Chocolate Idiot Cake
April 24, 2011 § 3 Comments
J: This is the second time I’ve made this cake. The first time was back in the days before Nombudsman existed, and while I think there were some things that worked better the first time and some that worked better the second time, both times the cake was pretty indisputably delicious. It is called the “chocolate idiot cake” because, according to its creator David Lebovitz, it is so easy to make that only an idiot could mess it up. And seriously it’s true; as long as you follow the directions and bake it for some amount of time it will be ridiculously tasty.
The first time I made this cake, it set completely. This time around I was making it for a Seder (yay for flourless cakes!) and was in a rush to get there on time, so it did not set entirely — I literally pulled it out of the oven as soon as the top was set (which took way longer than Mr. Lebovitz said it would!), wrapped it in dish towels, and bolted out the door. But according to the people who ate it, it was still “disgusting” (in a good way) and “one of the best things I’ve ever tasted” and “the uncooked part was the best!” So, yeah, I didn’t get many complaints.
David Lebovitz’s Chocolate Idiot Cake
(original recipe found here)
10 oz bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped roughly
7 oz (14 tbsp) butter, cut into pieces
1 c sugar
Cinnamon or cocoa powder, for sprinkling (see below)
Preheat your oven to 350.
Put the chocolate and butter, both cut/chopped into pieces, in a bowl and either melt in a double boiler or use the microwave (I did the latter, not having a double boiler handy… Santa, hear that?).
If you’re using a microwave, melt it in 30-second increments and stir between each one until the mixture is smooth.
Set aside, but stir it every now and then just to keep it smooth.
While you are melting the chocolate and butter, take a 9-inch springform pan (makes getting the cake out so much easier!), and butter it lightly. The original recipe directs you to dust it with cocoa powder, but I am currently out of cocoa powder — I know, and I call myself a foodie?! — so my ingenious, if I do say so myself, substitution was cinnamon. Seriously, use cinnamon instead of cocoa powder. It was an amazing swap, and gave each bite of the cake a little hint of cinnamon deliciousness to complement the rich, deep chocolateyness.
Tap out any excess cinnamon, and wrap the outside of your pan in aluminum foil, making sure that it comes more than halfway up the sides of the pan. You want this to be pretty watertight.
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until smooth. Then slowly add in the chocolate/butter mixture, whisking as you go to make sure it combines nicely. Pour this mixture into the prepared springform pan, and don’t forget to lick the bowl!
Place the springform pan in a large glass baking or casserole dish. Fill this dish with hot water until it comes up to about the halfway mark on the springform pan. Cover the springform pan with a sheet of foil, and place the whole complicated thing — carefully, since it will be very heavy — into the oven. Bake for 75 minutes.
Here’s the thing. I did all of this “giftwrapping” of the cake before it went into the oven, and it took forever to bake. Mr. Lebovitz’s cooking time is an hour and 15 minutes, but mine was nowhere near done at that point; even the top wasn’t set yet. I removed the foil from the top of the cake when it reached the 75-minute point and was still gooey, and it set pretty quickly after that, but as I mentioned above, the rest of the cake was not cooked all the way through. I might recommend either forgoing the foil cover entirely, removing it about halfway through the baking process, or maybe cutting slits in it to help the cake along while not letting it lose all its moisture.
After the Seder, I put the leftovers (of which there were only about two slices) into the freezer, and that helped it set some, so if yours doesn’t set entirely either, you can do that too.
And again, regardless of whether it sets fully… it will be amazing.