Sunday, August 25, 2013

Bitter Chocolate Cake

 
   
Some days are for sundresses, hammocks and lemonade. If you're having that kind of day, don't make this cake.

But if you desperately need a sitter and a glass of red wine, if you're grinding your molars every time you talk to someone under thirty, if the sunshine is starting to get on your nerves . . . pull the butter out of the fridge to soften up while you hide in your bedroom for an hour. Don't open the door unless someone is actually bleeding.



Fall is coming. School starts this week. We'll make it.

Bitter Chocolate Cake
3 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
2 1/2 cups granulated sugar
7 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons instant espresso powder, dissolved in
2 tablespoons of warm water
3 tablespoons of honey
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 cups flour
1 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups bitter chocolate chips or chopped chocolate


Spray a 10-cup bundt pan with Pam for Baking, or grease and flour it. Preheat the oven to 350 (325 convection).

Cream the butter and sugar until it's very light and fluffy, about three minutes in a stand mixer on medium-high. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Scrape down the sides of the bowl, then mix in the vanilla, coffee, salt and honey. If you have the patience to measure out the honey and wash the tablespoon, then you are in the wrong frame of mind for this recipe. For pity's sake, just eyeball it! Ditto sifting the flour and cocoa powder. Just kick the mixer up to high for a few seconds after you've worked the dry ingredients in pretty well.

Fold in the chips with a long-handled spatula, scraping the inevitable white streak of butter off the bottom of the bowl. Spread the batter in the pan, mounding it up toward the sides to keep the bottom of the cake flat as it rises.

Bake for about an hour and 15 minutes, until the top feels crusty when you poke it, and you don't see wet cake batter in the cracks. Rest in the pan for five minutes before cooling for an hour on a rack. The texture will improve with an additional hour in the fridge. But sometimes you need cake now. I feel ya.

I am of the opinion that a cake with three sticks of butter, seven eggs, and chocolate chips is good to go with just a shake of powdered sugar. But glazing a cake is so easy and pretty, you might as well.

Vanilla Glaze
1 tablespoon melted butter
2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoons milk
Using a small whisk, work two cups of powdered sugar into the butter. Add in the vanilla and one tablespoon of milk. Keep adding the milk drop-by-drop, until you reach the consistency of ketchup. If you overshoot, add more sugar. One spoonful at a time, pour the glaze on the top of the cake. If the first spoonful sits in a blob, or drips down onto the plate, add more sugar or milk to the bowl. Unless it's February and your kitchen is freezing, I'd recommend firming it up in the fridge.

This would also be great with espresso glaze from my Chocolate Pound Cake, but only if your sweet tooth has a very bitter edge.

 

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