May 15, 2009

Chocolate Cake

Last summer, to avoid endless days of gaming on behalf of my son, I urged my Junior Pup to do two things. Read a book per week and make a cake per week.

Pup read 3 novels, The World According to Garp, The Hotel New Hampshire and J-Pod, by Douglas Coupland. To make up for the deficit he made 11 cakes.

The cake featured today is the first cake he tried, with some help from me. It's based on a recipe in “My French Kitchen”; a collaboration between chef Fran Warde and author Joanne Harris of “Chocolat” fame. Her cake is called Gateau Lawrence in honour of her brother. It’s made with almonds instead of flour.

This is a very moist cake, in fact I remember mooshing it back into a circle when it came out the pan. It’s almost too rich for icing, maybe just a sprinkling of powdered sugar would do. But I will include an icing recipe because it was delicious.

Here we go.

For the cake

6½ ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small pieces (about 1½ cups)
¾ of a cup unsalted butter at room temperature

⅔ cup sugar
1⅔ cups (7 ounces) ground sliced almonds
4 large eggs, separated

For the icing

3½ ounces bittersweet chocolate (about ¾ of a cup)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter

Heat the oven to 300◦F. Line a 10-inch spring form pan with parchment paper.

Chop the chocolate into small pieces and melt it in a heatproof bowl over a pan of boiling water, in a double boiler-like arrangement. Remove from heat and cool until tepid.

Cream together the butter and sugar until combined using an electric mixer. Add the ground almonds, egg yolks and melted chocolate and beat until evenly blended.

In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff and fold into the cake mixture evenly with a rubber spatula. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 35 minutes. A light crust will form on the top and the middle should still be a little squishy. Leave to cool a little before carefully removing the sides. Cool on a wire rack. Slide a long knife underneath the cake to release the parchment but leave it on the paper anyway.

For the icing, melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Stir. Spread evenly over the top of the cake and leave to set. Slide the cake off the paper and onto a serving platter. Serves 6.

Copyright © 2003, Joanne Harris and Fran Warde, My French Kitchen, HarperCollins Publishers.


Premium T. said...

I do believe that the only acceptable substitute for not reading enough is baking cakes. Eleven! That boy deserves a prize!

This is a wonderful cake. I've made a version of it for years. If you really want to gild the lily, make a crust for it out of chocolate wafers and butter.

Brian Miller said...

nice challenge and that he took you up on it was great. would prob lean toward the reading myself, and the eating of the cake. lol.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Wow. A baking pup. You are one lucky girl. And that looks like one delicious cake!

Happy Weekend!

The Clever Pup said...

I think I should rename this one Gateau Pentagon because according to my sitemeter, they just paid me a visit.

giulia said...

Euwww. I mean about the Pentagon. I was going to say something like: hey, I think I have all the ingredients & because of toof problems must eat soft stuff...but taken aback by their visit. Perhaps they don't get enough cakes down here in DC. We have plenty. Weird.

Kudos to le petit patissier (forgive lack of accent over 'a'; I hear tell of keyboard tricks to do such but have yet to commit to memory)

gretchen said...

i applaud your creativity and your resourcefulness. getting cakes baked for you all summer long. simply brilliant. we did try the 1book/week thing last summer, and drawing and painting, but i didn't require them to cook. this year, will definitely add it in. that and gardening. and maybe poetry readings. anything but gaming.

rosedale's 4 head said...

right on for the read daughter was an avid reader like none other, naturally...

but my heart jumps with joy to hear moms (parents) including reading in their children's daily lives (and summertime too)...that's so important...

the cake looks soooooooooooooooooo ooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo GOOD! Nice summer combination for your baby...;)

Nabeel said...

Oh I love chocolate cake, no birthday is complete without chocolate cake, at least in my book. So I always tell my friends, if they wanna celebrate my birthday or even theirs, there has to be chocolate cake, no pineapple stuff.

Ima Wizer said...

My son can roast his own chili's, make hollandaise and is a very good cook. I taught him how when he was in high school, much to his dismay. Now, at 37, he thanks me all the time for the information I forced on him!
I wish I could eat cake.....but alas, I am watching my girlish figure!

Poetikat said...

Sounds yummy! What a great idea, too - having your son learn how to bake (and of course, reading is good too).

Perhaps he will make a cake for your birthday (and we can share - since they are so close).