Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Chocolate Cake for Friends

So it has been 10 days since I last posted, even though I signed on for the National Blog Posting Month and was supposed to write 30 posts in 30 days. Don't worry, I'm not going to post 10 times today. I am just going to explain that, while I wanted to post every day, my life interceded: work got hectic, I devoted all of my writing time to working on my book, and honestly, I haven't cooked that much.
But today I'm back, and revved up for a fantastic day of cooking. We are hosting a dinner party for some friends tonight and the menu is stocked. I'm making my sausage lasagna, veal with artichokes and mushrooms in a champagne cream sauce ( I'll post the recipe tomorrow), a fresh tomato and cucumber salad, and finally, a dense delicious chocolate cake.
My mom taught me to always, always bake dessert first. Even when she teaches her cooking classes, she uses this method. So last night, after a ten hour shift at work, and late-night grocery shopping at the 24 hour store, I baked a cake for my friends.
Even though I was so tired, there is something reviving about baking a cake that you know people will enjoy. And although my day will be filled with cooking and cleaning, I know that at 7:30 when our friends arrive, it will all be worth it.

Dense Chocolate Cake:
Adopted from Molly Wizenberg
* I made one slight change by adding a tablespoon of instant coffee to the batter to intensify the chocolate flavor. Besides that, this is taken directly from her amazing book, A Homemade Life. If you haven't read it yet, get it ASAP!

7 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped 1 3/4 sticks of unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar 1 tablespoon instant coffee powder 5 large eggs 1 tablespoon flour

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F, and butter an 8 inch round cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and butter that too.
Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl. I used a double-boiler for this, but you can also melt it in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl. Just be careful not to burn the chocolate.
When the mixture is smooth add the sugar and coffee powder, stirring well to incorporate. Set batter aside to cool for 5 minutes. Then add the eggs, one by one, mixing well after each addition. Add the flour and stir to mix well. The batter should be dark and silky.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake for about 25 minutes until the top of the cake is lightly cracked and the center looks set.
Remove the cake from the oven and set on cooling rack. Allow the cake to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Carefully turn it out of the pan and then flip it onto a serving plate, so that the crackly side faces up. The cake is fairly delicate so this is a bit tricky, but Molly gives great advice on how to do this:
Place a sheet of aluminum foil over the pan, and place a large, flat plate, ( not the serving plate) on top of the foil, facing down. Hold the cake pan and plate firmly together and quickly, carefully, flip them. The pan should now be on top of the plate, with the foil between them. Remove the pan, revealing the cake, which is now upside down. Remove the parchment paper. Place the serving plate gently atop the cake. Wedging your index fingers between the plates to keep them from squishing the cake, flip them so that the cake is now right side up. Remove the foil.
Serve with fresh whipped cream or vanilla ice cream.


  1. Antonietta, your dinner party menu sounds perfect - wish I were coming! Oh and chocolate cake - who doesn't love that? Enjoy!

  2. I loved that book and need to make some of those recipes. Hope your dinner party went well.

  3. hello beautiful your chocolate cake is perfect for a night out with friends ....
    good Sunday ..

  4. What a rich and delicious cake.

  5. EXCELLENT call, adding a bit of coffee. just a dash does so much to enhance the chocolate flavor. great-looking cake, antonietta!