What I like do on some nights is to snuggle up in bed, warm and toasty, in my cosy PJs, with a recipe book or two. It is quite comforting especially when Mr. G isn't there to provide me the same service. In bed with my cooking books is almost therapeutic. Gorgeous pictures; fascinating words; fresh, everyday ingredients; I'm as happy as a cat with a saucer of cream.
This recipe is from a French recipe book I stole from Mr. M. I'm sure he won't miss it much. He's hardly got any time to cook anyway. Besides, I'm putting it to respectable use. Poor thing. Never quite understand why people don't use their cooking books.
It's also perfect because I received a 'thank-you-but-no-thank-you' email from a 'prospective' employer (which I was quite keen on) so my spirit fell into self-pity mode. I needed a challenge and comfort. A rich, generous, soothing and delicious suitor to seduce me to a place where rainbows, pink bunnies and fairies lives. This recipe was definitely a worthy experiment. It's more than I usually bother.
It takes a bit more work but all work of effort is a work of art. And I have the proof looking at me on my kitchen bench, smelling like heaven. Sweet mother of sugar, this is one cake you want to bottle up and spray on whenever you need a lift. (And bless those French, they really do know a thing or two about food).
French Chocolate Cake
1/2 cup caster sugar
280g dark chocolate, chopped
125g unsalted butter, softened and chopped
2 tsp vanilla essence
5 eggs, separated
1/4 cup of flour, sifted
3 tsp of instant coffee* (optional)
pinch of salt
3 tbsp of caster sugar, set aside
cocoa powder to dust
1. Preheat oven to 160c.
2. Butter round baking tin and coat with caster sugar. Knock excess off.
3. Put the chocolate, butter, instant coffee and sugar in a bowl over a pot of hot water. Keep the heat low to medium-low. Stir until smooth.
4. Remove from heat and add vanilla essence.
5. Beat egg yolks into chocolate mix; one by one. Make sure it's thoroughly blend in before you add the next sunshiny yolk.
6. Stir in flour. At this point, the runny mixture will turn quite solid but don't panic! The following steps will guarantee a crusty, chewy exterior but soft and moist insides:
7. In a clean (no grease, totally dry and dustless) bowl, beat egg whites until fluffy.
8. Increase speed, add salt and beat until peak forms.
9. Add 3 tbsp of caster sugar into the mixture. Continue beating until egg whites are stiff and glossy.
10. Fold in the chocolate mix.
11. Pour mixture into baking tin and tap gently to release any air bubbles.
I won't say how long it'll take to bake the cake. Once the room starts to smell like Charlie's Chocolate Factory, check it with the good-ol' skewer test. It'll take time for this darling to cook so keep watch of it from time to time.
Let it cool and let it sink. It's meant to be. Then, dust liberally with cocoa powder.
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