Sometimes, I enjoy the challenge of making large, towering, gravity defying cakes. At other times, I enjoy using interesting ingredients to making sophisticated cakes with delicate flavors. Not to forget, there are other times where I’m looking for a simple yet satisfying cake. For me, that cake is none other than david lebovitz’s chocolate pavé.
I’ve baked this cake more than a baby could count and it serves as a great tea time cake. I love this cake because it is…multi-dimensional. When the cake is freshly baked and cooled slightly, it is incredibly soft, airy, the top crusty and decadent. You could take mouthfuls and mouthfuls of it and not even realize a thing. Yet, after it is cooled and left in the fridge to keep, it becomes a totally different cake altogether. It becomes dense but still incredibly decadent, a little bit like a brownie, which goes so well with coffee or tea. According to david, this cake is “traditionally baked in a square pan so it can be cut into rectangles” but since I don’t have a 9-inch square cake pan, I’ve always baked it in a 9-in round cake pan.
This cake is a breeze to bake, except that it helps if you have more than one whisk attachment. I currently use the kitchenaid classic 4.5 quart tilt head stand mixer. This kitchenaid mixer has great sentimental value to me as it was a surprise present from Jon. On that very day, he told me he had to go for a project meeting and would be back in an hour. Within half an hour, he came back holding a cardboard box and in it was the kitchenaid mixer which he got second hand from craigslist. I was soooo excited and I baked something (though I can’t remember what) that very day. This very kitchenaid mixer has followed me back to Singapore :)
Over the years, I’ve bought quite a few extra kitchenaid attachments which I find useful, especially since I often bake more than one recipe in a day. I have an extra whisk since whisks can be cumbersome to wash, an extra paddle with a flex edge which I much prefer to the original paddle attachment as well as an extra stainless steel bowl which I much prefer to the original bowl that doesn’t have the handle. I also have a pouring shield which I think is not worth it since there are so many openings – the back and the chute itself – that it renders the pouring shield useless.
There are so many kitchenaid attachments out there and I definitely have the urge to get all of them. I recently got the ice cream maker attachment and am love it already!! Whipped up a batch of chocolate peanut butter ice cream the other day, also from david lebovitz!
Adapted from David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert
Cocoa powder, for preparing the pan
1 cup (8oz/225g) salted/unsalted butter
4 oz (115g) bittersweet/semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 oz (115g) unsweetened chocolate, chopped
6 large eggs, separated, at room temperature
1/2 cup (500g) + 1/2 cup (500g) granulated sugar
Pinch of salt
Powdered sugar for dusting the cake
Melted bittersweet/semisweet chocolate for decorating the cake
- Preheat the oven to 350°F or 175°C. To prepare the pan, lay a parchment sheet at the bottom of the pan. Butter the bottom and sides of the pan, dust with cocoa powder and tap out any excess.
- In a heatproof bowl, combine butter and both chocolates. Melt using a microwave or over a pan of simmering water until the chocolate mixture is smooth. Remove from heat and leave to cool.
- In a stand mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg yolks and 1/2 cup (100g) of granulated sugar. Sugar will scald egg yolks and leave lumps if left too long untouched. Mix them immediately after combining. Mix on high speed until the mixture leaves a defined ribbon when you lift the beater, approx. 5 mins.
- Remove the bowl from the stand mixer and fold in the chocolate mixture using a large rubber spatula.
- In an impeccably clean, dry bowl and with a clean whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites and and salt on low speed until they form soft, wet peaks. Gradually beat in the remaining 1/2 cup (100g) granulated sugar and continue whisking at high speed until the whites hold stiff peaks.
- Fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture just until there are no visible streaks of egg whites. Do not overfold. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and put into the oven. In the meantime, melt a small bit of chocolate for decoration.
- Bake until just barely set in center, about 30-35 minutes. The cake will rise as it bakes but when taken out, it will sink in the middle, forming crackly sides – that’s part of the charm!
- When relatively cool (15-20 minutes), run a knife around the sides of the cake. If using a springform pan, release the rim. If not, invert the cake onto a plate, remove the parchment paper and re-invert onto a cutting surface.
- To decorate, dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar. Dip a fork using in the melted chocolate and flick the fork back and forth over the cake. It’ll create a little of a mess but trust me, its well worth it.