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by meg

For a little bit, I toyed with the idea of doing a non-chocolate dessert for Valentine’s Day, and then John basically said, “What are you thinking?!” And that, friends, is what your better half is for--to let you know when you’re completely off base.

Of course, there’s nothing even remotely inferior about a great chocolate cake. It’s a timeless expression of love, a beacon of deliciousness. It’s indulgent, but not in the slightly “too much of a good thing” way that crème brûlee can be (no disrespect to crème brûlee--it’s probably one of the most delicious things ever created, but by the time I take the last bite I’m wavering on the thin line between “so good” and “I feel sick”).

Chocolate cake is downright fortifying. It’s decadent, yes, but the dense crumb and accompanying slick of icing make it almost wholesome. At least, that’s how I’m going to think of it

Other chocolate recipes you might enjoy: Dark Chocolate Truffles, Flourless Chocolate Decadence, Chocolate Blood Orange Tart

Devil's Food Cake Cockaigne*
Makes one 10-inch cake (about 8 to 10 servings)

Have all ingredients at room temperature, about 70℉. Preheat the oven to 350℉. Grease a springform pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.
Melt in a double boiler or heatproof bowl set in a pan of simmering water:
    4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
Set aside. Whisk together in a medium bowl:
    1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt

Set aside. In a separate bowl, combine:
    1 cup whole milk
    1/4 cup coffee

Set aside. Beat in a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer until creamy:
    1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
Add and beat until very fluffy, about 5 minutes:
    1 cup sugar
    1/2 cup packed brown sugar

Scrape down the bowl and add:
    1 teaspoon vanilla
Add one at a time until fully combined:
    3 large eggs
On low speed, add the flour to the butter mixture in 3 parts, alternating with the milk mixture in 2 parts, beating until smooth. Fold in the melted chocolate. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes, then run a thin knife around the sides of the pan and remove the ring. Allow to cool completely.
Place the cake on a serving plate and frost with:
    Chocolate Ganache, below
Garnish with rose petals from an organic, unsprayed rose.

Chocolate Ganache

Have ready in a heatproof bowl:
    12 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips**
Bring just to a boil:
    1 cup heavy cream
Remove from the heat immediately and pour over the chocolate. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, then stir with a spatula until smooth and glossy. Allow to cool, stirring every so often, until cooled to a spreading consistency.
 

*”Cockaigne” is the term used in the Joy of Cooking to denote a recipe that Marion Becker loved. Cockaigne is a mythical land of plenty, which seems somehow fitting for a chocolate cake recipe.

 

**I used Guittard 63% extra dark chocolate chips.

 

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