Autumn is here at last! As much as I love summer, autumn is by far my favourite season, and not just because it’s the one that contains my birthday. It’s because it is cool enough for wearing cozy knits and jackets and drinking hot coffee, but not so cold that you have to wear 1000 layers and wrap yourself in blankets and still be cold. And it’s great baking weather ALL THE TIME!
It happened to be the very first day of autumn when I baked this cake for my Dad’s birthday. It’s so hard to decide what to buy people, especially parents, so I usually decide upon something edible which I make myself.
I’m not much of a cake-baker – I’d love to improve at it, but often when I try to make a “big” cake (as opposed to a teacake or cupcakes or something) it doesn’t turn out as nice as I’d like it to. It sinks in the middle and ends up a little undercooked.
I didn’t really want to make cupcakes again, so I flipped through one of my recipe books and discovered this very interesting and delicious-looking recipe – Torta al Cioccolato – or “Soft Chocolate Cake” (it was an Italian recipe book. I like Italian food.) I thought it was interesting because it contained very little flour – only 25g! Most of the cake was made up of chocolate, butter, and egg yolks/whites. I thought, “This couldn’t possibly turn out like those other cakes, right? It’s not even, like, a normal cake!”
It was a pretty easy recipe, and I had all the ingredients already which was great. Melt the chocolate and butter, mix the sugar with the egg yolks, whisk the egg whites… that was the interesting bit actually! I don’t really do much with egg whites on their own. The book said to whisk them until they were “thick and glossy”… whatever that means! Well, after a lot of whisking I decided that they fit the description. They were also foamy. Hmm. I was a little worried – what if I’d over-whisked them? But I took my chances, folded those eggwhites into the rest of the batter (the batter ended up really, well, “bouncy” is the word I’d use to describe it!), poured it into that tin and slid it into the preheated oven, eagerly awaiting the results.
Another difference between this and a normal cake is the much, much shorter cooking time. One hour? Nope, try 15-20 minutes. It said to be careful not to overcook, and that the centre should still be a little “gooey”. I was more worried about it being undercooked because that’s what usually happens with me! I ended up taking it out at 18 minutes, after checking it a few times.
When we finally tried the cake the following afternoon, it was AMAZING. Rich, chocolatey and creamy, much like chocolate fudge, but in cake form. It would taste amazing with a cup of coffee (too bad I’m giving that stuff up for a while!) Definitely making this again – possibly adapting it next time, maybe even trying it with white chocolate or something.
Since I followed this recipe to the letter, and made no changes or adaptions, I won’t be posting the actual recipe here. I will, however, post a link to the awesome book I got it from: Mama’s Italian Cookbook. It’s a pretty spectacular book – not only is the design adorable (which tends to be one of the things that draws me to any type of cookbook!) but it’s got some great recipes. Including this cake. Seriously, buy it just for the cake. :)