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Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Best (and Easiest) Chocolate Cake I've Ever Had!

I baked you a cake. What's the special occasion?, you ask.

I received my 15,000th hit sometime last week (I started tracking around November 2008) and I wanted to so say THANK YOU to all of you who have loyally visited my site, signed up for updates and dropped the occasional comment. It's all of your support that has made one of my photos number one on Tastespotting, and amongst one of the most viewed photos ever! (And that's no easy feat...)

So from me to you, please accept my most heartfelt Thank You!

To celebrate, (and of course, I don't really need a special occasion to do so...) I thought I would bake us a cake. This is one of my most tried and true recipes that I have honed and tweaked over time and I want to share it with you.

For some reason, my semi-regular feature on desserts has resonated with many readers. Maybe because it's a universal dilemma - you've been invited over for dinner and your host asks you to bring dessert. "Sure, no problem." You say. Then your thoughts run to, "So, what do I bring for dessert?" You could run out to the bakery and buy a lovely cheesecake or something, or you could just make something...

Amongst the other things I have offered up as suggestions in the past, such as lemon bars, raspberry & pear crumble, and most recently, key lime squares, I think this is easiest recipe of them all. This is what I like to bring when I am invited over for dinner and I most definitely make this cake when I have guests over for dinner.

It's such a simple recipe, almost foolproof. The ingredients are simple and the taste is out of the world. The cake is moist and dense and just buckles under your fork. When you make this cake, use good quality dark chocolate. The result is a buttery, smooth, rich and flavourful chocolate cake. Use the good stuff, and your tastebuds will thank you.

I make this cake the day before I need it. It allows the flavours to meld and reduces "day of" stress if you are hosting a dinner party. Leave the cake in the tin, covered with cling film and stored in the fridge. About thirty minutes before you intend to serve it, remove and plate.

Flourless Chocolate Cake

200 grams dark chocolate - broken into small pieces
200 grams unsalted butter - cut into small pieces
1 c sugar
5 eggs

optional: 150 grams sour cherries (roughly chopped)
(I use jarred sour cherries macerated in a light syrup. But I think you can also use fresh ones too... But note the addition of fruit shortens the shelf-life of the cake.)

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8 inch round cake pan and cut a parchment paper to fit the round. Butter the parchment as well.
2. In a double-boiler*, slowly melt the chocolate & butter until smooth. Don't allow the water in the double boiled to touch the bottom of the bowl. Once melted, add sugar and stir well until smooth. Remove from heat and cool for about two minutes.
3. One by one, crack an egg into the batter. Stir until smooth and glossy before adding the next egg. The batter will become thick and viscous. If using, stir in the sour cherries.
4. Pour into the prepared cake pan and bake for about twenty minutes. At twenty minutes, if the cake seems really wet in the center, then set the timer for another two minutes and check again. The cake will slightly puff on the edges with a dense thick center. (I have made this cake maybe ten or twelve times, and the baking time is about twenty four minutes.)
5. Cool cake on a wire rack.
6. Once completely cool, refrigerate.
7. About twenty minutes before serving, flip the cake onto a plate upside down. Remove the parchment paper. And carefully, lay your serving plate on top of the cake. Then flip the cake over onto its right side and remove the original plate.
8. Slice into eight wedges and sprinkle with icing sugar and serve with vanilla ice cream or a dollop of whipped cram.

*I don't have a double boiler. To melt the chocolate, I fill a medium sized pot 1/3 of the way with water, once it comes to a boil, I turn it down and place a medium sized metal bowl on top. Ensure that it is not tight-fitting so that the steam can escape. (But having said that, be careful. Hot steam can cause serious burns.)

I have made an extra cake without the cherries and wrapped it well in cling wrap, then again in a freezer bag and stored it in the freezer. It keeps for up to three months and to serve, defrost on your counter for about 45 minutes and slice into wedges. Although my husband thinks it tastes just fine unthawed
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