I’m no baker. All that measuring and sifting and waiting for the butter to get to just the right temperature…give me a recipe I can muck around in, any day.
It is insanely, insanely good. AND since I made it, hard to mess up.
Smitten Kitchen’s Flourless Chocolate Cake
6 tablespoons butter (doesn’t matter the temperature!)
4 oz semisweet chocolate
3 eggs, yolks separated from whites
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
pinch ground cinnamon
topping: a pinch powdered sugar, berries, and homemade whipping cream – about 1/3 cup whipping cream whipped with a tablespoon or so powdered sugar,
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a small round pan (6 or 8 inches) with a circle of parchment paper and grease with butter or canola oil, generously.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in the chocolate, melting it as well. Set aside and let cool until lukewarm.
Beat egg yolks, brown sugar and vanilla together with an electric mixer until the mixture thickens (it’ll be a gross yellow color). Slowly add in the cooled chocolate/butter combo and mix thoroughly, until very thick.
Wash and clean the beaters, and in a separate bowl, beat egg whites and salt until peaks form – add a pinch cinnamon if you like. Stir about 1/3 of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, and then slowly and gently fold the rest in. The batter should be nice and light. Pour into the pan and bake for about 20 minutes if using an 8 inch pan and about 25 if using a 6 inch pan. The center will be nice and puffy…and will quickly deflate when you remove it from the oven.
Let the cake cool sufficiently and then flip it out on to another plate. Sprinkle a tiny amount of powdered sugar over the top and serve with whipped cream and berries – and maybe a pinch of cracked salt. Consider yourself a culinary genius.
Well, now everyone knows what they’re getting on their birthday from me.
The year after we graduated from college, I brought my group of friends…which included one certain future Husband, home to the Cape.
My dad, naturally, found it to be the perfect time to enlist the boys into helping him chop wood, telling them “any day you get to use a chain saw, that’s a good day.” It’s a wonder the Husband stuck around.
And yet, I feel the same way about my standing bowl mixer, which I wrestled out of its storage place to make this lemon poppy seed pound cake in celebration of our book club anniversary.
Glazed Lemon Poppy Seed Pound Cake
for the cake
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened, plus LOTS of butter for greasing the pan
2 cups cake or all-purpose flour
2 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup sugar
5 eggs, yolks separated from whites
about a teaspoon grated lemon zest
juice from 1/2 lemon
1 small container of poppy seeds (about 1/4 cup)
for the glaze
about 2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons grated lemon zest
juice from the other 1/2 lemon
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Seriously butter a 9×5 inch loaf pan. And then butter it again, because this pound cake likes to stay in there.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in a small bowl; set aside.
Use your mixer (yay!) to cream the butter until smooth. Add about half the sugar, mix through, add the other half. Beat until the mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks, one at a time. You’ll need to scrape down the sides of the bowl so everything mixes through.
Slowly add the dry ingredients…and here’s where it gets less fun: by hand. You might actually need to put your hands in the bowl and smoosh the ingredients together. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest.
In a separate bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Fold them into the rest of ingredients, gently, along with the poppy seeds.
Pour into the loaf pan and bake for about 70 minutes. In the meantime, make the glaze by whisking all of the ingredients together in a small bowl. Let the cake rest about 5 minutes before extracting from the pan. Let cool completely before glazing and slicing.