I’m sure by now you’ve heard the studies that prove that chocolate is good for us. Dr. Oz says that we “need dark chocolate with 70 percent or more pure cocoa to reap the benefits of flavonoids…the really powerful, vitamin-like substances that dilate the arteries of the body”. As smart as I am, who am I to argue with Dr. Oz?
So, now it has been established that chocolate is a health food, let’s talk about dessert. Nibbling on a chunk of chocolate never fails, but sometimes, cake is the only thing that will fit the bill. I don’t know about you, but I appreciate a good piece of chocolate cake. No, not the pale-brown spongy stuff that if it weren’t for the colour you might not know what you were eating, but the rich, dense, almost black kind. True, what I’m about to show you is hardly what many of us consider cake – especially without any flour – but it will show that craving who’s boss in no time flat. Are you brave enough to join me?
The cast of characters:
Eggs, chocolate, butter, vanilla, and espresso powder. Sometimes simple really is best.
As with most baking, preheating your oven is the first step – 325 in this case.
Next, we must get the pan prepared. Using a springform pan is easiest; line the bottom with parchment paper and grease the sides. We’re going to cook the cake in a water bath – more on this in a moment – so wrap the outside of the prepared pan in tinfoil while you’re at it, ok?
Alright, time to get the party started! We need 1 lb of best-quality chocolate for this cake, and you can use semi-sweet, bittersweet, or a combination of the two with equally good results. I used a 100-g bar of 70% cocoa (Dr. Oz approved) to start things off:
And then coarsely chopped up some good-quality semi-sweet chocolate to total 1 lb:
Now, just a word to the wise (aka you): this dessert has a very limited ingredient list, which means that the quality of each individual ingredient matters more than it would if we were making something else. If you’re going to make this cake, please don’t skimp on the chocolate – use the best you can afford to buy!
Speaking of only using the best, it’s time for the butter to be cubed up:
That would be a total of 1c of butter, for those of you keeping track.
Add the butter to the bowl with the chopped chocolate to keep yourself from doing continous quality control sampling on the chocolate shards.
Remember the instant espresso powder? It will help accentuate the chocolate, so measure 1 TBSP into the cutest espresso cup you own:
Dissolve the espresso powder by adding 1 TBSP of pure vanilla extract to the mug and stirring it for a few seconds.
Add the espresso/vanilla mixture to the same bowl with the chocolate and butter, and set it aside for a minute.
Time to crack those eggs! I used Omega-3 eggs, hence the bright orange yolks, but you can use whatever kind you like as long as they’re cold. Crack 8 into a bowl.
Beat the eggs on medium-high speed for abour 5 minutes or until they’ve doubled in volume…this will take 5-7 minutes depending on whether you’re using a stand mixer, a hand mixer, or your biceps.
While the eggs are doing their thing, we need to melt the chocolate. My preference is to use a double boiler or bain-marie, but you can use your microwave if you must. But really, must you?!?!
If you’ve never used a bain-marie, all you need to do is place your (heatproof) bowl on top of a pot of simmering water. So easy!
Now would be a good time to boil a kettle of water for the water bath, too.
Want to see what the chocolate looks like as it melts?
Hmmm not QUITE there yet…let’s give it another minute.
(cue Jeopardy music…)
Please resist the urge to grab a straw and drink this delicious looking and smelling concoction as-is. Thank you in advance for your co-operation.
Better not forget about the eggs – how do you think they’re looking by now?
Gently fold about 1/2 of the beaten eggs into the melted chocolate mixture:
When almost all of the eggs have been incorporated, gently fold in about 1/2 of the remaining eggs and then repeat one more time until all of the eggs have been folded in.
Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan like so:
Put the springform pan into a large roasting pan and then pour boiling water all around it until it’s about half-way up the sides of the springform pan. This, my friends, is what I meant when I said we were going to bake the cake in a water bath.
I know what you’re thinking – why bother with the water bath? Quite simply, using a water bath will help ensure that the cake reaches a safe temperature to ward off any salmonella without developing hard edges around the exterior of the cake. Equally important, it will also allow you to receive a steam facial while baking a cake. Aren’t you glad you asked?
Bake the cake for about 22 – 25 minutes – the edges will just be beginning to set, and the middle will still look undone. Just have faith, I promise this will work out even though it would appear that you will be serving your guests raw cake batter.
Remove the cake from the water bath and let it cool on a wire rack until it reaches room temperature.
While the cake is cooling, I suggest we make some raspberry coulis. Feel like joining me?
Throw 12-oz of fresh or frozen raspberries, 5 TBSP of sugar, 1/8 tsp salt, and 1/4 c water in a pot.
Simmer for a few minutes until the berries are thawed (if using frozen), and then mash up with a potato masher.
Let the whole mixture cook down for a few minutes until its thickened up, and then pour it into a fine-mesh strainer over a bowl and allow it to drain.
Eventually, all that will be remaining will be the seeds, which you can either discard or feed to the neighbourhood children.
Juice a lemon, and add about 2 tsp of juice to the coulis to brighten everything up.
Check it out – my favourite colour is below:
Are you ready for cake yet? I am.
Since presentation is very important, put the cake on a pedastal and dust the top with a little bit of icing sugar…
Cut into 4 slices (if serving women) or 16 (if serving men). Place a slice in the middle of some of the raspberry coulis, and then garnish with some whipped cream, raspberries, and mint if you feel so inclined.
And the verdict?
As you can see, everybody hated this cake. You probably will too, if you hate things that are dense, rich, smooth, and satisfying. In fact, you probably shouldn’t make this. BUT if you do, will you save me a slice? Please?