Monday, May 19, 2014

Sour Cream Truffle Cake

It's rather humbling how necessity can drive invention.

A great idea comes from not knowing all the facts.

Necessity can also force new learnings. That's how I invent most of my meals. 

My avocados are nearly black and there's cilantro in my crisper whose stems no longer stand up straight. I need to use avocado and cilantro. This screams Mexican. But, I don't have tortillas. Tortillas aren't that hard to make, are they? I attempted to make tortillas. Hey, it's easy! Who knew. I learned tortillas, because I had to. Taco night every Saturday at my place. Serious and delicious.

I've consumed all of 126 ml of my 2 L of milk and it expires tomorrow. Homemade ricotta cheese it is! This takes me 10 minutes and 2 ingredients. I'll teach you one day.

Sour cream is always in my ice box, but I can never seam to use it all up. Maybe I need to eat more nachos? Luckily, baking with sour cream is as easy as ice cream on a summer day. It lends well to cakes, brownies, muffins and scones.

I've always been a sucker for sour cream in chocolate desserts. I use sour cream in almost all of my chocolate cake recipes. It's that tang that balances out the bitterness of cocoa. I love it.

This recipe is very much a brother of brownie and a cousin of cake. The sour cream does many things. One - it makes it very moist. Two - it creates a silky, light texture - not dense and chewy like your typical brownie. Three - it mellows out the flavour and offsets the bitterness for an all-around classic chocolate flavour. Make sure you use the best dark chocolate you can get your hands on, at least 64% cocoa solids.

It would be a downright sin to over-bake this chocolate truffle cake, as much as it would be a shame to under-bake. Raw gooey insides is not acceptable because we're not quite in Brownieville. Puffed and crumbly would drive us to Caketown. Remember, we're somewhere in between these destinations. The cake is finished when it is slightly puffed at the edges but still a bit soft in the middle. A skewer inserted into the center should come out mostly clean with some sticky crumbs attached.

This, with raspberry coulis, fresh berries, and maybe a bit of custard would sum up dessert perfection.

Letting it sit in the fridge overnight will do no harm. Feel free to make ahead.

Sour Cream Truffle Cake
Makes one 8x8-inch cake 

150 g/5 ¼ oz dark chocolate (64% cocoa) 
¼ cup (56 g) unsalted butter 
1 cup (200 g) sugar 
2 large eggs, at room temperature 
heaped ¼ tsp salt 
½ cup (118 ml) full fat sour cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2/3 cup (95 g) all-purpose flour 
cocoa powder for dusting

Preheat your oven to 350°F and line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper.

Melt chocolate and butter in the microwave or in a heatproof bowl over simmering water until melted and smooth; set aside to cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, vigorously whisk together eggs, sugar and salt until pale and thick, about 1 minute. Stir in sour cream, vanilla and chocolate mixture until combined. Sprinkle flour over mixture and whisk it in until just blended. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake no longer than 25 minutes. The sides should puff up, but the center should still be slightly soft and a skewer inserted should come out with a few crumbs attached.

Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Refrigerate for 2 hours for an extra silky smooth texture. Sift cocoa powder over top and serve. 

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