4.28.2008

chocolate idiot cake

This cake was supposed to be so easy that an idiot could make it. However, this cake made me feel like an idiot instead.

chocolate idiot cake

First, it's made in a springform pan and baked in a water bath. If your pan isn't waterproof (and whose really is?) you're supposed to wrap it in foil. This sounds easy until you realize that the foil isn't really big enough and you have to improvise with many pieces until you end up with a frankenpan that is only marginally more waterproof than before.

chocolate idiot cake

Once that's done, making the batter is easy. Chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs. You're done. Pour it into the pan, put the pan into a roasting pan, fill the roasting pan with hot water, and into the oven for an hour and fifteen minutes. When it's just set and you can touch the top gently and come away with a clean finger, you're done.

Well, I checked mine at an hour and fifteen. Liquid. An hour and a half? Still liquid. I checked it every ten minutes and finally, after more than two hours (I lost track of the time) the cake was mostly set and I could touch parts of the top and come away with a clean fingertip, so I called it good and pulled it out. I let it cool, said a prayer, and hoped for the best.

chocolate idiot cake

It was worth it. The cake is like silk. It melts in your mouth. It's lighter than a truffle, but just as rich. It's everything I ever wanted in a dessert. The cake sweats butter. How could I not love it? I know an easier version of this cake-- which I will post, the next time I make it--but I confess, the texture of this one is better by far. Silk, I'm telling you. Make it, just once. You won't regret it. I took it to school to share, and I ended up with two pieces left over. Justin got up in the middle of the night and ate them both--sneaky bastard! I'm still plotting my revenge.

Chocolate Idiot Cake
courtesy of David Lebovitz
One 9-inch (23 cm) cake

This cake is extremely rich, and tastes like the most delicious, silkiest, most supremely-chocolate ganache you've ever had. As mentioned, it's equally good a few days later, and only an idiot could possibly mess it up. You don't need to use ScharffenBerger chocolate for this cake, but use a good one—you'll appreciate it when you taste your first melt-in-your-mouth bite.

10 ounces (290 gr) ScharffenBerger bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped. (I used Trader Joe's bittersweet chocolate, and it was fine.)
7 ounces (200 gr) butter, salted or unsalted, cut into pieces (Use the richest butter you can afford.)
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (200 gr) sugar


Preheat the oven to 350F (175 C).

1. Butter a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan* and dust it with cocoa powder, tapping out any excess. If you suspect your springform pan isn't 100% water-tight, wrap the outside with aluminum foil, making sure it goes all the way up to the outer rim.

2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler (or microwave), stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from heat.

3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar, then whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until smooth.

4. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and cover the top of the pan snugly with a sheet of foil. Put the springform pan into a larger baking pan, such as a roasting pan, and add enough hot water to the baking pan to come about halfway up to the outside of the cake pan.

Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. (Ha! If it takes two and a half hours, don't fret.)

You'll know the cake is done when it feels just set, like quivering chocolate pudding. If you gently touch the center, your finger should come away clean.

5. Lift the cake pan from the water bath and remove the foil. Let cake cool completely on a cooling rack.

Serve thin wedges of this very rich cake at room temperature, with creme anglaise, ice cream, or whipped cream. (I used creme fraiche, but really, it doesn't need a thing.)

2 comments:

Carolee said...

I know what you mean about having to build a Frankenpan out of foil. I use a pumpkin cheesecake recipe at Thanksgiving that also uses a springform pan set in a water bath. I stressed out about leaks the whole time it was in the oven, and it also took more time to bake than the recipe wanted.

However, I am encouraged to brave Frankenpan again in order to experience this chocolate cake.

And, I love your food blog!

Candy said...

This is substantially similar to my Godiva With Crumbs cake, except that the cake uses 8 ounces of butter, 1-1/4 cups sugar (I use dark brown for that extra caramelly deliciousness) and 5 tablespoons of flour. I just buy Trader Joe's Pound Plus Semisweet or 70% Belgian, and use five lines of that (which amounts to just over 11 ounces of chocolate).

OK, so not all THAT similar, but very similar proportions. Plus mine doesn't call for a water bath, just tenting some tinfoil over the cake and baking at very low heat for a long time. The edges do become somewhat crisp, but then you just have amazing melt-in-your-mouth biscotti.

Oh man. Chocolate cake. I wants some. Rar.