Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ottolenghi's Chocolate Fudge Cake

I'm rushing today. My hack job photography will be testament of that.

I've had a busy day cleaning, baking and as I often do in the summer when school is out, babysitting (word gets around that you're a stay-at-home mom and willing to watch kids occasionally). Once I post this I'm going to change out of my chocolate splattered clothing, drop off little Humble at her Grandfathers and go volunteer. Woo! Eventually I'm going to crash and burn on this schedule but so far it has been fun.

So, food... Lately I've been testing and tweaking a lot of recipes, in addition to my blogging. Today it was Lemon Meringue. One of my ultimate baking quests is for the perfect lemon meringue pie. I love this pie and I've been making it since I was a tween and still, I can't seem to settle on a recipe.

I can do a mean crust and meringue, it is just that filling that is so pesky. I want to be able to cut it cleanly (not slump or weep) and yet still have a nice acidity. Which is the trouble, as the more lemon juice you use the more likely your thickeners are going to struggle to maintain the structural integrity of the pie. Pesky baking chemistry! So frustrating.

Today's post isn't about lemon meringue pie though. I'm just posting my pie because it's gorgeous (and tasty, just not OCD perfect). Today's post is all about chocolate.

So one of the souvenirs I brought back with me from the UK was a cookbook. I really like picking up cookbooks while in Europe because they always use metric and as un-American as it is to say this, metric is just a better way to cook.

One of the cookbooks I was looking for was Ottolenghi's latest book. Since I've been home, I've cooked from it quite a bit--the spicy meat pie is wonderful--and today we're baking the chocolate fudge cake. It seems that I've developed an obsession with ugly cakes this week, because like the Gâteau Basque Cake, this cake is hideously delicious.

It is hard to describe. It is like a cross between a cake and a baked chocolate mousse or soufflé. One layer is firmer, cake-ier and the other is gooey like brownie batter. It packs a lot of dark chocolate and is probably best reserved for the most of ardent chocoholics.

Ottolenghi's Chocolate Fudge Cake

serves 8-10
240g unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
265g dark chocolate (52% cocoa), chopped
95g dark chocolate (70% cocoa), chopped
290g light muscovado sugar
4 tablespoons water
5 large eggs, separated
pinch of salt
cocoa powder for dusting

Preheat your oven to 170°C (350°F).

Butter a 20cm (8") springform pan and line the bottom and sides with parchment.

In a large heat proof bowl, combine the chopped chocolates and butter.

Combine the muscovado sugar and water in a small sauce pan and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently. Pour the boiling syrup over the chocolate and butter and stir until they have melted. Add the egg yolks, one at a time, to the chocolate mixture and then set the bowl aside until the mixture comes to room temperature.

In a large bowl, beat the egg whites and salt to a firm but not dry meringue.

Using a rubber spatula, fold a third of the meringue into the chocolate mixture. Once combined, add another third, fold and then fold in the remaining third until just combined.

Pour 2/3rds of the batter into your prepared pan (about 800g, reserving the remaining batter for later) and bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and leave it on a wire rack to cool completely. Flatten the cake with an offset spatula. Don't worry about breaking the surface crust and pour the rest of the batter on top. Level the surface again. Return the cake to the oven and bake for a further 20-25 minutes. When tested with a skewer the cake should have a few moist crumbs clinging to it.

Allow to cool completely in the springform pan before attempting to unmold it. Dust with cocoa powder before serving.


  1. Looks delicious! I love the image of the fork as well, nice touch whether it was intentional or not!

  2. Mmmmmmm, that cake is to die for! Yum!

  3. hmm are you a stickler for all natural ingredients? I am wondering about the tartness in the lemon part.

    I too like the fork outline. You should be a professional food photographer if you aren't already!

  4. wow! what a great recipe & no flour (perfect for a holiday cake)...on my short list...
    & your meringue...just this humidity- i am most impressed!!
    would it be nosy if i asked where you do not have to respond...

  5. Pfft, if anything is unamerican, it's using british imperial units.

  6. Damn. That looks freaking delicious. Holy moley.

  7. ha, i bought this book off amazon last week and it just arrived today and my first post about it was going to be this cake! I'm glad you tested it out first though and now i KNOW its going to be good! cant wait!!

  8. You stole my heart with the missing fork - the cake ain't to bad either

  9. Um, I think you forgot to add the photo illustrating you did a hack job because all of these photos look superb as usual! YUM!

  10. Yay metric!!

    I have been seriously craving chocolate for the past few days... I think I need this. For the record, it's 11:30 PM, I have chocolate cupcakes cooling on a rack and croissant dough in the fridge, and I am very seriously considering busting open the pantry just to get this in my gut.


    Also, definitely not hack-job photos. They're lovely :)

  11. I love brownie batter, so I'm guessing that this cake is pretty darn good! Love the last photo!

    Meringue Tip: add the sugar slower than you think!

  12. I love cakes with no or little flour in them...the chocolate and all the other ingreients come out to be tasted....this is an the lemon is a new recipe that is slowly spreading in my country...easy...inexpensive...few ingredients...beautiful for these hot summer filling seems to be fine...but when it cools I always have an excess of water, not a lot sweating between the filling and the white part....don't know what the problem is...all the best from Serbia

  13. Woo! A metric recipe! I love them! Cup measurements confuse me too much as all the cups in my house are different sizes! Can't wait to make this one, looks amazing!

  14. I'm with Kaitlin. Love metric.

    You know, that Ottolenghi guy is pretty good looking. How long before cheff success turns him fat, huh?

  15. What a great cake! Yum.

    Ottolenghi is good, don't you think? I wonder, did you get a chance to go there when you were in London, after all?

    You refer to this book a s Ottolenghi's latest, however, his new one is "Plenty", just released a month or two ago, and is based on a column he was writing, showcasing vegetarian food. Its a fabulous book but I've not cooked anything from it yet.

    I want a piece of chocolate mousse cake!


  16. I don't know why you think these cakes are ugly. I think they're pretty enough to photograph, eat, and post on the Internet. Apparently, you do, too.

  17. katiepepper,

    No visit to Ottolenghi for me while I was in London. The day I planned to go was the same day I went to Borough Market and the little Humble had her epic melt-down.

    I'll be back in the UK early next year for more food tourism. I do try to visit my Mother as often as Mr. Humble's vacation allowance allows so that won't be my last trip overseas.


    Oh I don't mind sharing what I've been up to lately. I've been volunteering with one of our local Coast Salish Indian tribes. Really been enjoying it too, it is so nice to get out of the house/city.

  18. thank you for replying...your generosity of spirit is very large...

  19. I recently purchased a copy of the Ottolenghi Cookbook and am reading it like a novel...I love it. I haven't made it as far as the dessert/baking chapters yet (other than to peek ahead), but I'm so glad to see that you had good results. Thanks for posting.

  20. Wow this looks quite delicious. I can't handle anymore chocolate for now but this is bookmarked!

  21. if only winter was here so i could have all the chocolate i want!

  22. I'd love a slice right now.

    Until then.


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