I don’t know about you, but when the walls start to close in, I seek out some pleasurable distraction and most of the time that involves me in front of my range, creating something delicious and comforting.
Today that distraction came in the form of my Simple French Chocolate Cake.
Creative enough to distract me from the stacks of moving boxes but simple enough that I wasn’t overwhelmed by nitpicky details and anything too fussy.
I love this cake because it is so easy to put together and yet it tastes outstanding. I have about six different chocolate cakes that I make but it seems I end up turning to this one far more than the others. Delicious treats don’t always require the skills of a pastry chef and this gateau chocolat takes just a few minutes to create and I so I always keep the ingredients on hand.
We are closing in on the two-week point. That is, a little more than two weeks ’til the closing and yet no word from underwriting. I vacillate between total peace, clarity and trust in God to holding in hormonally induced sobs, praying that all this packing wasn’t for nought. I’ve completely destroyed this home and farm. There is no turning back.
And so I bake it off. With Taylor Swift obnoxiously looping through my already overwhelmed mind.
- 1 cup organic cane juice sugar
- 10 ounces 72% dark chocolate, preferably Valrhona, broken into pieces
- ¾ cup plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 1 vanilla bean, scraped or 3 teaspoons of quality vanilla extract (I use Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla)
- 5 farm fresh eggs, separated
- ¼ cup organic flour, sifted
- Pinch of sea salt
- ¼ cup powdered sugar for decor
- Preheat oven to 325 F/163 C
- If your sugar is not super fine you can make it so by whizzing it in a food processor. Superfine sugar is very nice when adding it to the egg whites later in this recipe.
- Using your fingers, use one tablespoon of the butter and generously coat the inside of the pan
- Using ¼ cup of the sugar, sprinkle the buttered pan and then tap out the excess into the sink (this makes a delicious, slightly crunchy coating on the bottom of your cake.
- Set aside 3 tablespoons of what is left of the sugar.
- Put the remaining sugar, chocolate and butter into a double boiler until the sugar has dissolved and butter and chocolate have melted.
- Scrape out the inside of a vanilla bean and stir the contents into the chocolate mixture. Or add your teaspoons of vanilla extract.
- Remove from heat.
- Set aside and slowing add the egg yolks, one at a time and then stir in the sifted flour.
- Using a clean bowl whisk the egg whites until they froth and then add the salt.
- Continue until soft peaks form. (Can be done by hand or with a mixer.) Add the remaining sugar and beat the egg whites until the are stiff and shiny.
- Begin mixing by adding half of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and then gently fold in what is left.
- Pour the mixture into the pan, shake to evenly distribute and back for 35-45 minutes. The top should spring back when pressed.
- After removing from oven allow it to cool by placing it on a wire rack and removing the sides of the spring form pan and allowing it to cool.
- Once it has, it can be left plain or using a clean sifter and the ¼ cup of powdered sugar sprinkle it with powdered sugar.
- For best results the cake should be cook when you do this or else the sugar disappears into any moisture on the cake surface.
Thankfully I haven’t packed my beautiful Patisserie cake dome. It’s one of those beauties that I can not bare to part with until the last minute. This time I left the powdered sugar off but I’m going to show you the following photos I dug out of my Instagram files so you can see some of the fun you can have with this cake. Last year it’s what I used for Amélie’s Christmas Eve Birthday cake and this summer I took it as a hostess gift to one of my favourite Instagram/Barn Sale friends, “Rubbish Farm”.
I promise, this one is so easy and fantastic it’s going to become a go-to cake for you, just like it is for me.
And now, I’m going to put down the packing tape and have a piece as I stare at the calendar, willing it to move:)