I have a lot of cookbooks, but I rarely use them. That is, I don’t often actually follow the recipes. I read through them, maybe make a dish once, and only when its really to my liking I will make it again. Most often I use the recipes as an inspiration to make my own creation. So I do put the books to good use, just in a different way.
Recently I wanted to make a chocolate cake when friends that were staying over for the weekend. I looked though all the recipes I have but didn’t find anything the was just right. Some would be too heavy, others would contain flour (I prefer wheat-free) or otherwise not quite what I wanted. So I decided to take the best of a couple of recipes and make a new one. The result was perfect. Not too heavy, not too sweet, slightly gooey, and with a rich chocolate flavor.
This cake is perfect as a dessert, or any other time!
You will need:
- 1 cup (organic) bittersweet chocolate chips;
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter;
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar;
- 1/4 tsp. salt;
- 1 tsp. (or 1 package) espresso powder (this really brings out the chocolate flavor without making the cake taste of coffee! I you like a delicate mocha flavor, use 2 teaspoons.);
- 1 cup chopped walnuts;
- 3 large eggs;
- 1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder;
- zest of 1 orange – grated (wash the orange before using. I use a grater directly on the orange skin.)
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease a round spring form pan (8″/20 cm) with some butter.
How to make it:
Split the eggs into yolks and whites. Make sure the bowl you use for the whites is completely clean.
Put the chocolate chips and the butter in a heat resistant bowl. Put the bowl in a slightly larger pan that is filled with water (“au bain marie”). Put the pan with the bowl on the stove. As the water heats (make sure it doesn’t boil), stir the chocolate and butter as they’re melting. Keep stirring until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and are well combined. (Note: you could instead melt the chocolate chips and butter in the microwave. This is obviously faster but takes away part of a fun and mindful cooking experience.)
Transfer the melted chocolate/butter into a mixing bowl. Add the sugar, salt, espresso powder and orange zest. Then add the egg yolks and beat briefly until smooth. Mix in the cocoa powder and the walnuts.
Beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt till they start forming peaks and don’t fall out the bowl when you hold it upside down. Slide the egg whites into the cake mixture and very carefully combine. You don’t want the egg whites to loose their fluffiness and you also want to make sure they are blended in well, so it’s a little tricky.
Pour the cake mixture into the greased pan.
Bake for about 25 minutes, or until fully baked. (Check by sticking a wooden toothpick into the middle of the cake, it should come out clean.)
Remove the cake from the oven when done. Leave it for about 5 minutes. Then take the sides of the pan and let cool completely.
You can serve the cake with some (unsweetened) whipped cream (use organic heavy whipping cream that you whip up ourself. It tastes so much better than store-bought!) and fresh raspberries, or just leave it plain.
Ps. By the time the cake was ready my friends had arrived. I forgot to take a picture of the cake (we were too busy enjoying it!), but had taken a picture of my kitchen sink earlier. I love this picture, but it may not be the best invitation to try out this recipe ;-). So at the top of this blog post I used a picture (not their recipe) from cookdiary.net instead (thank you!).