Deep Dark Chocolate Cake from The Room of Earthly Delights

I often escape from my “outside life” into my “inside life” both methaphorically and physically. These days more so than ever. My outside life is partially on hold as I am sure yours is. My inside life is rich and full and can really be whatever I make it to be.There are various “inside rooms” that I go to.  There is the “reading room” which is often my bed or sofa. I have my “South office room” that is not actually in my real office, which is upstairs or North, but is wherever I land downstairs with my laptop. There is “la petite cafe” which is our deck for enjoying drinks and meals al fresco, rather than sitting at our kitchen counter.

Some days the room previously known as the kitchen might be the “the room of earthly delights”. Those are the days when I make craveable delicious desserts such as this cake.

Densely chocolate and easy to make this is a cake to soothe both your “outside and inside life”.  It is a cake that will make staying inside more tolerable and nice. Has the way you use the rooms in your home changed recently? Do you think of your home differently and see new uses for old spaces? Do you, like I do, give them names to specify their use? What are you baking in your “room of earthly delights”?

Do something sweet for yourself….then share it.

This recipe is from one of my favorite cooking books “Modern Baking – cakes, cookies and everything in between” by Donna Hay, published by Fourth Estate and can be purchased online or at many bookstores. My written recipe is directly from the book with a few minor changes.

Glazed Dark Chocolate Cake

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Ingredients for cake:

  • 250 grams unsalted butter, chopped
  • 200 grams 70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/3 cups milk (330g)
  • 1 cup caster/superfine sugar (220g)
  • 1 cup light brown sugar (175g)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs, room temp
  • 1 3/4 cups self-rising flour, sifted (260g)
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder, sifted (35g)

for glaze:

  • 200 grams 70% dark chocolate, chopped
  • 100 grams unsalted butter, chopped
  • 1/4 cup corn syrup (90g)
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a tube pan or Bundt pan well.
  2. Place the butter and chopped chocolate in a medium saucepan over low heat and stir until melted and smooth.
  3. Whisk together in a large bowl the milk, both sugars and the vanilla. Add the melted chocolate-butter mixture and whisk to combine. Add the eggs and whisk until well blended.
  4. Add the flour and cocoa and whisk until combined. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour or until the caked is baked inside when tested with a skewer. Invert the pan onto a wire rack and let stand for 15 minutes before removing the pan. Let cake cool completely.
  5. For the glaze place the chocolate, butter and corn syrup in a medium saucepan over low heat and stir until melted and smooth. Add the oil and stir to mix.
  6. Place the cooled cake on a wire rack over a tray and spoon on the glaze. Allow glaze to set before moving the cake to a serving plate. (I had glaze left over which I stored in the refrigerator in a glass jar and used a a topping for scoops of ice cream. Delicious.)

Recipe from: “Modern Baking – cakes, cookies and everything in between” by Donna Hay published in 2018 by Fourth Estate

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A Shero Inspired Summer Peach Tart with an Almond Shortcrust Pastry

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These are the last of the local summer peaches for this year. Aren’t they just beautiful? Recently while out walking I spotted a peach tree in my neighborhood with limbs heavy with ripe peaches. The tree belongs to my neighbor, Nancy Hardaway, who has moved away and has her house for sale. I did not think she would mind if I helped myself to a few which you see here that were perfectly ripe and luscious with lots of juice. Thanks Nancy!

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This peach tart recipe with a shortcrust pastry is based on one I ran across while looking through some older cookbooks in my collection, Donna Hay’s “Modern Classics” Book 2 from 2003. She has for a long time been one of my culinary “Sheroes” & has always been way ahead of her time in her approach to modern cooking. She was doing things in 2003 in Australia that we had only begun to think about when it comes to cooking & food style. I made a few small tweaks but as with most of her recipes it was already close to perfect.

Do you have a favorite culinary Shero?

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Good quality butter cut into small pieces and frozen…plain & almond flour…pastry quickly made in a food processor….kneaded a bit before rolling…..

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…rolled out and fitted into a tart pan with a removable bottom….blind-baked (see this article for more explanation on this) using parchment & dried beans (or pie weights)…

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…a simple Greek yogurt-sugar-egg filling….topped with peach slices tossed in slightly sweetened beaten egg whites….

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…and baked until peaches & crust are golden brown. Missed peach season? Plums would be yummy as well.

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Summer Peach Tart with an Almond Shortcrust Pastry

  • Servings: 6-8
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Ingredients for Pastry:

  • 1 cup almond flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 6 tablespoons butter, cut into small pieces & frozen
  • ice water to bring the pastry together

Ingredients for Tart:

  • 3/4 cup plain or vanilla Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar for egg white
  • 6 peaches, stones removed and sliced, drained & patted dry
  • 3 tablespoons raw sugar

Directions:

  1. In a food processor blend the almond flour, all-purpose flour, sugar & butter until it looks grainy.
  2. With motor running drizzle in ice water by tablespoons just until a smooth dough forms. Remove dough from processor and knead gently a few times, form into a flatten ball, wrap with plastic wrap and chill for a half hour.
  3. Roll chilled dough out on a floured surface, lay over the top of a tart pan with a removable bottom (9 or 10 inch), fit down into the pan using your fingers and cut off excess around the top edge.
  4. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a sheet of parchment paper over the pastry and fill with dried beans or pie weights. Bake pastry shell for 10 minutes with weights, remove and bake another 10 minutes or until crust is a light golden brown.
  5. Whisk together the yogurt, brown sugar & egg. Pour into warm baked pastry shell & bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. Turn oven up to 400 degrees.
  6. While filling is cooking whip egg white with 1 tablespoon sugar until soft peaks form. Add peach slices to the whites & toss gently until coated. Pile peach slices on top of the filling, sprinkle with raw sugar and bake for about 20 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven to a rack to cool and sprinkle with additional crunchy raw sugar or powdered sugar if desired. You can double this recipe easily and make two tarts like I did!

Note: Recipe based on a Donna Hay recipe from her book “Modern Classics” Book 2, 2003 Harper Collins Publisher.

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