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Friday, January 27, 2012

IT'S NATIONAL CHOCOLATE CAKE DAY!

Believe it or not January 27th is National Chocolate Cake Day. News to me and I'm betting it is to you as well so let's discuss it. Something as important as a holiday for chocolate cake should not be eaten lightly. Like Garfield has a thing for lasagna, I am a chocoholic to the core. I happened to learn about this holiday just today when I was on my favorite website, LOL I Can Has Cheeseburger. To be sure I wasn't seeing things I Googled 'National Chocolate Cake Day' and sure enough, it does exist. I will definitely be noting it on next year's Sister Very Catty Calendar, you can count on it.

After researching a few different sites regarding this holiday I found several that say the creator or origin of this day is unknown. There are no presidential proclamations or anything official like that and the only reason this holiday is referred to as 'national' is because that's just the way it is with food holidays. However, on other websites credit was given to a Dr. James Baker for developing a way to make chocolate by grinding the cocoa beans between two millstones back in 1764. Consequently this was the actual birth of cocoa powder which led to the endless possibilities for baking.

So to celebrate this day the best thing to do is bake a chocolate cake and then enjoy eating it and that's exactly what we did tonight. I'm here to tell you the cakes we baked were so yummy I decided to share the recipe we used. You won't believe how simple it is, with ingredients you probably have, and very little effort or mess you will have yourself one really good cake...well, actually two good cakes. Hang on...I'll get to that in a bit.

This recipe & info was taken from "The Best of America's Test Kitchen-Best Recipes & Reviews for 2011". It's called "Individual Fallen Chocolate Cakes For Two". The recipe explains that fallen chocolate cake is an intense, rich chocolate cake that ranges in texture from a dense, brownie-like consistency to something altogether ethereal. Essentially it is undercooked chocolate cake. It makes a perfect dessert for two and only requires a handful of ingredients. Under-baking it keeps the center of the cake slightly saucy. To bake the cakes you'll want to use two 6-inch ramekins, greasing them well and then dusting with cocoa powder for an extra chocolate flavor. This way they will easily release from the ramekin. The cakes are best served warm but we enjoyed the second cake later on after dinner and it was just as good as when warm. Positively sinful it was so chocolatey good.

So you will need the following:
2 six inch ramekins
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces bittersweet or semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon unbleached all-purpose flour
Confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400 degrees. Butter two 6-inch ramekins and dust with cocoa powder.
2. Combine the butter and chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high until melted, 1 to 3 minutes, stirring often. Stir in vanilla.
3. In a large bowl, whip the egg with an electric mixer on medium-low speed until foamy, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium-high and whip the egg to soft, billowy mounds, about 1 minute. Gradually whip in the granulated sugar and salt; continue to whip the egg until very thick and pale yellow, 5 to 10 minutes longer.
4. Scrape the whipped egg mixture on top of the chocolate mixture, then sift the flour over the top. Gently fold the mixtures together with a large rubber spatula until just incorporated and no streaks remain.
5. Divide the batter between the prepared ramekins, smooth the tops, and wipe any drops of batter off the sides. Place the ramekins on a rimmed baking sheet and bake the cakes until they have puffed about 1/2 inch above the rims of the ramekins and jiggle slightly in the center when shaken very gently, 10 to 13 minutes.
6. Run a small knife around the edges of the cakes. Gently invert each ramekin onto an individual serving plate and let them sit until the cakes release themselves from the ramekins, about 1 minute. Remove the ramekins, dust the cakes with confectioners' sugar (if using), and serve immediately.

This was without a doubt the ultimate taste sensation in chocolate cake and credit goes to Mr. Dan Zuccarello of America's Test Kitchen Books for his wonderful test results.

Now you know all about National Chocolate Cake Day and I'll just apologize for letting National Peanut Butter Day get past us on January 24th. Try to keep up people!

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