Monday, February 1, 2010

Comforty Chocolate Cake

January has been hard.  A dear friend lost her mother-in-law.  Another lost his brother-in-law.  Another lost an 'aunt/mother/sister/friend.'

Why is it that so often when life gets messy, friends and good food are the things we turn to?  This Christmas, I was given a lovely book called The Physiology of Taste.  A delightfully philosophical Frenchman belabored over the development of taste, digestion, restaurants and all the social interactions which surround food.  Imagine if you will, my delight on Christmas: food?!  french?! and philsophy?!  This is going to be my main book of choice on my next jaunt cross-country, I wanted to share with you a bit what he says about chocolate:
It has been shown as proof positive that carefully prepared chocolate is as healthful a food as it is pleasant; that it is nourishing and easily digested; that it does not cause the same harmful effects to the feminine beauty which are blamed on coffee, but is on the contrary a remedy for them; that it is above all helpful to people who must do a great deal of mental work, to those who labor in the pulpit or the courtroom and especially to travelers, that it has produced good results in cases of chronic illness and that it has even been used as the last resource in diseases of pylorus. 

And I think he could have gone further. I think chocolate does mighty good for those in grief.  Please, make this for those you love.  It's comforting and thick and good and can be a rest and remedy for those who are belabored and need it.

Comforty Chocolate cake with coffee ganache 
adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites
1/2 circle of Abuelita Mexican Chocolate disc
1/4 c canola oil
1 1/2 c flour
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 t salt
1/2 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 c packed brown sugar
1 large egg
2 large egg whites
1 t Mexican vanilla extract
3/4 c buttermilk 

Preheat oven 350.  Grease a 10 inch pie pan.
In a small saucepan, heat oil and melt chocolate-- watch carefully!! (I burned my first batch)  Pour into a medium sized bowl and set aside to cool.
In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, salt, soda and powder. Set aside.
Add sugar to melted chocolate and beat until well blended.  Add egg and whites, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Stir in the vanilla.  Add 1/4 c of buttermilk alternating with adding 1/3 c of flour mixture, beating well after each addition.  
Pour batter into pie pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until your toothpicked center comes out clean.  

Coffee Ganache
6 t of this morning's coffee
1/4c powdered sugar

Beat well to combine.  Add more coffee if too thick, conversely more sugar if too thin.
Drizzle atop each piece of Comforty Chocolate cake.