Naptime Goals: Make Flourless Chocolate Cake for early Valentine's Day celebration
Tonight's Meal: Take-out from our favorite restaurant, cake for dessert.
Parenting Lesson of the Day: There is no such thing as too many toys in the diaper bag when traveling!
We are celebrating Valentine's Day a little early this year because we will be in Florida during the actual holiday. This doesn't bother us in the least. Hallmark holidays are fun and all, but we don't take them too seriously. In fact, this year we are happy to pass up going out to dinner altogether since we plan to be taking in the ocean breezes from my in-law's porch in Venice, Florida.
There is one thing about Valentine's Day I refuse to give up, however, and that is chocolate. I'll happily forgo balloons, sugar candies and roses, but you'd better give me a rich, dense chocolate dessert or I will be one unhappy girl. For this year's meal we are ordering out from one of our favorite neighborhood restaurants. Since we are traveling the following day I don't want to buy lots of ingredients that will go bad in the fridge. Instead, we agreed to order the main course and cap off our meal with a fabulous homemade dessert.
Obviously I am more than happy to be responsible for the cake production given my love of baking. Last year I made mini-bundt cakes and this year we'll enjoy a delicious Flourless Chocolate Cake from one of my new favorite cookbooks, Park Avenue Potluck Celebrations. You may remember, I hosted a virtual celebration to trumpet it's release back in October. Since then I've been cooking and baking my way through each chapter, loving the delicious results of each recipe.
I don't have a very well-stocked bar, so I had to wing it a bit when it came to the whiskey-soaked currants. I used Grand Marnier instead, which I quite enjoyed. I loved the boozy orange flavor it gave the cake and think I will do it again the next time I make it. Best of all, this cake is ideal to make-ahead. Since part of the process of making it is allowing it to cool in the fridge for at least 3 hours, I had no trouble making it during my daughter's naptime. It would also be great to make in the morning, or even the night before you want to eat it since it can chill for up to 24 hours without going bad.
As you can probably guess, I had about .5 seconds to take the photographs here before my husband dove right in for a bite. I guess that is to be expected with something this good. Happy Valentine's Day!
Since Valentine's Day puts me in the giving mood I am happy to give away a cookbook to one lucky winner. To enter please leave me a comment below by midnight EST on 2/22/10 and tell me your favorite Valentine's dessert!
Flourless Dark Chocolate Cake
adapted from Park Avenue Potluck Celebrations
1/2 lb. unsalted butter, room temperature
1 c. dried currants
1/2 c. Grand Marnier
1/2 lb. Bittersweet Chocolate (at least 70% cocoa), finely chopped
6 large eggs
1 1/2 c. superfine sugar
1 t. potato starch, sifted
1 t. good quality vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 325ºF. Butter a 10-inch round cake pan, set aside.
2. In a small bowl place the currants, add the Grand Marnier and set aside.
3. In a heatproof bowl place the butter and chocolate. Microwave it in 20-second bursts for up to a minute, stirring after each to melt butter and chocolate together. Melting the chocolate can also be done over a double boiler.
4. In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment beat the eggs and sugar until pale and creamy, about 4-5 minutes. Fold in sifted potato starch. Then, with a wooden spoon, stir in the chocolate mixture, vanilla, the currants and remaining Grand Marnier from the bowl.
5. Pour batter into cake pan and bake for 40 minutes. The cake will be firm but a test will not be perfectly clean.
6. Allow the cake to cool to room temperature, the refrigerate for at least 3 hours or overnight before serving.
Naptime Recipe Variations and Ideas: The original recipe calls for whiskey or brandy with currants or raisins. If you'd prefer either of those feel free to use them, I liked the orange flavor of Grand Marnier myself. I like to serve this with vanilla ice-cream or fresh whipped cream on the side.
Naptime Stopwatch: Preparing this batter takes about 20 minutes and is very easy. Then bake it, cool it, and dessert is ready.
Naptime Reviews: My daughter did not love the currants in the cake, but loved the rest of it. My husband adored the cake overall, it was a delicious holiday treat.