November 9, 2013 Leave your thoughts
My one true love is chocolate. Sorry to all of those admirers who have been waiting with blenders and whole roasted ducks…common, I know you’re out there…I’m taken.
But why did I have a date with my long-time lover to begin with? Allow me to explain.
Everyone, these are my friends.
Wait…you have friends?! And they’re LIVING?! And in this picture, they are eating Decadent Chocolate Cake for Eight instead of for Two.
This year, I held my second dinner party, featuring simple, tasty, healthy food. While the kale remained untouched (I try, but it takes a particular palate to appreciate the green stuff) and some shied away from the spiciness of the butternut squash soup, I was still happy with the result of showing my friends what I like to eat…but still, the star of the show was definitely dessert: chocolate cake is pretty hard to beat.
I was originally going to make some cupcakes, but a few days before the party, I heard my love calling my name. I found a simple recipe from David Lebovitz, made a few adjustments, crossed my fingers, and hoped for the best.
I put them in the oven, topped them with a scoop of ice cream, and took a bite. Oh my god, it was one of the best chocolate cakes I have EVER made.
I couldn’t quite put my finger on what the magic ingredient was…probably because there were so many little touches that together combined to make one fabulous cup of heaven. Unfortunately, I couldn’t bring any into school to share–they really need to be served hot–but whoever I served was satisfied with my result.
I downsized this recipe to make it perfect for a date night
like I go on dates or a sudden after-dinner craving. It takes very little time to put together and is most definitely restaurant-quality. It’s gluten-free and grain-free, of course–and there’s no refined sugar, either–but I did include some butter because it gives the chocolate a wonderful richness that other fats can’t quite nail. If you’re allergic to dairy, I highly recommend trying ghee (clarified butter–no milk solids), but if you absolutely can’t eat it, coconut oil or palm shortening should do. HOWEVER, I haven’t made this recipe with either, so you’re heading into uncharted territory. Seriously, if you’re avoiding butter for health reasons, just go for it: good-quality butter is fine on the health spectrum, just stumble around the internet and see!
Are you ready to have your taste buds blown? Good: let’s get started.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and grease two 6-ounce ramekins (oven-safe, please–we don’t want an explosive cake) with butter or coconut oil. Grease ’em well, folks.
Separate two eggs and place the whites in the bowl of a stand mixer. On high, whip them with 1/4 teaspoon of cream of tartar until stiff peaks form, about 4 minutes. Set the egg yolks aside.
But we’ve already seen your beautiful, kitten-like egg whites before! Boooooooringggggg. Too bad. I like taking pictures of my pretty peaks.
Once the egg whites are stiff, pour in 1 tablespoon of coconut sugar and whip just to combine, about 1 minute more. Then, leave them be!
In a double-boiler or microwave with 30-second intervals, melt 5 ounces of dark chocolate (I recommend between 73% and 85% cacao mass) with 2 tablespoons of butter. Go low and slow so the chocolate won’t burn, and remove it from the heat when it’s just melted.
To the warm chocolate-butter mixture, fold in the egg yolks, 1 tablespoon of coconut sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon of Grand Marnier, and a generous pinch of salt, cinnamon, clove, and ground black pepper. When I say “a generous pinch,” I’m looking at somewhere around 1/8 teaspoon, but no way am I exact. The idea is that you want a little, but not a lot.
Using a spatula, gently fold in 1/3 of the egg white mixture into the chocolate. Slowly and carefully incorporate it into the chocolate until no streaks remain, then add the rest of the egg whites. DO NOT over-mix, or you’ll ruin the eventual fluffiness! Stop when you think you’ll be done in about 5 turns of the spatula.
Evenly divide the batter between the two prepared cups, and bake until just barely firm on top, about 10 to 12 minutes. Your objective is to slightly under-bake. This way, you’ll be left with a warm, gooey texture instead of a dry cake.
Let cool for just a minute or two, then serve alone or with a scoop of ice cream.
What’s your favorite elegant dessert? Leave me a comment here or on Facebook and let me know!