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Thursday, 31 May 2012

Dark times call for These Measures

As a child I was afraid of the dark. Back in the days when I shared a bedroom with one of my brothers (he in the top bunk, me in the bottom), I remember pleading with him after lights-out to 'stay up half night'. After lengthy whispered conversations in which he would try and make me understand that he just couldn't do that, we found a compromise; he would dangle his arm off the side of his bunk, and I would reach up and hold it. This solution was none too practical for either of us. I progressed to taking comfort from the sight of his dangled arm till eventually, I didn't need the reassurance any more.

These days, darkness makes me think of other things. Mystery. Saturation. Depression. Shadows.

Chocolate.

I'm sure there was a time when I liked milk chocolate; even now I sometimes crave the mouth-coating sweetness of white, not-really-chocolate-at-all chocolate. Case in point: a white chocolate Lindor ball. Exhibit 2: Green & Black's organic white chocolate.

But we're not talking about lightness here. We're talking about dark. And now, in the first of my 'cook' posts, I will share with you my all-time favourite Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake recipe. I've adapted this from my little Womens Weekly chocolate cakes recipe book (original recipe here). I love this recipe because it has no butter in it, but it produces the deepest, darkest cake with a beautifully dense crumb. It's not a mud cake, but it's not airy either. When I get an intense chocolate craving, I make this; when I take that first bite, I wonder why I ever even bother looking at other chocolate cake recipes at all. I have tweaked the eggs - instead of using 2 yolks and 4 whites, I use three of each - no muss, no fuss.

No-Butter Dark Chocolate Fudge cake

85g dark eating chocolate (I use the 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Chips I bought in bulk from from Costco. They lasted a while, but they're all gone now. I miss them.)
50g cocoa powder
200g firmly packed brown sugar
125ml boiling water
3 egg yolks
30g ground almond
50g wholemeal plain flour
3 egg whites

Preheat oven to moderate (180-190 degrees C). Line base and side of deep 20cm round cake pan with baking paper.

Combine chocolate, cocoa and sugar with the water in large bowl; stir until smooth. Add egg yolks; whisk to combine. Fold in ground almond and flour.

Beat egg whites in small bowl, with electric mixer or by hand, until firm peaks form.

Gently add egg white mixture into chocolate mixture, in two batches; pour into prepared pan.

Bake in moderate oven about 40 minutes. Stand in pan 5 minutes. Turn onto wire rack; remove paper. Savour.

You'll never bake another chocolate cake again.


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