Humble Chocolate Cake.

I haven't posted about food in moons. Oh, its been around, its been made, its been eaten...it just hasn't ended up here. There have even been terrific new recipes tested and conquered and approved of by the little people running around my house, I think they're my kids but I'm still figuring that out. They like food though. And to keep your job in this house, that's really the only thing I need to read on your resume. "I will eat anything, anytime." That's how Beckett's read so he was hired immediately, no second interview was even conducted. He's kept his promise and he is regularly compensated with edible treats, like homemade oreo cookies.

Oh yes, this kid keeps his promises.

You see, there were a ridiculous amount of cookies made over the holidays. There were also tarts and pies and some deliciously roasted pears. And recently, soups and braises and one pot wonders have been keeping burners busy and getting us through the ten degree midwest weather. Everything has been tremendous but I wanted something so simple, so sophisticated, so profound that it sent me straight to the computer keys to share. Perhaps I have high standards and maybe I'll share the other delicious things in time. But, this must be shared. I can't possibly hold onto it. It would be so...so wrong. Not even a terribly messy laundry room and a bedroom that is begging to be redone can stop me from sharing.

What? You expected there to be cake in the photograph. Ahem!

So, go make this. It'd be good for a dinner party but maybe even better to share on Valentine's Day with some slightly sweetened whipped cream. I envision I'll have this cake in my back pocket for years to come. I'll whip it up for house guests, or small family celebrations. Its not exactly a Celebration Cake that should be adorned with sprinkles or icing or candles. Some things are best when left alone and this chocolate cake is one of them, save for the addition of some slightly sweetened whipped cream or maybe a tiny scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Chocolate Cake - from David Lebovitz's The Sweet Life in Paris
My sister so kindly gave this book to me for my birthday and I immediately read and baked from it. Nothing has dissappointed and the stories about his life in Paris, are hysterical and touching. My absent minded self forgot the two tablespoons of flour and it was still fabulous. I imagine it would be a touch cake-ier with the addition of the flour but every bit as tasty. Of course, this recipe came to David through a French woman...only a French woman could make something so simply indulgent.

9 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped (I used Ghiradelli bittersweet)
8 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/3 cup of sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature, seperated
2 tablespoons of flour
Pinch of salt

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 inch loaf pan and line the bottom with a strip of parchment paper.
2) In a large bowl set over simmering water, heat the chocolate and butter together just until melted and smooth.
3) Remove from heat and stir in half the sugar, then the egg yolks, and flour.
4) Using an electric mixer or a whisk begin whipping the egg whites with the salt. Keep whipping until they start to form soft droopy peaks. Gradually whip in the remaining sugar until the whites are smooth and hold their shape when the whisk is lifted.
5) Use a rubber spatula to fold one-third of the egg whites into their chocolate mixture to lighten it, then fold in the remaining egg whites just until the mixture is smooth and no visible white streaks remain.
6) Scrape the batter into the prepared loaf pan, smooth the top, and bake for 35 minutes, just until the cake feels slightly firm in the center. Do not overbake.
7) Let the cake cool in the pan before serving.

Note: Mr. Lebovitz suggests that this cake gets better every day and I simply had to test his theory for fear of publishing something that is in any way misleading. Well, I'll tell you, he was right on. It has gotten richer and somehow deeper since I made it on Friday night which incidentally makes it an excellent candidate for de-stressing a dinner party. Bake it on Thursday, let it sit covered with plastic and just wait for your guests to tell you that you are the Bomb-dot-com. Okay, no one says that but they will be thinking it.


  1. this is going to be on our table on Valentines Day!! Can't wait to try it!

  2. so simple. but, breathtakingly good.