It is the end of January 2017. It’s my birthday week. It has been a rocky month politically. Today I had to turn inside myself and away from the never-ending news feeds that seem to break a little piece of my heart every time I listen. I took the afternoon off from being vigilant. I went for a walk in the wintry gloom listening to music to clear my head and heart. I baked an easy chocolate cake to sooth my soul. Baking helps.
This lovely cake is one dense, moist layer glazed with a really great chocolate bar melted on top and sprinkled with dried candied orange peels.
I broke this bar of chocolate into pieces and scattered over the top of the hot cake to melt. Any good bar of chocolate would do.
Ingredients for this cake are all mixed together in a blender. Easy and quick.
Easy Chocolate Espresso Cake with a Chocolate Glaze and Candied Orange Peels
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1/3 cup dark cocoa
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder
- 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4-6 ounce dark chocolate baking bar or flavored candy bar
- 1/2 cup candied orange peels
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees
- Melt butter in a glass deep dish pie or cake pan in the microwave and then pour melted butter into a blender.
- To blender add eggs, sugar, cocoa, espresso powder, flour and vanilla extract. Pulse to blend ingredients together well, scraping down blender as needed.
- Scrape cake batter into buttered glass dish and bake for 30-35 minutes or until cake is just done in the middle. Remove dish from oven to cool for a few minutes on a cooking rack. Turn hot cake out onto a plate.
- Break bar of chocolate into small pieces and scatter over top of hot cake. Let melt and then spread over top to glaze.
- Sprinkle candied orange peel over the top. Serve warm or room temperature.
“Candied Orange Peel” is so great to keep in the pantry to add to desserts, granolas and a cup of hot tea. Making candied citrus peel is easy and takes little active time to do. I cut the peel into strips about 2 inches long and soak in water for a few hours or overnight.
Then simmer in fresh water and sugar over low heat for about 45 minutes.
Drain on wire racks sitting on parchment paper until air dry. I store in my pantry in airtight containers for a few months.
“Citrus Salts” (lemon and orange)
Zest of an orange and two lemons both mixed with Maldon Sea Salt Flakes.
I use a mortar and pestle to make sure the oils are released.
Then I air dry overnight and store in air-tight jars. Great to use on roasted vegetables, grilled fish or chicken or to top simple sugar cookies.
Some things that make me smile on this Leap Year Day….
Ella, our 10-year-old Lab-Beagle mix…..
….Wouter, my beloved Dutch partner…..
…vases of beautiful tulips..
May you all have a Happy Leap Year.
Candied Orange Peel and Citrus Salts
Ingredients for Candied Orange Peel:
- the peel from 4 oranges, cut into 1 1/2 to 2 inch thin strips
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- Soak orange peel strips in water for a few hours or over night to soften. Drain peel in a colander.
- Mix 1 1/2 cups sugar with 1 1/2 cups water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and stir until sugar is dissolved.
- Turn heat to simmer and add orange peel strips. Simmer, stirring every now and then for about 45 minutes. Remove orange peel from sugar syrup with a slotted spoon and spread out on wire racks sitting on parchment paper until air-dried completely. This can take up to one day depending on how humid the weather is.
- Store dried candied orange peel in airtight containers for up to 3 months.
Ingredients for Citrus Salts:
- zest from one orange
- zest from 2 lemons
- 2 cups Maldon sea salt flakes divided
- Mix the orange zest with 1 cup of the sea salt flakes. Use a mortar and pestle to mix the zest and salt together to release the oils from the zest.
- Spread out to dry on a sheet pan covered with parchment paper overnight.
- Store in airtight container.
- Repeat with lemon zest.
Teresa Blackburn www.teresablackburnfoodstyling.com www.foodonfifth.com