What do you do when a dear friend is visiting and it’s going to be their birthday? You make them something totally delicious. But what do you do when you also have a food blog? You take a risk on something new and post about it. And that’s what this is!
My dear, fabulous, oh-so-wonderful bestie Amy was visiting Portland last week after being in New Zealand for seven months. It was also her 25th birthday! A few days before she came down from Seattle, I emailed her about her dessert preferences and this is what she said: “I prefer chocolatey things. Maybe cupcakes would be fun? I don't like desserts that involve fruit, and I don't like pie. But brownies, cake, cupcakes, etc, those are all good.” Now I love desserts that involve fruit, but it wasn’t my birthday and chocolate is fabulous. So I started debating making Mexican brownies or Irish cupcakes again. And then I started looking at Tastespotting and searching desserts on Epicurious.
And just two days before Amy was to arrive, I found it. I found THE birthday dessert. And everything was in grams and such, so I started to convert it and had everything converted when, while beginning to bake, I remembered that I have a food scale…which can measure in grams. Life works out so nicely sometimes, doesn’t it? Or maybe it was just because I was making chocolate cake.
Torta al Cacao from bell’ alimento:
Makes one fabulous cake
50g butter (plus additional to butter pan), room temp
1 c. milk
1 large egg
50g unsweetened baking chocolate - grated finely. (I used Ghirardelli as she suggests using a nice chocolate as it is the star of the dish.)
1 capful of pure vanilla extract
125g of Greek yogurt
1 tsp baking soda
Powdered sugar (to garnish)
Preheat oven to 355 degrees.
Using a stand mixer add the sugar, butter and egg to the mixing bowl. Mix until creamy and very light in color (a few minutes of gossiping with the birthday girl will do). Once the mixture is creamy, add the grated chocolate, tell the birthday girl that grating chocolate is proof of how much you love her, and mix well. At this point, it didn’t look chocolate-y enough, so I added some Ghirardelli baking cocoa powder that I was fortunate to have on hand. I think, while doing conversions, that I didn’t grate enough chocolate. In a bowl, combine the yogurt, milk, and vanilla extract. Add to mixing bowl. Stir until incorporated. Add the baking soda to the flour and gradually add to mixing bowl. The gradual part is key, as it is with almost all baking. Mix the flour in slowly and you’ll have a well constructed baked good. Seriously, take your time. Drink some wine with the birthday girl. Stir until well incorporated.
Butter and flour a 10″ round cake pan. I like to butter and sugar my baking pans. It makes cakes taste just a little better. I believe I found the tip on some random recipe on Epicurious. I’m indebted to that anonymous user. Add batter to pan. Tap pan so that air bubbles are released. Give the beater to the birthday girl to eat. Place cake into oven and bake for approximately 45-50 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test, which for me, was closer to an hour. Allow cake to cool. Move to your serving platter or cake stand and dust with powdered sugar. I actually do have a cake stand and I think this was the first time it was used to hold a cake. It converts into an appetizer tray and a punch bowl and is one of the greatest wedding registry gifts we received. Thanks Lindsay! We had one solitary birthday candle in the house, so that’s what went in the cake.
It was transported, carefully, to my friend David’s house and after dinner, consumed. And it was so good! It is both dense and fluffy at the same time. I am definitely going to make this again. I may even get fruit involved. Happy 25th birthday Amy!