Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Happy Anniversary!!! (Flourless Chocolate Cake and Speedway Stout)

Since it has been so crazy around here as of late, the plan was to celebrate our anniversary on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, rather than try to come up with something Monday night.  But Jess was helping with Bible School Monday night, and that gave me the perfect cover to work in the kitchen for awhile and try to come up with something to surprise her.  I've been married (well, and dating, for that matter) long enough to know that chocolate is one of the certain ways to a woman's heart.  In the case of my particular lady, coffee's right up there too (more on that later).

We'd sampled flourless chocolate cake before, in fact, just a couple nights before at Sycamore, and were really impressed by the intensity of the flavors and the richness of the cake itself.  It really is the cake for the '12-step-program' chocoholics among us; I'm looking at you, darlin.  Anyway, years ago, I picked up a magazine entitled "The Best of Fine Cooking: Chocolate" at some store or other, and it's given us some of the best chocolate recipes we've made to date.  I took their original recipe for flourless chocolate cake and halved it; the half-recipe is what's printed below.

   -6oz bittersweet baker's chocolate, coarsely chopped
   -3oz unsalted butter, cut into pieces (more for greasing the pan) 
   -2.5 large eggs (just crack the 3rd egg into a separate bowl, scramble it, and use half)
   -1/2 c. sugar
   -3/4 tsp. vanilla
   -1/8 tsp. salt
   -1/8 cup cocoa powder, sifted if lumpy, more for the pan

You start with butter and chocolate...It's tasty, not healthy...
Heat the oven to 300.  Grease a 6" round cakepan with butter and line the bottom with wax paper.  Dust the sides of the pan with cocoa, so that it sticks to the butter, and dump out the extra.  Melt the chocolate and butter together in a medium bowl and let cool a bit.  Combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla, salt, and 2 TBSP of water with in a mixer (with the whisk attachment).  Beat on medium-high until the mixture is foamy, pale, and about doubled in volume (2-3 min).  Drop the mixer to low, and slowly pour in the chocolate mixture.  Increase the speed to medium and beat until well blended.  Drop speed, add the cocoa powder, and mix on medium/medium low until just blended.  Make sure you've scraped down the sides of your bowl once or twice to make sure everything's mixed properly.  Bake betwen 30-40 minutes (toothpick should come out looking wet with small gooey clumps).  Make sure it's done, but try not to overbake it. 

Let cool in the pan for 30 minutes; if your surface is uneven, gently press down with your hands (covered with a paper towel or small plate) to even out the surface while it is still warm.  Remove cake from pan, and refrigerate overnight. 

The recipe in the magazine had a rich chocolate frosting for this cake, but we felt that was just a bit over the top.  Dust this bad boy with some powdered sugar and you're good to go.  We served this with Alesmith Speedway Stout which turned out to be an absolutely perfect pairing.  We'd been saving this for awhile (I got it through a trade from a guy in Ohio, I think) and I thought it might go well with the cake.  It had a lovely chocolate-covered-espresso bean flavor with just a hint of booziness which cut through the richness of the cake perfectly.  All in all, a great night! 

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