The other day I noticed the Valentine’s Chocolate Heart display at Whole Foods and pondered it for a moment. Do people really buy this stuff? Duh, of course they do that’s what there is so much of it everywhere. Then I thought: There has to be a better way!I don’t think there is anything that says love better than a homemade baked good (well maybe there are a few other things, certainly home made baked goods is in the top three and if you don’t have enough money for two first class round the world tickets or a diamond ring…)
I’ve been baking a lot lately; Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Cookies, Banana Date Walnut Tea Cakes and one of my all time favorites Date Cake redolent of sweet spices topped with Coconut Cream Cheese Ice Cream. This dynamic duo is married by a generous pour of salty butter caramel sauce now that is some salty sweet good lovin’!
Making cake, ice cream and salty butter caramel sauce may be too much of an over the top expression of love for you to deal with (and who could blame you?). Love can be expressed in more understated and classic ways that aren’t so labour intensive that won’t you leave spent for the rest of the evening. Here is a recipe for a cake that is easy to make, sophisticated , elegant and intensely rich: Gâteau Zoë (Chocolate Cake topped with Chocolate Nibs). Perfect by itself sublime when topped with a generous dollop of whip cream and low in carbs as it is flourless 😉 Look better naked and eat your cake too!
This is called Gâteau Zoë David Lebovitz discovered the recipe on the bathroom wall of restaurant Racine in Paris where he lives. Thanks for sharing David (I have adapted this recipe ever so slightly).
Preheat the oven to 350 F
Butter a 9″ spring form pan then sprinkle it generously with cocoa powder.In a medium/large heat proof bowl add: 10 ounces of finely chopped Bittersweet Chocolate, 8 Tablespoons of Unsalted Butter, 1 Tablespoon of freshly brewed Espresso (or really strong drip coffee). Place the bowl over a simmering pot of water and stir with a wooden spoon until melted. Remove from heat and add: 1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt and 1 Teaspoon of Bourbon (or Vanilla) stir to incorporate and set aside.
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment add: 6 Large Organic Egg Yolks and 1/4 Cup of Sugar whisk 2-3 minutes until fluffy and pale about 2-3 minutes. Remove and set aside.
Switch out a clean dry bowl and clean your whisk attachment place then place: 6 Large Organic Egg Whites into the bowl and beat the egg whites in your standing mixer on medium until they start to hold their shape, turn the mixer to slow then gradually add 2 Tablespoons of Sugar. Turn the speed up to medium/high and whisk until the whites hold soft peaks. Turn off and set aside.With a spatula gently fold the Egg yolk mixture into the chocolate mixture folding until just combined.
Fold in half the egg whites, gently combing until the whites are thoroughly incorporated, then fold in the remainder folding gently until there is no signs of the whites. Don’t over do it.Pour the batter in to the prepared pan.Sprinkle the top of the cake with 2 Tablespoons of Cocoa Nibs and place in the center of the preheated oven and bake for 25 minutes give or take, the center of the cake should feel firm.This cake could also be called the incredible shrinking cake. When it cools it diminishes in size considerably (kind of like love, no?), but not to worry it’s delicious and what better way for you to show your loved one you care than by baking a cake from a recipe transcribed from the wall of a Parisian toilet?
Ah L’Amour, L’Amour.
(Watch this space for a picture of the finished cake, I forgot to take a picture first time around so I am baking a new one – just for you!)