While I first baked this cake for ease (it's essentially four steps), I return to it for its character (and, also, its ease!). Simple steps (and pantry ingredients) produce a cake that's chocolatey but not bitter, moist but with a sandy quality, and with a textural divide that makes it like the pillow-top mattress of desserts, its lighter, impressionable top supported by a firmer, fudgier undergirding.
It might be, oh, 800 years old in internet time (posted on Tara's blog, Seven Spoons, in 2009), requiring no skill greater than cracking an egg, no special equipment, and certainly no butter babysitting, but in my world, it's timeless. —Sarah Jampel
- Makes one 10-inch cake
sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
semisweet chocolate, chopped (or 8 ounces semisweet plus 4 ounces dark)
dark brown sugar (packed)
chopped walnuts, toasted and lightly salted while still warm
Cocoa powder and whipped cream, to serve
- Lightly butter a 10-inch springform pan, then line the bottom with a circle of parchment paper and the sides with parchment strips.
- Heat the oven to 350° F.
- In a saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter with the chocolate, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat to cool slightly.
- In a small bowl, sift or whisk together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, and vanilla just until the sugar is dissolved. The mixture should barely lighten in color and there should be a layer of bubbles on the surface but not throughout.
- Pour the egg mixture into the chocolate and stir to combine. Fold in the flour mixture, being careful not to over-mix. Stir in the walnuts.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until the center is puffed and cracked. A cake tester should come out with moist crumbs that are gooey but not liquidy. The cake will continue to cook as it cools and falls.
- Remove the cake to a wire rack to come to room temperature. To serve, release the sides of the springform carefully and remove the parchment paper. Top with whipped cream and dust with cocoa powder.