Caroline Cooks

A modest documentation of my culinary exploits.

Location: Alexandria, Virginia, United States

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

French Chocolate Cake

In cooking and in life, intensity should prevail. Without it, things become dull.

I am an aficionado of intense foods, whether it be the overwhelming complexity of Indian spices, the excruciating heat of a chili pepper, or the decadence of a shamelessly chocolate cake.

This chocolate cake, borrowed from a basic French cookbook, is sinfully rich and intense. Use it to seduce a lover; your efforts will not go unrewarded.

9 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
5 eggs
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2 tsp vanilla extract
cocoa powder for dusting
chocolate shavings to decorate

This is one of those recipes where using high-quality ingredients such as Madagascar vanilla, European butter, and Valrhona chocolate really pays off.

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Lightly butter a round pan and sprinkle with a little sugar.

Melt the chocolate and butter in a saucepan over low-to-medium heat until smooth, stirring often. Meanwhile, beat the eggs and sugar together.

Beat the cocoa powder into the egg and sugar mixture until well blended. Stir in the vanilla extract, and then slowly beat in the melted chocolate until well blended.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan. Place the filled pan in a casserole or roasting dish and pour in enough boiling water to come about halfway up the side of the pan. This creates a bain-marie.

Bake for 45-50 minutes until the edge of the cake is set, yet the center still soft. Remove the pan from the water and allow to cool slightly, then invert onto a wire rack.

Allow the cake to cool completely, then dust liberally with cocoa powder and sprinkle with chocolate shavings. Serve with a sly smile.


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