Brilliant Baking: My crimson raspberry and dark chocolate cake.
The C in Cake is for celebration. That doesn’t necessarily mean that cake is only for celebration. That would be a sad life. A very sad life, indeed. But happy world we are living in every cake should be a celebration. Granted, this particular cake is the cake for a celebration. And not just for any kind celebration, but for the birthdayparty of a friend of mine. There are some people in my life, who I don’t get to see as often as I would like to. The birthday girl, who this cake is devoted to, is one of them. But every single time I do, it is a special occasion. A nice get-together. Time worth a brilliant and utterly divine cake. And I can’t think of any better fit than my crimson raspberry and dark chocolate cake.
To me baking is always an adventure. There are a few staples, that I can throw together without much of a hassle (such as my Pan di Spanga – a sponge cake with lemon custard), and some cakes don’t even require baking, which makes them quite appealing. But apart from these exceptions baking remains a constant fight to me. This cake, for example, started off quite different from what it is now. It was a lot less fluffy, much richer and pretty gooey. But what remained through a series of intense experiments (oh the amount of cake I ate in the past couple of days…you have no idea) is the intense chocolate flavour mixed with the subtle fruity notes of the most crimson raspberries. This cake is still rather moist, but it has gained a lot of fluffiness and thus appears to be much lighter, than it really is. I think it is save to say that this, dear Sophie, is the cake you should have had.
I realize that the cake in the picture might look incredibly small. And that the giant fork next to it doesn’t help much. But I think this is part of what makes me love it so much. This is no cake for a big party (although it could easily be if you just quadrupled the amount of ingredients and used a bigger tin), it is for a special moment, with someone who deserves sharing. It’s for sitting next to each other (or in front of each other… or whatever way you like it), maybe having some intensive eye-contact going on (or enjoying the sacredness of the moment, if you’re sitting with your granny) and just to indulge yourselves. To celebrate your relationship with that person. My crimson raspberry and dark chocolate cake, with its dark chocolaty flavour, with its hidden raspberry treasures and which, because it contains almost no flour, melts in your mouth, is exactly what a cake should be: A celebration.
My crimson raspberry and dark chocolate cake
Egg (1) Butter (50g) Chocolate (dark) (50 and more for the grating) Baking powder (.5 tsp) Cornstarch (2 tbsp) Cocoa powder (2 tbsp) Powdered sugar (40 g) Vanilla sugar (1 tsp) Raspberries (about 6 to 8)
This is the recipe for one small (about 12 cm diamter) cake. A cake this size will be enough for two people, especially after a nice dinner. If you require more cakes, you could either bake several of them sperately (given that each requires only 25 minutes of baking, and that you can easily fit a few of them into your oven) or make one large cake. In order to fill a 21 cm spring-form, just quadruple everything and maybe allow for an extra minute in the oven. This recipe is vegetarian and glutenfree (given that you use cornstarch).
Preheat your oven at 175 °C. Fill a pan with about two cups of water and put on your stove at medium heat. You need a bowl that fits the pan. Make sure that the bowl has no direct contact with the water. The heat of the steam will be enough to carefully melt the chocolate. Add 50 g of dark chocolate and 50 g of butter to the bowl. Melt slowly and mix constantly until the butter and chocolate have combined. Let cool down a bit.
Whisk 1 egg with 1 teaspoon of vanilla sugar, about two pinches of salt and 40 g of powdered sugar. This is done easiest using a electric hand mixer. Beat the egg until it turns white and has increased about 3 times in volume. It might be necessary to add more powdered sugar. The resulting créme should not be too runny, but not quite stiff. I like adding a vanilla bean stalk to my package of powdered sugar a few days before using the sugar, try it, it makes quite the difference.
Take off about half of the egg créme and slowly drizzle in the chocolate butter mix to the egg. Be careful about this and whisk constantly. Mix together two and half tablespoons of cocoa powder and the same amount of cornstarch and add half a teaspoon of baking powder. This mix will yield enough to bake about 4 small cakes. Take about 1 and a half spoons of the powder mix and slowly add it to the chocolate and egg mix. Once you have a sticky batter, gently fold in the rest of the egg créme using a rubber spatula. The air in the egg mix will help to make the cake lighter.
Butter a spring form (about 12 cm diameter) and add half of the batter. Take about 6 to 8 raspberries (these are frozen, much cheaper and better than the fresh ones you can buy this time of the year) and scatter them over the surface of the batter. Make sure that they don’t touch the side of the tin, so that the batter can over them fully. Add the rest of the dough and use a spoon to create a smooth surface. Put into the pre-heated oven for 25 minutes. The tin should be filled with a layer of batter that is about 3 cm deep. It is not the diameter but the thickness of the batter-layer that is determining the baking time. If your springform is larger than 12 cm, the layer will be thinner and the cake needs less baking, if it is smaller, it might need more time.
After 20 minutes (or as soon as the cake comes off the sides of the form) use a tooth-pick (I usually use a wooden chopstick, which is a bit more vile) and stick it into the cake. The cake is done when there are no traces of the batter, but small cake crumbles sticking to the pick. Remove the cake at once and let cool down. As soon as the cake is cold, turn it bottom side up.
Before serving grate over a bit of dark chocolate and dust with a bit of powdered sugar. And you are ready to go. It’s okay to indulge a bit every now and then. Enjoy.