loved.  I know few who don't at least enjoy (if not love) chocolate--though I have one friend who says she doesn't like chocolate (imagine that, a woman who doesn't like chocolate), but when encountered with some pretty fabulous chocolate on a trip to Italy, even she returned to the shop for more.  I think good chocolate can make a fan out of any of us.

I started trying a few different chocolate dessert recipes to find one that was quick, forgiving, and delivered praise-worthy results--the point of keeping such a chocolate cake recipe in your back pocket.  But I also didn't want to rely on lava chocolate cakes, which, if I think about it too much, can sometimes feel like an underbaked chocolate cake (think undercooked eggs), and which doesn't share well once a knife is run through it because the batter oozes out into a puddle.  

I found the recipe below on, where most of my recipes come from.  David Lebovitz also has one in his book that requires a little more work (though not much), so I wanted to try this one first.  Given the few ingredients in the recipe, the chocolate is certainly the centerpiece and makes it imperative that quality chocolate is used.  Any chocolate dessert is going to be only as good as the quality of chocolate itself.  For this, I used 65% cocoa content semisweet chocolate chips (to bypass the chopping step), which produced a rich, flavorful cake.  There are some good quality chocolate chips available.  And now that we are in the holiday season in full force, with Thanksgiving dinner just behind us and Christmas a month away, this chocolate cake recipe could be a life-saver.

Bittersweet Chocolate and Almond Cake
Adapted from
Serves about 10

Preheat oven to 325F degrees, and butter and flour (or use a baking non-stick spray) a 9" spring form pan.

1.  Slowly melt in a heavy saucepan over low heat the following ingredients, and set aside:
- 12 oz. bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips (most chocolate chip bags come in this size)
- 1 cup of unsalted butter (2 sticks)

2.  Combine in a mixing bowl using a wire whisk:
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 3 T. cake flour
- 1/4 t. salt

3.  Mix together in a separate bowl:
- 5 large eggs
- 1-1/3 cups sugar
- 1/2 t. vanilla extract
- 1/2 t. almond extract

4.  Fold the flour mixture in #2 into the eggs mixture in #3, then fold in the chocolate.

5.  Pour batter into the spring form pan, and bake for about 55 minutes.  The cake is done when the cake tester comes out with moist crumbs.  Cool cake in pan, then remove and refrigerate.

6.  Serve in slices, topped with whipped cream and toasted almond slices (I like to add berries, too).