STOP THE PRESS!!! I’m here, I’m here!!
No I haven’t forgotten you. Yes I’ve been a bad blog mommy. Yes, I’m here to make it up to you… with cake!!
When I got the email about me hosting an SMS post the first thing that popped into mind was “Dang! it’s about TIME!” *jumps for joy* Then it was intermittently followed by “Gosh, what do I choose?!” *panic*
I did want to pick something tasty, simple with seasonal/staple ingredients and no allergens. Did I succeed? I’m not sure, you tell me ;)
With the national day of looooove (read: Valentine’s Day) just around the corner, I felt the need to gussy this bad boy up. And tweak it, cus that’s how I roll.
I halved the recipe and made it in three 4″x4″ heart shaped springform pans, subbed Bailey’s for the Brandy and baked for 35 minutes. My cakes were about as temperamental as a teen during that time of the month… you see, they would rise beautifully and then I would discover a HUGE space between the top of the cake and where the cake actually was. I think I either over mixed the egg whites or over mixed the batter when adding the egg whites. Either way, my quick fix was cutting off the empty top shell and flipping the cake (which yielded in a pretty thin cake). I double drenched the cake in the ganache topping to make sure I had a nice thick and shiny coat. Topped with some lightly sweetened whipped cream (the cake provides plenty sweet) and a sprinkle of orange zest, this cake makes a wonderful V-Day dessert for that special someone. Or heck, make it for yourself. You deserve it!!
This cake is indulgent in every sense of the word: tender, moist, rich and chocolatey. So grab a fork, close your eyes and sigh with happiness.
Adapted from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book
Yields one 8″ cake
FOR THE CAKE:
6 ounces best-quality semisweet (58%) chocolate (I used 50% German chocolate, yum!!)
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
2/3 cup Brandy (I subbed Bailey’s. Rum works too!)
4 large eggs
1-1/3 cups sugar
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
FOR THE CHOCOLATE GLAZE:
6 ounces best-quality semisweet (58%) chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
BEFORE YOU START:
Position a rack in the center of your oven. Preheat your oven to 350F. Lightly butter an 8×2-inch round cake pan (springform works nicely here). Line the bottom with an 8-inch round of parchment paper.
TO MAKE THE CAKE:
1. In a medium bowl set over a pot of simmering, not boiling, hot water, melt the chocolate with the butter and whisk until smooth. Whisk in the brandy until smooth. Set aside to cool.
2. Separate the eggs. Place the yolks in a large mixing bowl, and the whites in an electric mixer bowl.
3. Add half of the sugar to the bowl with the yolks and whisk until thick. Add the chocolate mixture to the yolks and whisk to combine. Sift the flour, cinnamon, and salt over the chocolate batter and stir to combine.
4. In the bowl of the electric mixer fitted with the whip attachment, make a meringue by whipping the egg whites until foamy. In a slow steady stream, add the remaining sugar. Whip until the whites hold stiff but not dry peaks.
5. Briskly stir one-third of the meringue into the chocolate mixture to lighten the batter. Gently fold the remaining two-thirds of the meringue into the batter until no streaks remain.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan. Spin the pan to level the batter. bake for 80 to 90 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. (Do not do the skewer test until the cake has ben baking for at least 70 minutes or you will deflate the batter!) Remove to a wire rack (I used a cookie rack over a baking sheet lined with foil) to cool before glazing.
TO MAKE THE GLAZE:
1. When the cake is cool enough to glaze, coarsely chop the chocolate and place it in a medium bowl.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, heat the heavy cream until scalding, or until the cream is steaming and tiny bubbles have formed along the edges. Do not boil.
3. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let stand for 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Stir in the corn syrup.
TO COMPLETE THE CAKE:
1. Place the cake upside down on a rack set over the prepared cookie sheet.
2. Pour the glaze over the cake, letting the glaze spread itself. You may have to push it over the sides a bit, and use a small metal spatula or butter knife to smooth the sides. Try not to touch the top though, so it will be glossy and unmarred. Let the glaze set at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Once the glaze is set, transfer the cake to a serving plate.
PRO TIP FROM MELISSA: Whenever I have a batter that uses a meringue or whipped egg whites for leavening, I am not all that gentle with the first addition. The base, in this case the chocolate-yolk mixture, tends to be heavy, and the first addition of the meringue acts as a liaison, lightening the batter enough so that the rest of the meringue is accepted into the batter more easily, and can therefore retain maximum volume. So just get that first addition in however you can, then be gentle and fold the remaining meringue in properly.