For me the chocolate cake is my faithful friend and is by my side from my first birthday. It understands me, quietly without answering back, it doesn’t complain when I want to change it. Somtimes it’s the consistency and structure of chocolate, sometimes it’s cocoa powder, sometimes is chopped or melted, sometimes I only want to change the way it looks. Do you have a friend that quietly waits while you change her/his outfit? Without asking her/him for prmition? This kind of relationship supports this terrible tendency of mine. And what a shoulder to cry on..It listens me and definitely after every encounter it makes me feel better. When I’m happy after sweet meeting the happiness kicks up a notch. Having said that, it doesn’t mean that any chocolate cake brings that feeling. I have tasted many and have been disappointed even when I haven’t had any expectations. Children birthdays were major tasting events. When made by eager mums or grannies (haven’t been on a birthday where dad, or uncle or granddad made a cake, I would like to though), you were safe, if ordered from a shop or bakery … not so good. Usually the cake was half vanilla with fruits, and half chocolate. Best bet was on vanilla side. They were usually either dried or soaked in sugar syrup, filled with “margecream”, yes, I know that it should be buttercream but somebody ignored that fact. And my current strategy is stuffing myself with pigs in the blanket, cheeses and salamis, prosciutto and melons, excusing myself with gastric problems that can tolerate only savory and spicy dishes but not sweet (?!).
The best cakes, for me, are the simplest. Made in 20 minutes not in 15 stages, no need for acetate paper or liquid glucose (not that I’m not impressed by mirror like chocolate frosting, and all those show stoppers made with acetate paper).
There are cakes with filling and frostings, and those just “cakey” ones. Usually they are labeled afternoon cakes to go with tea or coffee. This one is also fine late at night, when insomnia kicks in. I found a lot of versions, with or without flour. Now when the fear of gluten is so big that you can rob the bank with baguette, this version is more interesting.
FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH ALMONDS
200g chocolate (I prefer 70% )
200g butter (we don’t make a cake with salted one)
200 g sugar
6 medium eggs
200g finely grounded almonds
a little bit of salt
vanilla (vanilla scented sugar will do, vanilla esence wow, vanilla paste, you are rocking, vanilla pod with scraped seeds, we are already buddies)
1 tbls of amaretto
Grind the almonds, or go to the shop for already ground ones no one will take it against you (difference is obvious, help yourself with the almond essence)
Weigh the ingredients and heat up your oven at 180C, Butter the springform pan. (this amounts goes perfectly in the round springform of 24 cm in diameter). Please don’t go around looking for the ruler or meter it takes too much time, and then eventually you found out that the most of the springforms have at the back, etched its diameter, And you end up in children room, foam forming on your mouth about the state of the room, …don’t bother…if the mixture is just few cm high just deduct the baking time. Where was I, oh yes, make a steam bath for your butter and chopped chocolate. In the meantime, first beat the whites and salt, when peaks are softer than in Antartica you are done, don’t wash the mixer paddle, continue to beat yolks and sugar around 5 minutes, you will get the volume and they will get pale out of the constant spinning. Add a splash of amaretto for getting them back to life and add vanilla. Let chocolate and butter cool for 5 minutes after they have spend quality time over the Turkish bath, add almonds, then they are a bit cooled, add the chocolate/butter/almond mixture to the eggs mixing them until they incorporate. Leave the mixer, and with spoon(ful) carefully incorporate whites gently folding. Put it in the springform, bake it for 30-40 minutes. The cake will be soft but not runny in the center, decorate it as you wish and change it as you wish, (walnuts, hazelnuts, I’ve tried them all) it will be your new friend.