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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Chocolate Cake

I'm envious of parents who can write beautiful letters to their children on their birthdays each year. I sat down around Dylan's first birthday to do just that - write him something that describes our love for him, what he likes to do at 1 year of age, and what I hope for him. Year after year I think about it and wish I had it in me but I just can't get any words on paper. I've realized there are two major roadblocks in my way. 1. The stress of writing something important 2. I just start to cry.

To celebrate his fourth year, I decide to make him chocolate cake instead. Dylan was born a chocoholic - for real. I like chocolate fine but that's about it so I never understood when people described their obsession. Now I see it, I'm living with one obsessed. I mean, he tries to sneak full sized Ghirardelli chocolate bars into our cart at the market. 

To go along with this very chocolatey chocolate cake we picked a few berries from the surprise berry bushes in our backyard. Who knew we had berry bushes? Something is eating the ripe ones really fast (the turkeys?) so we haven't enjoyed many but it was a pretty awesome discovery.

We celebrated the big 0-4 with a party at Felix Neck. The kids walked to the pond, caught critters, and met a friendly snake.That morning Dylan and I made sub-par chocolate cupcakes. They were disappointing because the recipe looked delicious (how can chocolate cupcakes with sour cream and lots of butter taste just okay?) but we made up for it here.

When Elspeth said this chocolate cake was good I knew it was the one for this year's birthday. There is only 1 tablespoon of flour and lots of chocolate, butter, and eggs, making a sense and rich (amazing) cake.

Chocolate Cake

7 ounces (200 grams) best-quality dark chocolate
7 ounces (200 grams) unsalted European-style butter (the high-butterfat kind, such as Lurpak or Beurre d’Isigny), cut into ½-inch cubes
1 1/3 cup (250 grams) granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 Tbs unbleached all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit, and butter an 8-inch round cake pan. Line the base of the pan with parchment, and butter the parchment too.

Finely chop the chocolate (a serrated bread knife does an outstanding job of this) and melt it gently with the butter in a double boiler or in the microwave, stirring regularly to combine. Add the sugar to the chocolate-butter mixture, stirring well, and set aside to cool for a few moments. Then add the eggs one by one, stirring well after each addition, and then add the flour. The batter should be smooth, dark, and utterly gorgeous.

Pour batter into the buttered cake pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until the center of the cake looks set and the top is shiny and a bit crackly-looking. (I usually set the timer for 20 minutes initially, and then I check the cake every two minutes thereafter until it’s done. At 20 minutes, it’s usually quite jiggly in the center. You’ll know it’s done when it jiggles only slightly, if at all.) Let the cake cool in its pan on a rack for 10 minutes; then carefully turn the cake out of the pan and revert it, so that the crackly side is facing upward. Allow to cool completely. The cake will deflate slightly as it cools.

Serve in wedges at room temperature with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or dollop of whipped cream.

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