chocolate idiot cake

A Passover feast and a humbled baker

Aviv Organic Mazos whole wheat
I bought it because of the box

Passover was lovely.  We celebrated at the home of dear friends who kindly share this special holiday with us.  Our family celebrates the holiday traditions of each religion of  (parental) upbringing (Jewish and Catholic) and hope that we are also sharing the lessons and values of each. 

So, last night, first, a lovely, lively and simple seder kept the children and adults engaged as we all took turns reading from the Haggadah.  Then there was the food, oh, the food!  Perfectly delicious homemade matzoh ball soup and delectable brisket were the order of the day (I will print the recipes later from our hosts – Thank you, Grandma M!). 

Then there was the cake…oh, the cake, idiot-proof?  Hmm..well, it was fine when it came out of the oven but due to (both equipment and operator) error, there were a few issues.  First, the springform pan did let in some water (even though I did take the precaution of wrapping the pan in foil) which may have been less if I had the presence of mind to remove it from the water bath immediately.  My guess is that as it cooled, more water entered the pan, resulting in a really unattractive edge of liquid-y chocolate. Then cake started to slide off the pan in a really scary, rubbery way.  

Panic.  Breathe. Repeat.  

I cut off the edges and cut the cake into salvageable (brownie-like) sections.  Luckily I had whipped cream, ice cream, berries and Chocolate Carmel Matzos ready to go.  The cake tasted good but was clearly a mess.  So much for idiot-proof -oh, and we renamed the cake “Passover Princess Cake”  because a certain impressionable youngster learned the word idiot and it seemed like a good idea.  I have made this cake on at least two occasions without incident and I will definitely make it again.  It does keep beautifully and is usually lovely.  Serve with your choice:  whipped cream, ice cream, berries or, best, all of the above. 

Many thanks to our kind and lovely hosts for the wonderful company, amazing food and sweet Passover Seder.

Rain, Passover and a good day for a Chocolate Idiot Cake

I made this last year for friends and it was such a hit I am making it again (and for the same friends). It is called Idiot cake because ostensibly only an idiot could ruin it, sort of like Baking for Dummies. Not a dummy but always glad for a fool-proof recipe. I found it on smitten kitchen who linked to David Lebovitz. Wonderful recipe.

Chocolate Idiot Cake*
One 9-inch (23 cm) cake

 * from

Adapted from Ready for Dessert (Ten Speed Press)
This cake is extremely rich, and tastes like the most delicious, silkiest, most supremely-chocolate ganache you’ve ever had. As mentioned, it’s equally good a few days later, and only an idiot could possibly mess it up. You don’t need to use ScharffenBerger chocolate for this cake, but use a good one—you’ll appreciate it when you taste your first melt-in-your-mouth bite.

Preheat the oven to 350F (175C).

10 ounces (290 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
7 ounces (200 g) butter, salted or unsalted, cut into pieces
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (200 g) sugar

1. Butter a 9-inch (23 cm) springform pan* and dust it with cocoa powder, tapping out any excess. If you suspect your springform pan isn’t 100% water-tight, wrap the outside with aluminum foil, making sure it goes all the way up to the outer rim.2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler (or microwave), stirring occasionally, until smooth. Remove from heat. (I used the microwave)
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar, then whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until smooth.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared springform pan and cover the top of the pan snugly with a sheet of foil. Put the springform pan into a larger baking pan, such as a roasting pan, and add enough hot water to the baking pan to come about halfway up to the outside of the cake pan.
Bake for 1 hour and 15 minutes.  You’ll know the cake is done when it feels just set, like quivering chocolate pudding. If you gently touch the center, your finger should come away clean. It does feel like you made a pudding – a little shakier than you think it will be)
5. Lift the cake pan from the water bath and remove the foil. Let cake cool completely on a cooling rack.
Serve thin wedges of this very rich cake at room temperature, with creme anglaise, ice cream, or whipped cream.

* No wrestling the cake out – works well.
Storage: This Chocolate Idiot Cake can be wrapped and chilled in the refrigerator for 3-5 days.

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