One Impressive Easy Cake

A couple of weeks ago on Mother’s day I told my mom that as a present I would cook anything she picked out (secretly hoping it wasn’t anything too difficult). Dinner seemed easy enough: Herb Crusted Salmon with Roasted Potatoes. But dessert… well let’s just say she went with Julie Child’s Chocolate Ruffle Cake with an intimidating 5 and a half pages of instructions.

A pound and a half chunk of chocolate later and I was second guessing myself. Did I really want to also go to the hardware store to get the thick piece of plastic required for the layer of chocolate to go around the cake?

1.5 Hunk of Chocolate

I moved forward with the cake, a one layer 8 inch, that wasn’t too tough thanks to the very detailed Julia Child instructions. Then I got to the Ruffles and chocolate experimenting with a piece of 005 Mylar, skipped it, mixed up my own filling and in a smattering of inspiration spread it on top, not in-between, and topped with chocolate curls and sliced strawberries.

The result was a cake that took a mere hour and a half (maybe) as opposed to four and was just as impressive. A light spongy chocolate cake topped with cool crème fraiche, sliced strawberries, and decadent chocolate curls. My kind of easy summer treat.

The Cake:

Adapted from: Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan

3 tablespoons hot clarified unsalted butter (if it’s unclarified, you’ll be ok)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/3 cup + 1 tbs sifted all purpose flour

1/3 cup + 1 tbs sifted unsweetened cocoa powder, preferably Dutch

4 large eggs

2/3 cup sugar

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven or just below and preheat to 350 degrees. Fit the bottom of an 8-inch round cake pan, at least two inches high with parchment paper and set aside.

Pour the butter into a 1 quart bowl and stir in vanilla. The butter must be hot when added to the batter, so either keep the bowl in a skillet of hot water or reheat at the last moment.

Sift together the flour and cocoa powder. Set aside.

Whisk together the eggs and sugar in a heatproof bowl or the bowl of a heavy duty mixer. Over a pan of barely simmering water, heat the eggs whisking continuously until they are warm to the touch. Remove the bowl from the heat and attach to a mixer. Beat with a whisk attachment at high speed until the eggs are cool, have tripled in volume, and can hold a ribbon when the whisk is lifted.

Fold dry ingredients carefully, mixing until just combined. Add the batter to the bowl with the hot butter/vanilla mixture. Fold together until well blended. Spoon batter into pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

Allow to cool in the pan, then release with a small knife run along the edges, onto a rack to continue to cool. Ice as desired!

Crème Fraiche Filling

3 cups crème fraiche

2-3 tablespoons sugar to sweeten

2 teaspoons vanilla

Beat crème fraiche and vanilla until soft peaks form. Add sugar and mix until stiff. It doesn’t take much, and can easily be done by hand.

To decorate, smooth crème fraiche on top of cake and decorate with raspberries or sliced strawberries and curled chocolate.


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