As you will see from most of the pages here, I am not a baker. It’s not that I don’t like to eat sweets but more that I really have minimal patience with having to do things “correctly” by which I mean reading the recipe and following directions. Sure we all know that you’re supposed to read the entire recipe through before deciding to launch into it. However, I seem to have snorted at this thought even way back in home ec. Do they still teach that? I love recipe books and my book shelf attests to that, however to me books are meant for reading, looking at the stunning photography and maybe just maybe getting some ideas. Knowing my propensity to ignore direction, I tend to ignore the “dessert” end of most books and instead rely on my great baker friends to provide the sweet something at the end of the meal.
So how did I come to be writing about this amazing dessert? I am very fortunate to belong to a group of women who decided it would be fun to get together with a lead cook, a meal plan and a new recipe book from which we would cook a meal together and then take the new cookbook home. Of course I dug right in when it came to chopping the onions, readying the duck and steaming the mussels but as usual left the cake to the bakers. We spent the afternoon cooking eating, and drinking wine as one should on a lovely Sunday afternoon. The menu was taken completely from Laura Calder’s newest book Paris Express.
We began with a lovely red onion tart to take the edge off. Next up were mussels in saffron cream sauce , we then moved on to asparagus soup with orange parsley toasted bread flakes. Feeling like we hardly needed more, the main course was next up pantry duck parmentier with roasted haricots verts garnished with garlic and mint. By this point, we really should have refrained from anything other than a good swift walk but sitting demurely on the sideboard was the picnic chocolate cake…..
To say that it was amazing would not really express how good it was. Suffice it to say, I decided my years of ignoring directions must come to an immediate end. I came home and made it the following Friday for my husband Gerry’s grad reunion party. Thank you Laura for sending me on a new venture and widening my horizons to dessert making, and also to Ann who was the catalyst for the French cooking group!
- 200 grams unsalted butter
- 200 grams dark chocolate (I used very good quality such as Callebaut)
- 4 eggs
- 200 grams sugar
- 30 grams flour
- 1 lime for garnish
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease, flour and use parchment paper in a 9 inch (23 cm) round cake pan.
- In a double boiler, melt the butter and chocolate together until smooth( the water under the bowl should be barely simmering).
- Remove the bowl from the heat and beat in the eggs, one at a time. Next add the sugar and then the flour.
- Place in the cake pan and bake for about 30 minutes. the centre will be a bit jiggly, but will firm up and the cake cools and shrinks. Grate the lime and sprinkle on top. I also sprinkled some icing sugar on it for effect and juiced the lime and squeezed a bit of juice all over to give it a bit of a tart contrast. Thank Laura Calder