If you follow my blog at all, you probably saw my recent post about Orangette blogger Molly Wizenberg's book, A Homemade Life. It's chock full of tried and true recipes, all outfitted with heartfelt anecdotes straight from the author's life. Although a great book for any food lover or nostalgic eater, I recommend it for anyone with a heart or even a mild interest in food. If nothing else, at least visit her blog if you're ever looking to try out a new dish.
The whole time I sped through this book, I was dog-earring the recipes that I just had to try (just short of 30 recipes). I wasn't sure where to start until I reached her last recipe, The Winning Hearts and Minds Cake aka Her Wedding Cake. Apparently this is Molly's go-to cake when trying to win anyone over (and apparently news spread so well that her friends would ask for the recipe whenever they had new love interests to reel in). This cake full of chocolate irresistibility was positively begging me to give it a try - and how could I not? All you need it chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs, and a bit of flour. Simple and decadent, somewhere between a brownie and a cake, I just needed to taste it for myself.
Following Molly's mothers instructions, the first time I made the recipe, I followed it to a T, making no substitutions or adaptations. And really I think that is a great rule of thumb. My cake didn't pop all the way around like I imagine it was supposed to - the edges are cakey and delicious while the center never quite cooked through and had more of a mousse-y texture. I imagine that if I had used a scale to weigh my ingredients and had a more accurate thermometer in the oven, it would have been absolutely perfect. My outcome is still quite delectable though because I got a more crunchy crust with the consistency of the edge of a batch of brownies and a center resembling a moist and fudge-y mousse.
Molly Wizenberg's "Winning Hearts and Minds" Chocolate Cake
- 7 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Ghiradelli 60% Cacao Bittersweet Chocolate)
- 1 3/4 sticks (7 oz) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
- 1 cup plus 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 1 Tbsp unbleached, all-purpose flour
- Lightly sweetened whipped cream for serving, optional
1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and butter an 8 inch round cake pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, cut to a circle to fit, and butter the paper.
2. Microwave the chocolate and butter in a microwaveable bowl for 30 second increments, stirring frequently after each interval, until just smooth. Mine took about 2 minutes to get to the perfect consistency. (You could also use a double boiler method.)
4. Let the batter cool for 5 minutes, then add the eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition.
5. Then add the flour and give one last good stir. Batter will be dark and silky.
6. Pour batter into the cake pan and bake for 25 minutes. After 20 minutes, keep a very close eye and check cake every minute or two. You want the center to jiggle only very slightly.
7. Remove the cake and let cool for at least 15 minutes.
8. To remove from the pan, Molly recommends the following method: Cover the top of the cake with aluminum foil and place a large plate on top, face down. Very quickly, flip the cake pan and lift it away from the upside-down cake. Then remove the parchment paper and put the serving plate face down on the upside down cake. Keep your fingers between the plates to prevent squishing of the cake during this last flip to get the cake upright. Then remove the foil and cool before serving.