On your one year wedding anniversary, it is tradition that the couple eats the top of the wedding cake, which is typically frozen after the event and saved for this milestone. Seeing that Eric and I didn’t have a cake with two grooms in tuxes on top, we were unable to take part in this when we celebrated our first year of marriage yesterday. But that didn’t stop us from creating our own tradition.
Before we get into that, though, let’s jump back to a few years ago, when we started brainstorming what we would have for our dessert. The plan was to just serve ice cream from Four Seas at the wedding. Four Seas is a small, yet hugely popular shop on Cape Cod, and they have incredible flavors (our favorites being ginger, black raspberry, and mocha chip). That was the original idea, until Lora Brody, a friend of the family and author of the cookbooks The Cape Cod Table and Growing Up on the Chocolate Diet (among others), offered to help us make miniature flourless chocolate cakes in the shape of hearts. And, really, how could we refuse?
We tried these chocolate cakes, which she playfully refers to as “Hearts of Darkness,” a few years ago when she brought them to Christmas dinner at Eric’s mom’s house. With each bite, we moaned in delight and by the end, we were in a food coma. So, we were pretty certain they’d be a hit at the wedding.
A few weeks prior to the big day, Eric and I went to Lora’s house to make 140 of these cakes. When we arrived, we found her getting the ingredients prepared in the kitchen. The counter was loaded with pound after pound of butter, eggs, and chocolate. We spent the next two hours baking and laughing and talking about our shared love of cooking.
Since we didn’t have any more of these cakes to have in celebration of our one year anniversary, I decided to make a batch for us and some friends who joined us for a relaxing weekend on the Cape. Everyone chipped in, cracking eggs, measuring out sugar. And the cakes came out exactly how I remember them. They are incredibly decadent.
I served them with a homemade cherry sauce (recipe is included after the one for the cakes), because you really can’t go wrong with that pairing.
Much thanks goes to Lora Brody for letting me share this recipe with all of you. I did want to add that Lora teaches a week long cooking class in France and she has two more openings for her session the week of October 22nd-29th. The classes are taught in English and they are held in the Dordogne, which, as Lora describes it, is “heavenly.” Click here for more information about the class.
Bête Noire (or the smaller “Heart of Darkness” Chocolate Cakes)
(from Lora Brody’s Growing Up on the Chocolate Diet)
Preparation: 15 minutes
Baking time: 30 minutes (approx.
20 min for the smaller cakes)
Serves: 12 (or 16 heart-shaped cakes. You can purchase the molds here)
8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, broken in small pieces
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, broken in small pieces
1 1/3 cups superfine sugar
1/2 cup water
2 sticks (8 ounces) sweet (unsalte
d) butter, at room temperature, cut into 10 chunks
5 extra large eggs, at room temperature
Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees with the rack in the center position. Lightly grease a 9″ layer cake pan and then line the bottom with a 9″ circle of parchment. Lightly grease the parchment. Set the cake pan in a jelly roll pan or roasting pan.
Combine one cup of the sugar and the water in a medium sized saucepan and, stirring occasionally, cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a vigorous boil. Turn off the heat and immediately add the chocolate to the boiling syrup and stir until it is completely dissolved.
Stir in the butter, one chunk at a time, stirring until each chunk is incorporated before adding the next.
Beat the eggs together with the remaining 1/3 cup of sugar until they are foamy and slightly thickened and then whisk them into the chocolate beating well to incorporate all the ingredients.
Pour and scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and level the batter with a rubber scraper.
Place the chocolate in the work bowl of a food processor. Crack the eggs into a spouted cup. Combine the 1 1/3 cups sugar and the water in a saucepan and stirring occasionally, cook over moderate heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixtu
re comes to a vigorous boil. Pour the boiling syrup over the chocolate, cover the processor with the feed tube in place and process for about 12 seconds or until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture smooth. With the machine on add the butter a chunk at a time, then add the eggs. Process for an additional 15 seconds.
Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan, leveling the top with a rubber scraper.
Place the cake pan and jelly roll (or roasting pan) in the oven and pour hot water to the depth of about one inch into the larger pan.
Bake the cake for exactly thirty minutes (about 20 minutes for the Heart of Darkness cakes). The top will have a thin dry crust on top, but the inside will be very moist. Carefully remove the cake pan from the oven (leave the water bath until it cools).
Cover the top of the cake with a piece of plastic wrap. Invert the cake onto a flat plate or cookie sheet. Peel off the parchment. Cover with a light, flat plate and immediately invert again.
1 cup fresh cherries, stemmed and pitted
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup sugar
1 tbsp vanilla
1 tbsp bourbon
Place water and cherries in a pot and set heat to medium. Let this come to a boil and then add the sugar. Raise temperature to high and cook for three minutes, constantly stirring as to make sure it does not burn. Lower heat to a simmer and let cook for eight minutes, stirring frequently. Add vanilla and bourbon, stir and cook for one minute. Add more sugar if needed. Otherwise, turn off heat and let the sauce cool (it will also thicken a bit more at this point).