Chocolate Cake Recipe
The word ‘consulting’ always sounds like a dream job when you’re working in a restaurant kitchen, slaving over a hot stove as a line or prep cook. As a consultant, it sounds like you sweep into a kitchen whenever you feel like it, and bake something up with the staff. But it’s rather challenging work.
Restaurants call in consultants when the kitchen is in dire trouble. You walk into the kitchen and no one wants to talk to you or change anything. (Which is why they needed to call someone for help in the first place!) I took a job like that once, when I was between jobs as a pastry chef, and although the kitchen staff was friendly and fairly helpful, desserts were not a high priority to them. In fact, they were storing the dessert sauces in the same cabinet as the chopped garlic. Yikes.
I decided that I needed to create a cake for them that was fool-proof. It needed to be made without any fancy techniques or ingredients, and the cooking didn’t have to depend on the whims on whatever cook was called upon to make the cakes that day. And it also had to keep well.
But most important, it had to taste great. I like chocolate cakes that are straight-on chocolate. While I don’t mind frosted, multi-layered wedges of cake, this one is pure, uninhibited chocolate indulgence. There’s not much to get between you and the deep, bittersweet flavor of dark chocolate.
I jokingly called this Chocolate Idiot Cake, since anyone can make it, and it’s hard to screw up. (Although I didn’t say that to anyone’s face, of course.) Later I made it when I was in the pastry department at Chez Panisse, where a co-worked looked at them as they were coming out of the oven and dubbed them, “Chocolate Orbit Cake,” due to the little craters on top.
Whatever you call it, it’s a pretty great chocolate cake that just requires four ingredients, no special techniques, except for a few moments of whisking, and can be refrigerated (once cool), for a couple of days, until ready to serve.
Note: I often get asked about how to remove a cake like this from a springform pan. You can dip a chef’s knife in very hot water and slide it under the cooled cake to remove it from the bottom of the pan. But I generally use my glass-bottomed springform pan, since I don’t need to wrestle the cake from the bottom of the pan for serving.