I’m of the opinion that batter and dough are often better than the baked goods they produce – maybe it’s because eating them is a bit illicit (breaking the ruuuuuules!), or because the little nibble you can sneak is the perfect amount, or maybe it’s because they represent potential, the buttery sugary possibilities of a recipe before you add too much of one thing or another, or one side collapses, or it comes out of the oven a bit dry. But guess what, kids – that won’t happen with Food52’s Ooey and Gooey Double-Baked chocolate cake.
Let me tell you why this sucker is almost fullproof: you’re intentionally baking some of it twice, while underbaking the rest, and even in the best of circumstances it’s a bit humble looking. So it’s not surprising I’ve fallen in love with this here piece of warm chocolatey goodness, which I’ve made lately made on three occasions:
- For a dinner party, as mentioned previously, in which it was served hot from the oven and caused indecorous moans around the table. One woman told me she loved me and that I was her new best friend – I know it was the cake talking, but it made me happy anyway.
- Late on a Saturday night, while slightly (ok very) tipsy at a friends’ apartment, I dug through their cabinets and found they had all the right ingredients, so it was meant to be. But then I had to run to make the last Bart train while it was still in the oven, so left it to them to consume in the wee hours. I don’t know if that makes me a very good or a very bad friend.
- For a chocolate-loving friend’s going-away party in Golden Gate Park, when I finally photographed the process, the results of which you are seeing RIGHT NOW.
This cake harnesses the oozy deliciousness of a chocolate lava cake with none of the attendant stress – rather than needing to worry about keeping a molten center on individual cakes, you just wind up with, essentially, a layer cake with a solid base and a magma-like topping. The secret is in baking most of the batter, while reserving some on the side, then spreading that reserve on top of the baked first layer, popping into the oven for a bit longer, and serving warm. It conveniently used up the last of my baking chocolate and sugar, so I gave myself extra pantry points. There’s no flour in the recipe, so it’s gluten free, but it does require two sticks of butter. Trust me, it’s worth it.
First you melt chocolate and butter, then add cocoa powder and some salt. This mixture alone is enough to make you deeply happy, even if, like me, you’re not a chocoholic.
Then you beat egg yolks with sugar, and fold in the chocolate.
Finally you beat egg whites and more sugar, and fold that into the chocolate-yolk mixture. Set aside a few cups of the batter, and pour the rest into a buttered pan.
Bake the first layer for 25 minutes, and let it cool. It’s not going to look too great, but that’s ok!
Spread the reserve batter onto the first layer. Bake the whole shebang again for just 15 minutes, so that you get a crust on top with creamy batter below.
Then, if your friends are lucky, bring the cake to a picnic and watch it get devoured. For the photos below, the cake had firmed up a bit on the walk to the park, though it was still creamily mousse-like. This party was a bon voyage for my friend Adele, who just chucked caution to the wind and left for an extended jaunt to South America. She is posting about her trip on Medium here, and I recommend giving it a read – she’s a delightful and inspiring lady, and I can’t wait to follow along with her adventures.