With friends coming over, and the prospect of an early birthday celebration, I got busy making the most scrumptious cake. The only problem is I'm not certain I'll be able to recreate it. As the French say, I often cook and bake in the haphazard fashion known as 'pif.' I've simply been baking since I could read and I've internalized basic proportions for nearly everything I make regularly from cookies, to muffins, to bread, to cakes, to soda bread, to biscuits, to cereal bars... You get the picture. However, this is a rather dangerous thing to do if and when you make a particularly scrumptious dish. How to recreate it faithfully?
To up my chances, I'll write down here what I can remember of it... There are no photos (it went too quickly) but I remember the moistness, the flavor...
I began with 2 cups flour and 1 cup hazelnut meal (I love nut meals, and my friend was someone who limits the gluten in her diet)
1 teaspoon baking soda
a pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups whey (I made fresh ricotta last week from turned milk and kept the liquid for just this kind of thing -- may be replaced with yogurt or turned milk). -- the lactic acid base with baking soda is something I've been doing ever since reading Nourishing Traditions (see my book list on the side). The idea that the wheat flour be somewhat broken down by the lactic acid, and the more nourishing aspect of baking soda to baking powder...
Mix together till a paste, then add:
In the mixer I put 2/3 a stick of sweet butter and 1 1/2 cups of unbleached sugar. I blended till fully mixed, then added perhaps 1/4 cup cold pressed sunflower oil and 1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla bean. This whipped up nicely, and I added an egg, and perhaps a second egg (making a total of 4 for the recipe)
I then poured the flour/egg/whey mixture into the mixmaster with the butter/eggs/sugar. I mixed till blended, and then poured it all into a non-stick cake pan and into my pre-heated oven (170C/350F) and let it cook till set (perhaps 40-50 minutes? it was a convection, so it goes faster than other ovens).
Remove from the oven and let sit till cooled, transfer to a cake plate.
In a small sauce pan melt 150 grams of chocolate, (5oz) with 1/4 cup water and 1/4 cup sweet butter. Blend till smooth, add a touch of cream (or in my case soy cream, I had none of the real stuff on hand) and whisk. Let cool a bit and then pour over the cake, smoothing it up the sides. Let it all cool and set a couple of hours and then serve as a lovely snack for tea time, or as dessert. As you would expect, the left-overs disappear at breakfast.