Monday, August 25, 2014

You can have your cake

So, I promised the chocolate cake to end all chocolate cakes? 

Well, I'm one to stay true to my word . . . even if I don't make deadline.

On a recent trip back to the Rads, we celebrated my dear friend Ad's birthday with a dinner party at her place. It was beyond spectacular. Three courses of amazingness - so good that I stole two recipes from the night and pulled them out at my own fundraising dinner part a few weeks later.

One of these recipes was for Ottolenghi's chocolate fudge cake. It was seriously the best thing I'd ever tasted. The table went silent when Ad served it up. We were lost for words, totally caught in the moment.

So it's only fair that I share the love with you . . .

Ottolenghi’s Chocolate Fudge Cake

240g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
265g dark chocolate (52% cocoa), chopped into small pieces*
95g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped into small pieces*
290g light muscovado sugar
4 tablespoons water
5 large eggs, separated
pinch of salt
cocoa powder for dusting
Preheat your oven to 170°C (350°F) and butter a 20cm (8″) spring form pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment/baking paper.
In a large heat proof bowl, combine the chopped chocolates and butter.
Combine the muscovado sugar and water in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Pour the boiling syrup over the chocolate and butter and stir until they have melted. *If you ignored the “chopped into small pieces” instructions, insert another step; melt mixture further over a double boiler until smooth…
Add the egg yolks, one at a time, to the chocolate mixture and then set the bowl aside until the mixture comes to room temperature.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and salt to a firm but not dry meringue. Using a rubber spatula, fold a third of the meringue into the chocolate mixture. Once combined, add another third, fold and then fold in the remaining third until just combined.
Pour 2/3rds of the batter into your prepared pan (about 800g, reserving the remaining batter for later) and bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and leave it on a wire rack to cool completely. Flatten the cake with an offset spatula. Don’t worry about breaking the surface crust and pour the rest of the batter on top. Level the surface again. Return the cake to the oven and bake for a further 20-25 minutes. When tested with a skewer the cake should have a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
Allow to cool completely in the spring form pan before attempting to unmould it.
Dust with cocoa powder before serving & serve with double cream.

So as you can see, the cake needs to be made in stages. And I was juggling a couple of dips, the lamb tagine and a few other dishes as well. As well as a date or two. Big week.

I started on the Thursday night with stage one - my housemates all chipped in and helped me make the batter. I let them eat the leftovers. Best housemate ever.

The first layer was sublime. Perfection. I was proud as punch. I had to leave it overnight to cool and then planned to cook the second layer on the Friday. I came home from work and was in a frantic rush, the tagine was on the stove top, I was monitoring the cake and slapping on some makeup for a date that night.

I was all set to go, glammed up and feeling top of the pops when the timer went off and I opened the oven door to take out the cake. It was heavenly, the perfect amount of rise, still gooey in the centre but crunchy around the edges.

I was a little cocky, perhaps. Then . . . the oven mitt got caught and I burnt my hand on the cake tin. It was bloody hot so I squealed a bit and moved my hand from the edge of the tin to the base. Which was loose. Which detached from the sides. Which upended all over my benchtop.

I hate springform tins.

I swore like a sailor and stamped my feet in a tantrum like a three year cracking the shits in the toy department at David Jones. What a waste! All that chocolate, all that melting, all that cooking, all that waiting!

My housemate rushed over to help - but his version of helping was getting a bowl and a spoon and salvaging the cake for himself. He seriously stood there and ate it while muttering nice words of support.

"If it makes it any better, Kate, it tastes really good!" quickly followed by "Oh, are you going to cry?" at which stage he put the bowl down and went to fetch a bucket and mop.

I couldn't do anything but pick up my phone, take a photo, clean up the mess, top up my red lippy and head off on my date. Where I drank far too much champagne far too quickly.

Apparently you can cook it all in one go, saving yourself that second cooking stage, but if it's worth doing, it's worth doing well so I mustered up the courage (and the budget!) to start all over again the next day. 

And boy, it was worth it.


Flora Fascinata said...

I feel the pain. I always put a tray under the springform.....yes, I'm sure you usually do, too. Anyway one day I was cooking cheesecakes(x about 10) for a function and was in a complete flap. My lovely Teacher Aide tried to offer me a tray as I scooped up the hugest springform full to the brim and guess what...the base popped open. OMG. We also had the oven door open...sizzling cheesecake everywhere. I think I cried. Xx

Kate said...

Oh Flora Fascinata! I'm so pleased to hear I'm not the only one! And I know what you mean about the sizzling bit - it was molten hot chocolate cake batter everywhere, it stuck like cement and burnt like a bugger! Will have to remember the tray underneath next time. This cake will not get the better of me, it's too good not to make again and again! xx