Sunday, January 9, 2011

Molly's Chocolate Cake

Jeanne from Cookisister posted the loveliest poem on her blog the other day. Please go there and read it quickly. Are you back? Isn't it lovely? We all know that feeling of suddently catching sight of yourself in an unexpected moment. Unfortunately the last time it happened to me was not that great. I saw a picture of myself taken at Christmas, and I was absolutely shocked about the amount of weight I've put on. I blame the fact that we don't have a full-lenghth mirror in our new house. Of course I noticed my jeans not fitting quite as well as they should, but I haven't actually realised how fat I look. Must be all those Christmas Cookies I made and sampled. And ate. So I did what any reasonable person in my situation would do - I made a chocolate cake and ate half of it before it was even properly cooled down.

But it was so worth it. It was after all the recipe from the lovely Molly Wizenberg from the lovely Orangette, whose book A Homemade Life was the January choice for the lovely book club I'm lucky enough to be part of. (I agree, enough with the "lovely"s, but that's what this cake does to you, I swear). What a great book. I enjoyed absolutely every letter of it. Every chapter, every story, every recipe. Orangette is one of the blogs I read from the first post for three days straight until the last when I found it. Her blog has so much character and warmth, and this book only added depth and more background. I loved reading about her childhood, her time in Paris, her memories of her dad, and getting to know the lovely Brandon a little better.

And oh, the recipes. How lovely are the recipes. My favourite thing about a new book these days  is deciding what to cook after reading it. Usually I make up my mind pretty early on. Not with A Homemade Life. Everything sounded so delicious, I changed my mind every few pages. Banana bread with chocolate and crystallized ginger. No, coeurs a la creme with raspberry puree. No, chocolate cupcakes. No, Hooser Pie. Anyway, halfway through the book I realised I'll just have to start from the beginning and work my way through to the end.

Then the book fell into the bath. I love reading in the bath late at night (multifunctioning, you see), and in an unguarded moment the book fell into the water. It was soaked. And, I'm sorry to say, this is not the first book it happened to. You'd think I'd learn my lesson, but no. Still reading in the bath. So I had to race through the last few (wet) pages before it dried out and became impossible to read. I left it open at the last recipe when I finished, just in case I couldn't open the book again without tearing the pages. And the recipe happened to be this one for chocolate cake.

Now, taking the risk of sounding cras, I just want to say that this cake is bloody awesome. Actually, cake is a term applied pretty loosely here. I'm not sure that any recipe calling for a huge amount of chocolate, ditto for the butter, eggs, lots of sugar, and a single tablespoon of flour could technically be called a cake. Not that I mind. "Chocolate" and "too rich" are not words I ever use in the same sentence. I couldn't wait for this cake to come out of the oven. The smell was pure chocolate - dark and rich and smokey. And the sight of all that gooey, wobbly chocolate was more than I could take. Like I mentioned before, it was halfway gone soon after coming out of the pan. This was actually intended for dinner that night with my family-in-law, and I can't tell you how relieved I was when there was only one other taker. So much more for me. In fact, I had to force myself to take a picture of at least the last slice so that I have something to show you, before eating it straight from the plate with my fingers. Sorry about that.

So, the diet starts tomorrow. I'm thinking I'll have to stop sampling recipes from this book at least until I've lost a few centimetres, because I'm absolutely sure they'll all turn out this lovely. Just like the blog and it's author.

Molly's Chocolate Cake
Serves 1, or around 8 if you're more restrained than I am

200g bittersweet chocolate, chopped
200g unsalted butter, cubed
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granualted sugar
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
Whipped cream, to serve (I never got round to this, but I'm sure it's delicious)

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius, and butter a 20cm round cake tin. Line the botton of the pan with baking paper, and butter the paper too.

Slowly heat the chocolate and butter in a bowl over simmering water until melted, stirring until smooth. Add the sugar and stir well to incorporate. Set the batter aside to cool for 5 minutes.

Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one. Add the flour and stir well until incorporated. The mixture will be dark and sily (yes, indeed, it will)

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin, and bake for about 25 minutes. The top will be lightly cracked, but edges puffed, and the centre of the cake will look set, but wobble ever so slightly when you jiggle the pan.

Let the cake cool in the tin for 15 minutes, then turn it out onto a serving plate. (you will need two plates to flip it over on).

Supposedly this cake is even better after frozen, and the lovely miss Molly suggests you freeze it for at least 24 hours, then defrost before serving. If you have the self-discipline to do this, you're a better man than I am. It's pretty bloody good straight away. And then about half and hour later. And then 2 hours later for dessert. And the last bit the next morning for breakfast. Try not to make it when there's other people in the house - they might just want a piece.


  1. Ek vrek oor hierdie koek. En oor Orangette. Totally 'n fan-girl.

  2. The chocolate cake is hands down the most decadent of all recipes Adele. Nice post.


  3. Yes, it is a good book. I finished reading mine but have to make and post from it yet. Hopefully in the coming week.
    Yes, its an almost flourless cake so it is rich. I made one of these for a DB challenge and we throughly enjoyed it. Its a great way to finishe off the extended Xmas season. :)

  4. Lovely chocolate cake. So yumm :) I am drooling looking at the pictures :)

  5. I am still waiting for my copy. Hopefully will post b4 this monthend. Love the way you read in bath. Obviously it may get soaked. Cake is perfect and am drooling. All the best with your diet. I am at present abt to leave for gym (tch,tch lets see if some change comes out of it) :D

  6. Love this cake and I got so much chocolate for Christmas that I can use!!!

  7. Thank you for all the lovely comments, everybody! Yes, this cake is awesome. I think if you have to cook only one cake for the rest of your life, this should be it.

    Aparna, I'm a DB too, but I missed a few challenges when we moved. This was one of them.

    Curry Leaf, good luck with the gym. I feel for you, my friend.

    Nina, I have so much chocolate too! 1.5kg of Toblerone staring at me, to be precise. I'm currently looking for a diet where it's OK to have 1.5kg of Toblerone. Any ideas?

  8. I just finished the book and I can't make up my mind - I want to cook every single recipe in there!

  9. I agree totally, Simran. They are all fabulous.

  10. That cake sounds awesome! I think we are all carrying some extra weight from the Christmas excesses. Thanks for visiting, nice to meet you.

  11. I have to read this book from the sound of it! the rich chocolate cake sounds familiar!

  12. I must check out this book as it sounds lovely. Your cake looks divine! Hehe at the serving notation :D

  13. Nice to meet you too, Sous.

    Joumama, the book is wonderful. I highly recommend it.

    NQN, glad you got it. I'm usually the only one who thinks I'm funny.

  14. Hee hee - I like your serving suggestions! The cake DOES look fabulous - I love flourless (and nearly flourless) chocolate cakes.

  15. I am waiting to shed a few lbs before I make that cake. But no matter what, the cake will be made before the year is over, because I agree, if I have to eat one cake for the rest of my life, this will be it! Great review girl. Agree with every word.

  16. Oh Wow! Dangerous stuff - I certainly would never get round to freezing before eating either. Well done for the cake making it through to breakfast!