As I said in a previous post, DP and I traveled a lot (for us) this summer. Starting in April and finishing in late July, we went to St. John, San Francisco, Cape Cod, Princeton, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles. Some of those places for just a night, some for longer, but either way by the time the end of July rolled around we felt a little bit of a mess. Housework neglected, freewheeling spending, many weeks of skipped grocery shopping and take out meals, "vacation" lifestyle...let's just say we needed to detox hard. And we are. We are well on our way--the house is looking a lot better, regular shopping and weeknight cooking have resumed, and the spending has been slightly curtailed. Oh, and the gym? We are rebuilding our friendship. Although if they don't fix the air conditioning we may resume our previous casual acquaintance status.
Since we are currently in the throws of eating nothing but sprouted bread, fruits and vegetables, cabbage salad, and other assorted healthy foods, I'm going to take a moment and reflect on cake. In my family the traditional birthday cake is cherry cake. Actually, my mother would argue that it was her special cake and that we all stole it from her. Either way, it's delicious. Flavored with maraschino cherry juice, the bright pink frosting is adorned with pecans and glistening artificially colored and flavored shells of fruit--we like to cram so much on it is difficult to find space for the candles. Friends who have been served the cake generally look at it first with an air of suspicion, then taste it, love it, and find themselves looking forward to it year after year.
So that's what I have on my birthday, but DP is an entirely different story. While she likes the cherry cake, she wants (and deserves) her own special cake. We haven't settled on an every year favorite yet, and this year she requested either a yellow cake or flourless chocolate. I opted to make a flourless chocolate cake (because I like chocolate better...yeah, I'm a gem). As previously mentioned, I am not a baker. This cake makes someone like me look like a whiz in the kitchen, and that I appreciate. It was also delicious, and I might be able to convince myself that its lack of flour makes it detox approved...
but most likely not. Oh well, my birthday is coming up in November.
Flourless Chocolate Cake (or La Bete Noire)
from Bon Appetit
1 cup water
3/4 cup sugar
9 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
18 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used semisweet--next time I'd use bittersweet)
6 large eggs
1 cup heavy whipping cream
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (same above note)
Preheat oven to 350F. Butter a 10 inch cake pan (springform would be easier, but I used my silicone pan and it worked just fine). Line bottom of pan with parchment paper, butter parchment. Wrap 3 layers of tin foil around pan (I tried to do this, failed, and it was fine). Combine 1 cup water and sugar in a small saucepan, bring to a boil and stir until sugar dissolves. Simmer 5 minutes, remove from heat.
Melt butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk sugar syrup into chocolate, cool slightly (I cooled slightly more than slightly--I was afraid I'd end up with scrambled eggs mixed in with my cake). Add eggs to chocolate mixture and whisk until well blended. Pour batter into prepared pan. Place cake pan in large roasting pan, add enough water to come halfway up the sides of the pan.
Bake cake until center doesn't shake when jiggled, about 50 minutes. Remove cake pan from roasting pan and place on cooling rack. Cool completely in pan.
Bring whipping cream to a simmer in a small saucepan, remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Pour over cake still in pan. Refrigerate until ganache is set, ~2 hours.
Pour remaining whipping cream (1 cup from the 2 cup pint) in medium bowl. Add 1 tablespoon sugar (or to taste) and dash of flavored vinegar (I used pomegranate). Whisk your little heart out, until soft peaks form. You could use a mechanical whisker, but I really like to do it myself. Adjust sugar and vinegar--you are going for lightly sweetened.