Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dessert like you mean it

It's been a while since we've seen NE. She's been busy helping with a friend's wedding. And she's young, hot and single. As much as she loves us, she's got other shit to do that doesn't involve dinner with the family she used to nanny for. Luckily sometimes it does involve us. We get to catch up, I used to joke that I was old enough to be her unwed teenage mother, but in some ways she feels more like a little sister. And she gets to see the kids. They climb all over her, they demand her attention and they never seem to get enough of her. Unless there's cake (or quiche). This time there was both. Then she gets a minute or two of peace while they eat.

So here's a little dessert I like to call "Instant quiet for both kids and parents."

I used Nigella Lawson's Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake recipe from "How to be a Domestic Goddess". A quick aside, I bought this book after watching her food porn on TV and developing more than a little girl crush on her whole approach to food. I also loved the title of the book, how could I resist. Turns out it is a kick ass cookbook. I have made many of the recipes and loved them all. I highly recommend it if you are a baker. Now go buy it. Anyhow, back to the dessert.

Nigella's Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 2/3 cups dark brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted (I know it doesn't sound like enough, trust me)
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water

Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Grease and line a 9×5-inch loaf pan. Don't skip lining the pan, it really needs it.

Cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs and vanilla and beat in well. Melt the chocolate then mix it into the butter, sugar and eggs mixture. Add the flour and baking soda. She says to alternate the flour and boiling water spoonful by spoonful, but if you're like me, you've skipped that part of the instruction and now just dump them in individually. It works fine that way too. The batter will be really fluid. I thought I'd screwed something up, but really it's fine. Pour into the lined loaf pan, and she says to bake for 30 minutes. Turn the oven down to 325ºF and cook for another 15 minutes. Here is where I think Nigella is on crack. Mine wasn't anywhere near done at 45 minutes, it took over an hour. Probably close to 70 minutes, but keep an eye on it, it will appear set.

Place the loaf pan on a rack, and leave to get completely cold before turning it out. Makes 8-10 sliceSo I baked this dense, deliciously moist cake and served thick slices topped with sauce made from the brandied cherries I canned when our cherry tree went berzerk and produced about 50 lbs of fruit. If you don't have home canned fruit, and really, why would you? I've seen jars of morello cherries at Trader Joe's.

Cherry Sauce
Use about a 1/2 c of the cherry juice to create a slurry with about a tablespoon of corn starch Add it to the rest of the cherries and juice in a medium sized sauce pan on the stove over medium heat.
Stir and cook until the sauce thickens.
That's it. All that's left to do is ladle the still-warm sauce over the cake slices and enjoy the silence.

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