My once-in-a-while baking indulgence
My approach to baking sort of quickly took a turn for the inspired, spontaneous, go-with-the-flow kind, without too much effort. I know, its just the kind of thing purists mock and deride us novices about. But what can I say, I’m just not the kind of person who likes to do things to the T, all the time. Maybe if and when I go to baking school, I will learn the art from scratch, and see the value in why precision and procedure is key. But until then, I will do what works for me. Which is to wing it 9 out of 10 times, make adjustments to pacify my conscience, replace butter with oil when I can, go sugar-free and eggless when I can help it, and still enjoy my cake. But every now and then, I come across wicked things like this recipe, by the Baker in Disguise. And that 1 out of 10 times, I am in awe of people like her, who take up baking challenges, participate with baking groups and stick with technique-heavy recipes, rather than chicken out in favour of those that can be made in ones sleep.
Every now and then the lets-challenge-myself-and-do-something-different keeda in me surfaces too. And a few weeks ago it serendipitously occurred when I saw her gooey, sinful, densely chocolate-y Boca Negra, that threatened to give anyone who took a bite a black mouth. Almost-flourless held together only by the richness of butter+dark chocolate+bourbon, what’s not to like? I see cakes like that and immediately want to grab at them.
Sarvani was kind enough to send mer the recipe, complete with her own adjustments and learnings from the attempts that she and others within the baking group had made. So I was more than prepared for what could go wrong, and how I could minimize disaster.
What I couldn’t control however, was the bitching temperatures we had here in Goa until a few days ago. So while I did bake the cake for the stipulated time, I think I could have overdone it a bit, to compensate for the immediate melt-fest that it was going to face, when I put it it out to rest for a full 15 minutes as instructed.
So on day 1, I had a cooked, but floppy cake. A gooey fudgy dense mass of chocolate that didn’t quite hold shape. Did that stop us from eating it anyway? No. So I packed the rest away in butter paper and stashed it in the fridge, overnight. That did the trick.The next day, the cake held shape and I was able to cut it our in bars and serve it with a mango and lime compote.And this dessert kicked some serious butt, reminding me that once in a way it is good to indulge. Butter, eggs, sugar, the works.
What I used
(I halved the original recipe and used an 8″ square tin)
170 grams coarsely chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/2 + 1/6 cup sugar, divided
1/4 cup Bourbon (I used Jim Beam, it was the closest I could get)
70 grams butter
2 eggs at room temp
3/4 tablespoon flour
How I made it
First of all, I set the oven to preheat at 170 degrees C, and prepped my tin by lightly buttering it and lining it with butter paper and once again buttering it. I placed the pan in a shallow roasting pan and set aside.
Then, I mixed 1/2 cup sugar with the bourbon in a saucepan and simmered it till the sugar had dissolved. I poured the golden mixture over the chocolate that I had chopped and melted it down. This was a bit of a wrestle, so I set the bowl over another saucepan with simmering water (like a double boiler) ad stirred the chocolate till it was smooth.To this, I added the butter in small bits, until it had all mixed well and turned smooth and glossy.In a separate bowl, I whisked in the eggs with the 1/6 cup of sugar, till frothy.By then, the chocolate mixture had cooled down considerably, and I added the mixture into the whisked eggs and blended it with the spatula.Next in, the flour. And more whisking till smooth.
Pouring the batter into the butter paper-lined pan, I poured warm water into the roasting pan it was placed in (about 1″ up the sides of the cake pan) and placed it to bake for 30 minutes.When it was cooked (the cake was no longer jiggly) I removed it and let it rest for 20 minutes. Ideally, you should then cover the cake with plastic wrap, invert it onto a tray, then onto a cake plate and gently peel off the plastic, but my cake melted in the resting time, and I couldn’t risk inverting it.So I gently lifted the cake out using the butter paper hang-overs and placed it in a plate, cut and served it up with the mango compote!Done!Some notes:
- The chocolate is dense and fudgy, so it goes well with any fruity compote
- Whipped cream was the original pairing, but it felt a bit heavy for an already-rich cake, but that’s another option for you
- Do not risk making this cake without butter paper, it saved my life
- Cooking time may vary depending on your oven, the outside weather and ambient temperature, so proceed with caution