Bad Mood Chocolate Almond Butter Cake

Dennis and I were invited to his friend Elizabeth’s house for dinner last Friday. Was super excited to go, having heard about her amazing culinary skills (No exaggeration—girl has mad skills.) I chose to bring along a chocolate cake, a favorite of Dennis’ (^_^). It just so happens, however, that I was in the.worst.mood.ever that day.  Seriously. Awful. Dreadful.

And the reason for my unpleasantness? The new hardwood floors that Melita had installed. I had to clean out my entire room for the event, something I was NOT happy about. At all. In any case, the process took longer than expected.

My personal space is important to me. It’s the one place I can be, where I can close the door on the world and breathe and just be me. So not having that space made me crazy. And mad—but I guess not mad enough to put me off baking.  😛

The recipe I chose is a close adaptation of Nigella Lawson’s Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake found on The Spiced Life. Despite THE MOOD, this was really fun to put together. Definitely therapeutic.

One of the last steps before baking is to combine the dry ingredients with the chocolate-egg mixture and boiling water. I’ve never used boiling water to bake, so this was fascinating. The heat from the water and the thickening property of the eggs helped bind together the wet ingredients to the dry, resulting in a smooth and thick-ribbony batter.

So up until this part, all went well. Baking was not an issue either. It was the cooling down post-baking bit that was the problem. This is not a cake that you poke to check for doneness. It will be soft and still a little jiggly in the middle when it comes out of the oven. Which is why it MUST be left COMPLETELY ALONE in the loaf pan and allowed to cool and to set overnight. It shouldn’t even be moved. I learned the hard way why this is. I didn’t have time to wait, so I stuck the thing outside. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb idea. The middle ended up collapsing and I was left with the ugliest crater-filled, pock-marked cake ever. Ugh.

I also managed to burn my hand by trying to push the oven rack in with my bare fingers. (>_<#)

So I was in a bad mood when I left the house, in a bad mood all the way to Elizabeth’s and still in a bad mood when we got there.

Lucky for me, dinner was lovely. Ceviche mixto with sweet potatoes, tuna causa, fried plantains and empanadas. (Like Dennis, Elizabeth—and everyone else at the party—is Peruvian.) And I ended up turning the cake upside down before slicing; no one was the wiser. (^0^)

Loved this the day of, and fell head over heels with it the following day. Everything about this cake—moisture, density, flavor, texture—was that much better, richer, fudgier, and decadent. Trust me, make this the night before before serving.

Bad Mood Chocolate Almond Butter Cake (an adaptation of a Nigella Lawson recipe found on The Spice Life)

INGREDIENTS

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

1 2/3 cup (375 g) brown sugar

2 large eggs, at room temp., lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla extract

4 oz. (100 g) good-quality bittersweet chocolate, melted

1 1/3 cups (200 g) all-purpose flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup (225 ml) boiling water

3/4 – 1 cup almond butter (Peanut butter or nutella would be great too.)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Line a 9×5 loaf pan with parchment paper. (I didn’t do this—I just greased the pan with butter.)
  2. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  3. Cream the butter and sugar until well blended and somewhat lightened in color. Add in the eggs, mixing thoroughly (If using a mixer, beat on low-speed). Do not overbeat. Next, add in the vanilla and mix in completely.
  4. Mix in the melted and slightly cooled chocolate—mix well, but do not overbeat. (I folded it in by hand.)
  5. Add the flour mixture, alternating by spoonful with the boiling water, mixing on low-speed or folding in by hand. Do about six rounds of this. The resulting batter will be smooth and rather liquid.
  6. Pour the batter into the lined or greased pan. Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Reduce the oven heat to 325 F and continue to bake for an additional 15 minutes. Do not use a toothpick to check for doneness. Once finished baking just remove the pan from the oven.
  8. Place on a rack and leave to cool completely before turning out, preferably overnight. (I can confirm that this cake is MUCH better the next day. So—leave it out overnight before touching it.)
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