the chocolate cake

Our neighbor Lisa made this for us once, after a delicious dinner full of lively conversation.  It’s nothing much to look at.  However, as we distractedly put the forks in our mouths, the conversation stopped.  Here’s what Lisa wrote back the following day when we asked the inevitable followup question:

Thanks Adrienne and Blaise for an all around fabulous dinner and fun evening on Sunday.  Included is the recipe for those who are in mode to convert from metrics to OZ.

Be good and MerryX.


The Chocolate cake

  • 3 dl sugar [1.268 ≈ 1¼ cups]
  • 1½ dl flour [0.634 ≈ 2/3 cup]
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla sugar [or a few drops of vanilla extract]
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 4 tablespoons of cacao
  • 150 g melted butter [5.291 oz]
  • 2 eggs

Mix dry ingredients.  Pour in the melted butter and eggs.  Fill in bake form that has been buttered and bread crumbed (for cake to not stick).

Put into oven (200 C [392ºF]).  The cake should look just slightly baked when taken out from oven. Serve with ice cold whipped cream.

[Just to pretend I’m contributing some value here, I’ve added the imperial units in square brackets.]

When I tried making this cake some days later, I made a couple of modifications, almost without thinking.  When it was in the oven I realized that I should have left the recipe alone, since Lisa’s rendition was pretty much unimprovable.  But to my surprise, when the cake came out it was– not better than Lisa’s– the same as Lisa’s!  She admitted later, when pressed, that she had made pretty much the same changes.  Namely: reduce the sugar a bit, perhaps to just a cup; and increase the cocoa by a large factor, as in, 12 tablespoons.  We could call these “the girl change” and “the boy change”.

A couple of other notes.  The bake form or cakepan should be smallish, perhaps 10″.  Since I don’t usually have stale bread around, I’ve used polenta or cornmeal to crumb the pan after buttering it, and this has worked well.  The whipped cream is quite essential to this dense and intense flat cake.  Put a pint of heavy whipping cream in the freezer for a short while to get it very cold (but don’t freeze), then whip, adding no sugar or vanilla– non-sweet whipped cream goes best.  You turn out the cake onto a plate, and if you want it to look cakelike, put a light dusting of powdered sugar on it.  (Or skip the powdered sugar, which is strictly speaking pure style.)  Serve it still warm.  Put generous dollops of whipped cream on each slice.  Enjoy in silence.

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