Dark Chocolate and Red Wine Kladdkaka

The Big Blizzard of 2015 arrived this morning and what better time to bake something decadent and delicious? Everybody knows calories don’t count when you’re snowbound and cut off from the rest of the world, right? This could be your dinner! No one has to know.

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This is a Swedish chocolate cake known as Kladdkaka. It roughly translates as “sticky” cake. So rustically gorgeous! I saw this recipe on Pinterest about a week ago and flipped. A flourless chocolate cake flavored with wine?  Sophisticated AND yummy. This cake has very few ingredients and is simple to make. I got the recipe here from Hummingbird High food blog.  Thanks,  Michelle!

This recipe starts with a whole lotta chopped chocolate. I used bittersweet.

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Melted that in a double boiler with two sticks of European butter I had leftover from my Brown Butter and Vanilla Bean Weekend Cake.

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Whipped up some eggs, sugar and vanilla for 5 minutes to get this lovely, pale yellow batter.

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I folded the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture. I was supposed to fold until the batter was a uniform brown, but I gave up and poured this two-toned batter into the prepared springform pan. I think it looks pretty.

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Baked the cake for 35 minutes, then let it cool on a rack for a couple of hours. I was so tempted to eat it warm, like a molten lava cake, but I exercised restraint.

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When I finally tasted this cake I was floored! I’m embarrassed to admit it, but the phrase that passed through my head was OMFG! I’m also embarrassed to admit that I actually scarfed down the piece I was going to photograph. It was THAT good. A forkful of dense, creamy, dark chocolate, red wine deliciousness, with a delicate crumbling outer crust.

Here’s the piece I did photograph. Unfortunately, I  am unable to center anything properly on a plate.

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Don’t wait for Valentine’s Day. Make this ASAP and share it with anyone and everyone you love!

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TWD-Brown-Butter-and-Vanilla-Bean Weekend Cake

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I made this simple, but delicious cake this weekend. It had a really dense crumb and was bursting with buttery, sugary goodness. It was fragrant with Madagascar vanilla bean and the house smelled wonderful while it was baking. And what a gorgeous golden color when sliced! It was a little dry, but perfect with a cup of coffee to moisten things up on the palate. I would definitely make this again and try out some different flavor profiles. The recipe called for rum, but I wanted the butter and vanilla flavors to be the star of the show!

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The cake was very easy to make and called for simple ingredients and techniques. I wanted to make sure that the cake had a lot of flavor, so I used European butter with a higher fat content. I also used an extra long and plump vanilla pod to get as much vanilla flavor as possible.

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The batter was loaded with vanilla bean specks and the aroma when I folded in the beautiful liquid browned-butter was spectacular. And what a lot of butter it was! I was worried I had used too much as the batter was just drowning in it. However, once it was all folded in, the batter was thick, smooth, glossy and perfect.

Once the batter was in the pan, I baked it for 60 minutes.  I tented the pan with foil about 40 minutes in to prevent the cake from browning too quickly.  The finished product was a rich golden brown color.

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So there you have it! Weekend Cake! A staple in the repertoire of every French baker. Always on hand for impromptu guests, family snacking or a sweet reward for the happy baker. Bon Weekend!

TWD-Granola Energy Bars

This week’s baking challenge for Tuesdays with Dorie was a recipe for Granola Energy Bars.The recipe can be found in Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. I have to admit I wasn’t too excited about making granola bars when there are so many decadent recipes in the book. I associate granola bars with the dry, brittle, “healthy” bars from the 70s, before they started dipping them in chocolate.

I did make the granola bars and I was surprised at how good a homemade, fresh granola bar can be. Especially when it’s loaded with nuts, dried fruit, chocolate chunks and coconut, all held together by thick, sweet rice syrup and lightly flavored with almond extract!  I can’t stop eating them.

These were simple to make, especially after the time consuming Buche de Noel we made last month.  I started making them after I put my grandson to bed at 8 and they were already cooling as I settled in on the couch to watch Downton Abbey at 9!

Here are a few pix I took with my camera phone throughout the process.

Getting ready to toast the oatmeal and nuts. I used cashews, almonds, walnuts and pepitas.

Getting ready to toast the oats and nuts.

I used cashews, almonds, walnuts and pepitas.

Oats, nuts, coconut and dried fruit.

Oats, nuts, coconut and dried fruit.

I chopped the nuts in my food processor, but a few of the almonds escaped whole.

And some semi-sweet chocolate chunks for good measure. Just in case they were dry, brittle or too "healthy".

And some semi-sweet chocolate chunks for good measure.

Just in case the bars turned out dry, brittle or too “healthy” tasting.

Fresh from the oven, a little ragged around the edges. I admit I did not have the patience to try to make a nice, neat rectangle with the buttered parchment paper. I kinda jammed the paper in as best as i could.

Fresh from the oven.

A little ragged around the edges. I admit I did not have the patience to try to make a nice, neat rectangle with the buttered parchment paper. I just jammed the paper in as best as I could. The upside is that I got to eat all the jagged edges after I cut the bars into rectangles.

GRANOLA ENERGY BARS

GRANOLA ENERGY BARS

I was not able to use the pictured tool to cut the granola bars. In the end I used a giant butcher knife. I had to apply a lot of pressure to cut the granola into bars and was seriously concerned I might lose a finger!

Overall, I’m glad I made these and I see so many possibilities for changing up the ingredients and flavorings. I’m thinking blueberries and white chocolate. Or maybe pecans with maple extract. Yum!

Coming soon: Brown Butter and Vanilla Bean Weekend Cake! Doesn’t that sound perfectly comforting on a cold, winter’s night? All cozy with a book and a hot mug of something? I think so!