November 23, 2010

Deep Dark Chocolate Cake and Champagne


Our Flourless Chocolate Wedding Cake

I love cake.

Over the years, I've created choo-choo train and teddy bear cakes to commemorate first birthdays and engineered conical volcano cakes replete with spewing lava (dry ice) and plastic dinosaurs to entertain six-year-olds. The "I'd rather have pie as cake" request was fulfilled once or twice. Young John had a multi-year stint with peanut butter frosting on a chocolate cake as his favorite. Lacy pink cakes said "Happy Sweet Sixteen", and German chocolate cakes were the once a year preference that signaled that it was Dad's birthday. Countless baby shower cakes, anniversary cakes, and even a few wedding cakes made it in to my cake baking history for dear friends and family. And a plain ol' oatmeal spice cake with burnt sugar topping or the like was often found waiting as a quick snack between school and soccer practice.

I Really Like This Man

So who was I to say no when the wedding coordinator at King Estate Winery asked us to come for a tasting to select our choice for wedding cake? We were presented with a variety of selections: Hazelnut cake with vanilla buttercream (a little too much cinnamon for the occasion), white cake or chocolate cake, filled with a variety of estate made preserves and topped with fluffy buttercream (delicious but too "wedding-y" for people our age, we thought.)

My Baby and I, Taking in Our Guests at Our Reception

"May we just have your flourless chocolate cake, the one that's always on your menu, served with pistachio ice cream like you do in the restaurant?," we asked. "Three small layers, no fancy frosting but dusted with cocoa and 10x sugar?" Toby, King Estate's talented and artistic baker made a quick sketch. "Like this? Would you like me to add grape clusters from our harvest and little fruits and flowers from the estate to add a finishing touch?"

Perfect. Almost as cool as the volcano cake.


And I love celebrating. Throw a little champagne in with the cake, and any moment can become a party.

Cake Top

The day after our wedding, we packed up our little wedding cake layer top and a lush bottle of locally produced Domaine Meriwether champagne and drove to San Francisco for an overnighter before catching a plane to New Zealand. In San Francisco, the dense chocolate cake and the bubbles extended our celebration even further, this time a bit more privately.

What Could Say "Celebrate" Any Better?

Yesterday, a big box marked FRAGILE FRAGILE FRAGILE arrived on the doorstep. Inside was a wedding gift of 18 sparkling crystal champagne flutes, identical to some special ones we'd sipped champagne from on our honeymoon.

A Lifetime of Memories, Waiting to Happen

At a swank New Zealand restaurant, I'd enjoyed the glass almost as much as its contents, and made the following note in my travel journal. "Schott Zwiesel champagne glass: Gentle understated curve of the stem, appropriately restricted rim to capture bubbles. Form and function elegantly intersect."

Schott Zwiesel, the Elegant Champagne Glass

So, upon unwrapping the thoughtful gift, what did we do? We popped a cork, of course, filled one of the fine glasses the first of many times ahead, and commemorated yet another wonderful day.

Flourless Deep Dark Chocolate Cake
4 oz. good quality dark chocolate (I often use Trader Joe's 72% Belgian Chocolate, sold in 17 oz. bars), chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter, cut in 8th's
pinch of sea or kosher salt
3/4 c. sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

Preheat oven to 375˚. Butter one 8" round cake pan, and line bottom of pan with wax or parchment paper.

In double boiler, melt chocolate and butter together until smooth, stirring constantly. Stir in sugar and salt. Whisk in eggs until thoroughly combined. Sift cocoa powder over top, and gently fold in, then stir briefly just to combine.

Pour batter into prepared cake pan. Bake for 25 minutes, until top develops a thin crust. The traditional toothpick or skewer cake testing method doesn't work here. You don't want to dry the cake out, and it will set up once cool, so it's a bit better to under- rather than over-do-it on this one.

Allow cake to cool in pan for 10-15 minutes. Release any stuck edges with a thin knife, and invert on a rack to complete cooling. Serve dusted with additional cocoa and your favorite ice cream or berry sorbet.
Cheers!

Wedding photos in this post are credited to William D. Pond. Thank you, Bill.

17 comments:

  1. Oh Pam! I got teary-eyed as I scrolled down and saw you and "Baby" in your wedding attire! So beautiful. I've been dying to see wedding pictures. thank you so much for sharing. what a beautiful cake and glasses and memories! So incredibly special.

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  2. Thank you so much for sharing your special day with us, Pam! What lovely photos of the two of you. Happy Thanksgiving!!! Kate

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  3. What a lovely wedding reception and gorgeous cake :) My friend just requested a dark chocolate cake for her birthday so I think this may be the one! Thanks for sharing!!

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  4. A beautiful cake to celebrate a beautiful wedding. Just perfect. Congrats!

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  5. Loved the pictures and most definitely, champagne and dark chocolate are meant for each other!

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  6. What a beautiful presentation of what has got to be a delicious cake! Perfect choice~

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  7. Congratulations and oh how wonderful everything looks on your wedding day. What beautiful memories you will have. And of course, the cake! It sounds so delicious.

    Thanks for sharing your fabulous day.

    P.S. And you are a very handsome couple.

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  8. Congratulations, what a beautiful post.

    You have a very handsome bloke there, that picture of both of you is lovely. Thank you so much for sharing this.

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  9. Thanks, everyone, for sharing in my utter joy one more time. Life is too short to not soak up all the moments, good and not so good, and celebrate what they mean and become to us, yes?

    So, it's Tuesday night. Go celebrate whatever is happening in your life at the moment!!!

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  10. Wow the cake looks so beautiful and perfect! I can't believe it's flourless! It sounds really delicious, too.

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  11. Beautiful cake! Your site is also very nice. I'm so glad I found it.

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  12. Look lovely. Congrats on making a cake for a wedding. I've heard that is very stressful to do.

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  13. What a lovely cake for a beautiful wedding.
    Congratulations to you & Baby!

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  14. Thanks so much for sharing this beautiful moment :)Your cake looks so beautiful :)

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  15. You guys looked great and so happy to. You wrote about wine and food too, didn't you.

    Margot wants the cake so thanks for making it so that I now have to!

    And a glass of bubbly firmly raised west in a toast. I am so happy to have been able to peer in on this event.

    Jason

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  16. Congrats, Pam! I've been so busy I've not had time to officially congratulate you. As usual, the blog looks WONDERFUL and your wedding looks like it was lovely!

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