A couple of dear friends moved to Rio de Janeiro and we hadn’t seen each other in a long time. Do you know that kind of friend you can spend an entire evening talking to and laughing with? Adriana and Cadu are exactly like that.
Homemade pizza was on the menu and there was still dessert to be chosen – I had 2 or 3 options in mind. But after spending the whole day running errands and arriving home late, I had to change my plans – something quick was necessary. Pierre Hermé’s cake was perfect: only 5 ingredients and half an hour in the oven. Before serving it, all I had to do was add a bit of vanilla sugar and grated orange zest to heavy cream and whip it for a couple of minutes.
This was the second time I made this cake – the first one was ages ago, long before the blog – and again the master’s cake was a hit.
from Chocolate Desserts by Pierre Herme
250g bittersweet chocolate, chopped – I used 70% cocoa solids
250g unsalted butter, room temperature
4 large eggs, room temperature
70g all-purpose flour
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF. Butter a 24cm (9in) round cake pan that is at least 5cm (2in) high, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the paper, and dust the inside of the pan with flour; tap out the excess and set the pan aside.
Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over – not touching – simmering water and heat until the chocolate is melted; or melt the chocolate in a microwave oven. Set the chocolate aside to cool; it should feel only just warm to the touch when you mix it with the rest of the ingredients.
Put the butter and sugar in the bowl of a mixer and beat on medium speed for about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl frequently, until the butter is creamy and the sugar well blended into it. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each addition. Reduce the mixer speed to low, pour in the cooled chocolate, and mix only until it disappears into the batter. Alternatively, you can fold in the last of the flour with a rubber spatula. You’ll have a thick, smooth, satiny batter that looks like old-fashioned chocolate frosting.
Scrape the batter into the pan, smooth the top, and slide the pan into the oven. Bake for 26 to 29 minutes or until the cake rises slightly and the top has lost its sheen. The top may crack a bit and the cake may not look entirely set in the center; when you test the cake by inserting a slender knife into the center, the knife will come out lightly streaked with batter, which is what you want. Transfer the cake to a rack to cool.
When the cake has cooled, chill it in the refrigerator for an hour or two to make it easy to unmould. Turn the cake out, remove the parchment, and invert the cake onto a serving platter so that it is right side up. Allow the cake to come to room temperature before slicing and serving.