Winning Hearts & Minds Cake
Adapted from Orangette
Serves 8 (ideally!)
7 ounces (200 grams) best-quality dark chocolate – I used Scharfenberger
7 ounces (200 grams) unsalted European-style butter (the high-butterfat kind, such as Lurpak or Beurre d’Isigny), cut into ½-inch cubes – higher butterfat = tastier cake!
1 1/3 cup (250 grams) granulated sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
1 tbs unbleached all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 375F degrees, and butter an 8-inch round cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment, and butter the parchment too.
Finely chop the chocolate (a serrated bread knife does an outstanding job of this) and melt it gently with the butter in a double boiler (or in the microwave, but the double boiler is substantially better for this), stirring regularly to combine. Add the sugar to the chocolate-butter mixture, stirring well until dissolved, and set aside to cool for a few moments. Then add the eggs one by one, stirring well after each addition before adding another. Lastly, add the flour. The batter should look silky and luxurious.
Pour batter into the buttered cake pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until the center of the cake looks set and the top is shiny and a bit crackly-looking. (I usually set the timer for 20 minutes initially, and then I check the cake every two minutes thereafter until it’s done. At 20 minutes, it’s usually quite jiggly in the center. You’ll know it’s done when it jiggles only slightly, if at all.) In my oven, it took the cake to bake in 35 minutes, but some people’s ovens run hotter, and others’ cooler. Basically, when you cut into the cake (and I suppose you have to make it once to get the gist right) you should have a slightly gooey, fudgy center, not fully cake-like. That is how you know it’s perfect.
Let the cake cool in its pan on a rack for 10 minutes; then carefully turn the cake out of the pan and revert it, so that the crackly side is facing upward. Allow to cool completely. The cake will deflate slightly as it cools. Mine even sinks a wee bit, but that’s okay – it’ll taste so amazing you’ll hardly remember its slightly droopy center.
Serve in wedges at room temperature with a loose dollop of unsweetened whipped cream (I find it more refreshing than sweetened) and some fresh cut berries. And since berries are getting to be so good right about now, be sure to have the berries with the cake. Trust me on this. And in case you’re thinking picnics (remember what I said about them recently?) – yes, this is a perfect picnic contribution. In fact, you will be the star of the show. No doubt.
Note: this cake tastes even better served the following day, but truth of the matter is, you will need exercise all self control not to eat it all at once. Consider yourself warned.