• Chocolate cake

    The Epicurean does not often cook deserts. But he does like eating them. A delicious chocolate cake for example.


    A quick glance at the history of The Epicurean will confirm one thing – I don’t cook desserts very often. This is not to say that I do not like eating them; quite the contrary, in fact. Either I avoid making them for fear of eating them too quickly and too frequently or, more likely, I find working with dessert recipes too tricky, too prescriptive in amounts and timings. Let’s correct all of that today, though, with a delicious, easy-to-prepare recipe for chocolate cake.

    Chop the chocolate into small pieces and melt it gently with the butter. To do so, you can microwave it in short, 30-second bursts until it has melted, stirring between each burst, or use a bain-marie. A bain-marie, or double boiler, can easily be created by placing a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan containing boiling water. The water should not touch the bottom of the bowl. Instead, the steam gently heats the bowl and its contents, maintaining a constant, moderate temperature, which is ideal for melting chocolate. Once the butter and chocolate have combined, stir in the sugar and whisk until it has dissolved into the mixture.

    Remove the bowl from the heat, add the spices (if you are using them) and leave the mixture to cool for 5 minutes. Resist the temptation to dip your fingers in the chocolate. Add the eggs, one at a time, and whisk them well to allow them to blend into the mixture. Finally, add the flour and stir thoroughly until the mixture is smooth.

    Pour the mixture into a buttered cake tin, approximately 20cm in diameter and preferably one with springform sides. You can scale the recipe up if your tin is larger. The mixture should climb to about 3cm on the tin’s sides. Bake the cake in the centre of an oven preheated at 190˚C for 20 minutes. At this point the centre will still be a little runny and the cake quite moist. That’s the stage I like, but if you prefer a cakier consistency, leave it in the oven for a couple more minutes.

    Let the cake cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then place it on a plate to cool completely. Serve in thin slices with a small spoonful of crème fraîche and a leaf of mint or a few raspberries for decoration.


    Serves 6-8
    Cost: €1 per person
    photo: Jeroen van Kooten