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I hope your week is off to a wonderful start
A few fun links from around the web to share today:
The magic of chilling wine in 7 minutes flat [via Food52]
If you cook at home but don’t know the name Judith Jones, you almost certainly still owe her a debt of gratitude. She edited some of the greatest cookbooks of the 20th century and shares wisdom she acquired along the way [via Eater]
7 Reasons to take a probiotic beyond digestive health [via Food Coach NYC]
No wonder my husband is always editing my posts – Why it’s so hard to catch your own typos [via Wired]
Would you ever try an online gym? [via Zuzka Lite]
The Tyranny of Olive oil [via Washington Post]
You’re not alone (historically speaking) – A Brief History of the sad desk lunch [via CityLab]
Loving Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book
My favorite read from the week: Why The best reporter in a generation had to stop [via Esquire]
Food editor, restaurant critic, author, and editor of Gourmet magazine – Ruth Reichl’s home in Spencertown, NY started as a summer-house but ended as a haven [via NY Times]
A list of all the best accessories for iEverything [via Wirecutter]
A cliff notes of sorts, for when we need encouragement – 131 actionable ideas from ten book I wish I’d read ages ago [via Medium]
An interview with Brene Brown – The Courage to be vulnerable [via On Being]
In need of a bit of decorating? These removable wallpapers caught my eye [via Coco + Kelley]
4 Women, You Should Know on Youtube [via Clementine Daily]
7 Ideas for Table Displays that aren’t flowers [via Apartment Therapy]
My projects over the weekend involved cake(!)
In just a few days, a very special baby shower, and I’m in charge of all things dessert. Out of the twenty-five or thirty guests, I’ll only know the parents. Maybe it’s my bit of type-A showing through, or perhaps it’s nerves, but I’ve tested more than a few recipes.
As my husband began to taste his way through, we quickly realized there might be a dilemma. The sweet treats we’ve loved in previous lives, simply don’t taste good to us anymore. Whereas desserts made with natural ingredients, may not be sweet enough for those with a different palate.
Case in point: a vegan, gluten-free cheesecake with a filling made from creamed coconut milk and cashews. It’s absolutely delicious, but, “If you’re looking for a sweeter cheesecake, this one probably won’t taste the best.”
In the category of chocolate cake, this recipe is a nice marriage of the two worlds. It’s mature in both flavor and texture when compared to something like a Duncan Hines; offering a bold taste of chocolate, with just enough sweetness that you won’t feel deprived.
Earthy beets are surprisingly well suited for rich dark chocolate, and make the cake incredibly moist; nearly molten. Not to mention the beautiful color; step aside red velvet. It’s chocolatey, though not overly sweet, reminding me of a decadent snack cake rather than a towering frosted dessert.
The author tops the original with a crème fraîche and a sprinkle of poppy seeds. I suspect mascarpone would be interesting, or perhaps a simple scoop of vanilla ice cream alongside.
For this special event, I couldn’t resist Martha Stewart’s Ganache, which is as easy as it is delicious.
Extremely Moist Chocolate-Beet Cake with Ganache
- Chocolate-Beet Cake
- 8 oz beets
- 7 oz dark chocolate, 70% or greater, broken into small pieces
- ¼ cup hot espresso
- ¾ cup + 2 Tbsp butter
- 1 cup + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 ¼ tsp baking powder
- 3 Tbsp cocoa powder
- 5 eggs
- Scant 1 cup superfine sugar
- 8 oz semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
- 1 cup coconut cream (or heavy cream)
- ⅛ tsp coarse sea salt
- Chocolate-Beet Cake
- Preheat the oven to 350° F
- Lightly butter an 8 or 9-inch springform cake pan and line the base with a round of baking parchment.
- In a pot of boiling, unsalted water, add the beets (whole and unpeeled). Cook until tender (~ 30-40 minutes)
- Drain and rinse them with cool water. Slice off their stem, root, and peel them.
- Process the beets in a blender or food processor until they're a coarse purée.
- In a small bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder & cocoa.
- Separate the eggs, putting the whites in a large mixing bowl and the yolks into a smaller bowl.
- Gently whisk the yolks.
- In a small bowl over a pot of simmering water, add the broken pieces of chocolate and allow it to melt. (Don't stir!)
- When the chocolate looks like it's almost melted, pour the hot espresso over it and stir once.
- Cut the butter into small pieces (the smaller, the better) and add it to the bowl with the melted chocolate.
- With a spoon, push the butter below the surface of the chocolate, and allow to soften.
- Remove the bowl of chocolate from the heat and stir until the butter has completely melted into the chocolate.
- Let sit for a few minutes to cool before stirring in the egg yolks. After adding the yolks, mix until the eggs have blended into the mix.
- Fold in the pureed beets.
- Whisk the egg whites until stiff (it's far easier with a stand mixer), adding the sugar toward the end.
- Fold the processed egg whites into the chocolate mix. (A large metal spoon is handy here; you'll want to work in deep, figure-eight movements, taking care not to over-mix.
- Fold in the flour and cocoa mix.
- Transfer the batter to the prepared cake pan and put in the oven, decreasing the heat immediately to 325 degrees F.
- Bake for ~ 40 minutes.
- How can you tell if it's done? The rim of the cake will feel spongy, while the inner part should still wobble a little when gently shaken. Test with a cake tester or toothpick too -- if it is still gooey in the center, continue baking just until moist crumbs cling to the tester.
- Set the cake aside to cool (it will sink just a little in the center), loosening it around the edges with a thin icing spatula after half an hour or so.
- The cake will be easiest to remove after it's completely cold.
- Top with Ganache.
- Coarsely chop the chocolate. (A serrated knife is best for the job; its saw-like teeth grab the chocolate, breaking it up)
- Over medium-high heat, bring the coconut cream just to a boil.
- Pour over chocolate, and add salt. Let stand for 10 minutes (don't stir -- as doing so will cool the ganache too quickly, and make it grainy)
- Stir with a whisk until smooth and shiny to break up any pieces and emulsify the cream and chocolate.
- Chocolate will often settle on the bottom or sides of the bowl. Scrape the dish with a rubber spatula to incorporate all of it.
- To make a whipped filling or frosting: Let the ganache cool to room temperature, stirring often, 45 minutes to 1 hour. Beat it with a mixer on medium-high speed until paler and fluffy (~ 2 to 4 minutes)
- This will yield about 2 cups.
- Spread evenly over the cake