I’m a chef, not a baker. While I have never served a sub-par dessert at an dinner party, the events leading up to the perfectly plated final course are often less graceful that the finished product. Take this cake for example: it was not the dessert planned for the elegant party of 10 I catered in Sausalito last December. The dessert on the menu was actually a chocolate tart. Based on the frantic poll I took that day, I’m guessing about half of you reading this are thinking is there a difference? While the other half are worried about what is going to happen next.
What happens next is that the tart crust failed. Miserably. I couldn’t bring myself to try and recreate it, and perused the internet for a simple chocolate dessert that could take the place of the chocolate tart I had planned on serving. (The difference, by the way: tart is a crust + filling, torte is a cake, often dense and rich)
I was delighted to find David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Idiot Cake. Not because I’m an idiot, but because I’m a chef. And in my mind, baking comes about as naturally to chefs as it does to idiots. Maybe even less naturally? At any rate, I needed a chocolate dessert, and decided that the torte would be so delicious, no one would mind that it wasn’t actually a tart. They didn’t, in fact, and were perfectly happy to eat this incredibly rich chocolate masterpiece, which is almost more chocolatey than chocolate itself.
The following recipe is adapted from the above mentioned cake. It came out perfectly, and the only change I made was to substitute coconut palm sugar for cane. And of course I used pastured eggs, grass fed butter, and the best chocolate I could find.
10 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (use the best you can find!)
7 oz grass fed butter
5 pastured eggs
200 grams coconut palm sugar (a scant 1 C)
butter and cocoa powder for dusting the pan
Preheat your oven to 350°
- Butter a 9 inch springform pan and coat it with cocoa powder. If it’s not 100% water tight, wrap it tightly with aluminum foil about two thirds up the pan.
- In a double boiler, melt the chocolate and butter until smooth, stirring occasionally.
- In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar until well combined
- Slowly combine the sugar / eggs with the butter / chocolate.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and cover snugly with foil.
- Place in a larger pan or roasting dish and fill that with hot water so that it goes about 1/2 way up the cake pan.
- Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes. It won’t look like a typical cake when it’s done; it won’t be cracked or have risen. It will look like chocolate pudding, but will be just set in the center.
- Lift the cake from the water bath and cool completely on a cooling rack
- Serve thin slices with fresh berries and whipped cream, or coconut cream.
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