Sunday, May 4, 2008
chocolate custard cake with raspberry-pomegranate sauce
I am a nice girl, really. Nice, at least, until you call and tell me that the cake I just spent my afternoon making is not welcome at your restaurant. You see, I expect that if I make a reservation (well in advance), fully disclose that I intend to bring a small cake, and ask you to let me know if that will be a problem, you will do so more than 1 hour prior to my reservation. So when you, dear hostess at Bellevue's well-known Seastar restaurant, call and tell me that your "house policy" doesn't allow homemade cakes, I will quickly point out the grave customer service error you have just made and, as you now know, I won't mince any words. Yes, I'll hold while you try to figure out what to do with me, the angry customer on the phone. I'll also smile and reply with a polite "thank you" when you return and say, "Ma'am, your cake won't be a problem." I didn't think so.
David Lebovitz refers to this cake as "Chocolate Idiot Cake" because it's practically foolproof and, really, anyone can make it. I opted to rename it only so that it is clear that the texture of the cake doesn't actually resemble regular cake at all. It is dense, ultra chocolaty, and very, very rich. So rich, in fact, that after three or four bites, no matter how much you like chocolate, trust me, you're full. Also, because it is so rich, it really benefits from some sort of accompanying sauce. I chose to make a raspberry-pomegranate sauce, but you could also use, as David recommends, cream anglaise or ice cream.
Chocolate Custard Cake with Raspberry-Pomegranate Sauce
Chocolate Custard Cake
A recipe from David Lebovitz
Makes one 9" cake or three 4.5" cakes
10 ounces high-quality bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
14 tablespoons (7 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
5 large eggs
1 cup sugar
Pinch of salt
Adapted from a recipe from Bon Appétit - October 2006
Makes about 2 cups
2 cups pomegranate juice
1 12-ounce bag frozen unsweetened raspberries (unthawed)
1/8 cup sugar
1/4 cup honey
To make the cake:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the springform pan(s) and dust with cocoa powder, tapping out any excess. If you suspect your springform pan isn't 100% water tight, wrap the outside with aluminum foil, making sure it goes all the way up to the outer rim.
Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler (or microwave), stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from heat.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and salt, then whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until smooth. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and cover the top snugly with a sheet of foil. Put the springform pan into a larger baking pan, such as a roasting pan, and add enough hot water to the baking pan to come about halfway up to the outside of the cake pan.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes. You'll know the cake is done when it feels just set, like quivering chocolate pudding. If you gently touch the center, your finger should come away clean.
Lift the cake pan from the water bath and remove the foil. Let cake cool completely on a cooling rack. Once cool, remove the sides of the springform pan.
Serve thin wedges of this very rich cake at room temperature. Cake can be wrapped and stored in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.
To make the sauce:
Bring juice to boil in large, heavy saucepan. Reduce heat; simmer until reduced to about 3/4 cup, about 35 minutes. Mix in raspberries and sugar. Simmer until reduced to about 2 cups, stirring frequently, about 20 minutes. Stir in honey and bring the mixture back to a simmer. Remove sauce from heat and allow to cool. Cover and store in refrigerator until ready to use (can be made one day ahead).