My first recipe was brought on by the specialist of special occasions, my daddy's birthday, for which I was tasked with baking the cake. The tricky part, however, is that he hates cake in it's truest form, and if a dessert does not contain at least 10x the recommended daily dosage of chocolate, don't you dare call it a dessert. With this in mind, I happened upon THIS, Bon Appetit's La Bete Noir. Let the games begin...
- 1 cup water
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 9 tablespoons (1 stick plus 1 tablespoon) unsalted butter, diced
- 18 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 6 large eggs
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 10-inch-diameter spring-form pan. Line bottom of pan with parchment round; butter parchment. Wrap 3 layers of heavy-duty foil around the pan.
Combine 1 cup water and sugar in small saucepan. Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Melt butter in large saucepan over low heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk sugar syrup into chocolate. Add eggs to chocolate and whisk until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Place cake pan in large roasting pan. Add hot water halfway up sides of cake pan.
Bake 50 minutes and cool on wire rack.
For the ganache, bring whipping cream to simmer in small saucepan over medium heat and then remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour over cake still in pan and refrigerate 2 hours. EAT.
Recipe Ease: overall, very easy to follow.
Yumminess: easily the best chocolate fudge cake around. it's fudgy, dense, decadent, and devilishly indulgent
Health Benefits: really? who didn't leap for joy when we found out chocolate has 'health benefits' but don't push it.
$$$: assuming you have water, sugar, eggs and butter beforehand, approximately $12.
Best in Show-worthy: duh...winning. this cake came out to be absolutely stunning. the only thing better was the taste
My second recipe was inspired by a second, duly special occasion, my oldest cousin's engagement and a celebratory dinner at our grandmother's for which I was commissioned to bake a dessert (noticing a pattern?). Given that chocolate adoration is genetic, it was another no-brainer. THAT is where Southern Living's Chocolate Fudge Cake came into play...
- unsweetened cocoa
- 2, 8-oz. packages semisweet chocolate squares, chopped
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
- 5 eggs, separated
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 9-inch spring-form pan and dust with unsweetened cocoa.
Melt chopped chocolate and butter in saucepan on low heat until smooth. Remove from heat.
Whisk egg yolks and vanilla in large bowl. Stir 1/4 cup of egg mixture into warm chocolate. Then gradually stir in the remainder.
Beat egg whites at high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold 1/3 of beaten egg whites into chocolate. Gently fold in the rest and spread evenly in prepared pan.
Bake for 25 minutes and cool on wire rack for at least 10 minutes before enjoying.
Recipe Ease: not so much. egg-whites can be scary.
Yumminess: delicious. more mild than THIS, but that's okay for some people I'm sure. cake-like texture.
Health Benefits: see THIS
$$$: clear winner here, coming in at 1/2 the price of THIS
Best in Show-worthy: and here's where it gets sad. while delicious, this cake was really not too presentable (see below) unless you're a huge fan of cracked top cakes or excessive powdered sugar usage.
add your favorite citrus zest (1 orange, 1 lemon, 1 grapefruit) to the glaze in THIS
add 1 tablespoon espresso powder to THIS or THAT
drown THAT in powdered sugar
add 1 tablespoon Kahlua or coffee liquor to THIS or THAT
cover a completely cooled THIS or THAT with your favorite berry
Now here we are with my first dual coming to a close, but like any chocolate fiend, I've saved the best for last: My perfected flourless chocolate cake of the millenium, albeit only a slight tweak to THIS, by the delectable additions of 1 tspn salt to the cake batter and the zest of one whole orange to the ganache.
|orange you to die for...|