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Friday, February 18, 2011

Two Birthday Recipes: The greatest chocolate cake ever, and finding balance in all things

Since I spent most of my actual birthday doing homework and getting my car fixed, I was glad I decided to wait until the weekend to celebrate - I'm having some friends over tonight for food, drinks and general good times. Although, not too crazy because this is the second immersion weekend and tomorrow I have to be up bright and early and ready to yoga.

At the last immersion we talked a lot about Spanda, or the vibration of the universe. According to Anusara's Universal Principles of Alignment, all life pulsated=s between two grand extremes of contrary compliments. This is illustrated in light/dark, innhale/exhale etc. In terms of the physical yoga practice we talk about mucle energy and organic energy, both of which are needed to achieve balanced action.

In this spirit, I'm blogging two recipes to day - one that's quite healthy (for your body and your pocketbook), and one that is totally indulgent in every possible way. Either would be a huge hit at a party and both are personal favorites.

First - the healthy: I actually don't know where this recipe originated but I got it from Lynn at One Yoga during a session on Ayurveda. All I know is it's totally delicious, full of asian flavors and just has that different special something that makes it stand out from other hummus-type dips. Personally I think it's the almond butter that really puts it over the top.

I really am a firm believer that the ingredients make the recipe. You could be the greatest cook on earth but without good ingredients, you won't get good results. The nice thing about this recipe is that you don't need to spend a lot, even on excellent ingredients - even organic chickpeas don't cost that much more than regular, and if you buy dried and cook them yourself it's even cheaper. This whole recipe cost me less than $4, not counting the staples like oils and almond butter that I already had on hand.

Then put it in a pretty bowl and chill until you're ready to serve.

- 1 c. cooked chickpeas
- 1.5 T rice vinegar
- .5 T sesame oil
- 2 T tamari or soy sauce
- 1/3 c almond butter
- 1/2t garlic powder or 1 clove fresh garlic minced
- 1 t. minced ginger root
- 1.5 T minced cilantro
- 1 T walnut, sesame or canola oil
(add a little water to thin as necessary)

First grind the chickpeas in a food processor, then add the oils, vinegar, tamari and almond butter and process until very smooth. Add the garlic, ginger and cilantro and blend again. Boom. Done.

OK now time for the fun. I apologize in advance for the utter insanity that is to follow. This cake is unapologetically indulgent... I actually hesitate to even call it a cake because in principle I feel like the flour content for a cake should be more than one tablespoon. Yes, you read that correctly. One tablespoon. And five eggs. And 200g each of butter and chocolate. Sometimes, blind trust is necessary in baking - this would be one of those times.

Earlier I mentioned the importance of key ingredients - with this recipe it's ALL about the butter and chocolate. In every recipe, there are a couple/few ingredients that really make or break the end result. Figure out what these are, and make them your "splurges". High-quality butter and chocolate are not cheap, but trust me, in this case it's worth it, especially for the chocolate - the cheap stuff will not get you the same result. This is how I think of it: splurge on the stuff that's important, save on the stuff that isn't.

Hello gorgeous. I can't wait to chop you up in to little bits and melt you in the microwave.

As long as we're just being ridiculous, you might want to pour yourself a glass of wine while the chocolate and butter are getting to know each other in the microwave. And light some candles. And watch Gossip Girl. And try not to eat all of the batter directly from the bowl.

From Orangette via The Corner Kitchen
7 oz (200g) high-quality dark chocolate
7 oz (200g) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
1-1/3 c granulated sugar
5 large eggs
1 T unbleached all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 375 and butter an 8 inch round cake pan. I highly recommend using a springform pan as the cake will be MUCH easier to transfer even if it sticks a little... if you're using a regular pan you might want to line the bottom with parchment.

Chop the chocolate into chunks and combine with the butter in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat the butter and chocolate and stir together as they melt (or if you're feeling fancy you can use a double-boiler, but I liked the idea of only using one cooking vessel for the entire recipe). Add the sugar and stir to combine, then add the eggs one at a time, using a whisk to incorporate completely before adding the next egg.

Stir in the flour using a wooden spoon or spatula. Contemplate the ridiculousness of a cake with five eggs and only one tablespoon of flour. Then go about your life as if everything were perfectly normal.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 23-25 minutes - while this is baking, finish your wine and snack on some of the leftover chocolate.

When it's finished, the cake should still be a little jiggly (but not TOO jiggly). Keep an eye on it because a lot of this depends on your oven - mine actually took more like 27 minutes. The cake will deflate slightly as it cools - when it is completely cool, transfer it onto a plate, keeping the crackly-side up. I slid one of those very thin plasting cutting boards under the whole cake, picked it up and slid it onto the plate...but if you're using a non-springform pan you can't really do this, so then I would suggest...just flipping it and re-flipping it very, very carefully.

I will post a pic of the finished cake once I have it nicely plated on cute dishes :)

Now that you're finished, I guess you could do some dishes. Or you could watch another episode of Gossip Girl, pour another glass of wine and curl up on your couch with a blanket. And then maybe eat some of that hummus dip for balance :)


  1. Glad to see our food processor mid hummus mixing! YAY food processor!! Welcome to the family!! We shall take good care of you!

  2. I wanna see pictures of the amazing cake!! :)


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