Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Chocolate fudge cake

Chocolate fudge cake

I find it quite funny but every single year, around the same period, food related (but not only) topics are recurrently the same: in late spring light recipes to lose weight before going on holidays to the beach, in December rich traditional dishes for deciding the menu of meals during the festive season, then at the beginning of the year detox foods and recipes to purify the body and get back in shape, and then healthy food resolutions, new regimes and diets, ... and, around February, it's time for fine recipes for the Valentine's Day dinner, and desserts and sweet goodies - most of them with lots of chocolate too. 
To be honest I don't like Valentine's Day and all the celebrations of this sort, and I have never celebrated in my life by my own choice; particularly what I really do not like is all the commercial stuff around them. But let me say that Valentine's Day, whether one's in a couple or not, can be a good excuse to pamper ourselves and our beloved ones. And to me one of the best way to remind people - and ourselves - that we love them is to make (rather than buy) something good, And I agree that chocolate is the perfect ingredient for a homemade treat, and not only for Valentine's Day.
The recipe I'm going to share is that for a rich, decadent and absolutely moreish chocolate fudge cake, one of my all time favorites. Besides being very rich in chocolate, the peculiarity of this cake, which is flour-less and baked in two times, is that it comes out with two layers having different textures: the bottom is similar to a rich brownie, while the upper layer has the consistency of a firm, dense chocolate mousse. A cake for real (dark) chocolate lovers!

Chocolate fudge cake

It's quite easy to make, it only requires times due to the two-steps baking process; but the result is definitely worth the effort (or better, the time). I've made it several times always with great success. The only important thing to remember when making this cake is that for a good result you must use top quality ingredients (this is a general rule but here, with few ingredients required and a simple preparation method, it is even more important): this means high quality chocolate, good butter and fresh, possibly free range, eggs. To me if you can find Valhrona chocolate (or another premium chocolate of your choice) the cake will be on another level, and if you use chocolate from supermarkets, choose the best you can (for instance among the brands available here in Dubai Lindt is my favorite). Butter has to be fresh and of high quality (no cheap stuff or butter substitutes) and so the eggs. 
There are many recipes for chocolate fudge cake; my favorite - and the one I always use - is, lightly adapted, the recipe from "Ottolenghi- The cookbook" by Yotam Ottolenghi and Sami Tamimi. I actually don't change the recipe much, since it is deliciously perfect as it is: I just reduce the amount of butter and sugar (see below). 
Chocolate fudge cake

PS: if you're looking for a Valentine's Day treats, check also these recipes for individual desserts ( light dark chocolate mousse and triple chocolate mousse), this chocolate and red fruits mousse cake (that can also be made as individual desserts),  this tender chocolate cake or, for a simpler and smaller treat this sablés chocolate a la fleur de sel . 

Chocolate fudge cake
adapted from "Ottolenghi- The cookbook"
makes one 20 cm Æ cake  
240 g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes  - I use 200g
265 g dark chocolate (52% cocoa solids), cut into small pieces
95 g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), cut into small piece
290 g light muscovado sugar- I use 220g
4 tablespoons water
5 large eggs, separated
pinch of salt
cocoa powder for dusting
Preheat the oven to 170°C (350°F). Butter a 20 cm (8") springform pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment paper.
Place the butter and the two types of chocolate in a very large heat proof bowl (it should accommodate the entire batter). Put the muscovado sugar and water in a small sauce pan, stir and bring to a boil over medium heat. Pour the boiling syrup over the chocolate and butter and stir until they have melted. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, to the chocolate mixture and then set the bowl aside until the mixture comes to room temperature.
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and salt to a firm but not dry meringue.
Using a rubber spatula, gently fold the meringue into the cooled chocolate mixture one-third at a time, and combine well.
 Pour about two-thirds of the batter into your prepared pan (about 800g, reserving the remaining batter for later) and level gently with a spatula. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center comes out almost clean. Remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool completely. Flatten the cake with an icing spatula. Don't worry about breaking the crust. Pour the rest of the batter on top and level the surface again. Return the cake to the oven and bake for a further 20-25 minutes. The cake should still have moist crumbs when tested with a skewer. Allow to cool completely before removing from the pan. Dust with cocoa powder before serving.
The cake will keep, covered, at room temperature for 4 days.

Note: If you want to simplify and shorten the preparation process, you can also bake the whole cake at once: it will still be very good even if it won't have two layers with different textures. 
Chocolate fudge cake

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