December 23, 2010

winning hearts and minds cake

Christmas is almost here, which means I get to see my brothers and sister and their spouses, all together at the same time. Since we are scattered across the country now, this is a big deal and very important to me. My dad is unlucky enough to have a birthday three days before Christmas. My friend Brandi is in the same boat - her birthday is today. I have no idea what it feels like to share your birthday with "the baby Jesus", as my dad always says. My birthday is in July, thank goodness.

I made dinner for my dad for his birthday, and for dessert, I made an almost flourless chocolate cake served alongside vanilla bean ice cream. The recipe came from Molly Wizenberg's memoir, "A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes From my Kitchen Table", which if you haven't read, you should go immediately to the bookstore and buy yourself a copy. She writes the blog Orangette that I discovered several years ago and to which I am totally addicted. Her book is beautifully-written and honest, as is her blog. The last recipe in the book is for a chocolate cake that she calls the "winning hearts and minds cake" because that's exactly what it does. It is by far the best chocolate cake recipe I've ever laid my hands on. It's the perfect recipe to make up for having a birthday at Christmas.

Winning Hearts and Minds Cake
from Molly Wizenberg

7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 3/4 sticks unsalted butter
1 cup + 2 T sugar
5 large eggs
1 T all-purpose flour
whipped cream or vanilla bean ice cream

Preheat the oven 375 degrees and butter a 10 inch spring-form pan. 

Put the chocolate and butter in a large glass bowl and microwave in 30 second increments until mixture is fully melted. Stir to combine well. Add the sugar and set the bowl aside to cool for 5 minutes.

Add the eggs, one at a time, fully incorporating before adding the next egg. A whisk is the easiest way to do this. Add the flour and stir well. The batter should be thick and shiny.

Scrape the batter into the pan and bake for about 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean and the center is set. 

Serve with whipped cream or ice cream.

December 5, 2010